Sunday, November 26, 2006
Thanksgiving in Prague
If you had told us a year ago that for this year’s Thanksgiving holiday I would be leaving my current residence in Sweden to visit my Dad at his current residence in Prague, he would have said, “Prague? Is that a city or a country?” and I would have said, “Sweden? Which one of the Scandinavian countries is that again?” Aside from our former geographical ignorance, what a difference a year makes.
Unexpectedly but enthusiastically, I write this blog entry from the ever-growing and ever-stunning city of Prague in the Czech Republic where I have spent the weekend of the American holiday of Thanksgiving with my Dad, John, who moved here in July to teach English after “retiring,” which we all knew my Dad could never really do.
Prague’s allure is found in it’s history, most evident through the architecture in the areas of Mala Strana and Stare Mesto (Old Town) where lies Prague Castle, Charles Bridge above the Vltava River, Old Town Hall, Tyn Church and Old Town Square with a memorial to one of Prague’s favorite sons, Jan Hus, a Protestant reformer 100 years before it was trendy. Most of my time was spent in these areas with occasional wanderings through Nove Mesto (New Town) and a day-excursion down to the medieval town of Cesky Krumlov. Experiencing this gem of Eastern Europe, it’s food, it’s beer and it’s people has been the best Thanksgiving I could have had (aside from surrounded by family).
Dad, I admire your sense of adventure and curiosity during your “retirement.” May we all have your energy and excitement when our working years conclude. Thanks for a spectacular weekend in your brand new city. See you in a month!
A word about tourists:
There’s a bunch of them in Prague, and admittedly I was usually no exception. However, sitting in Old Town Square watching the hoards, I was struck by some of the positive qualities of tourists. The wide-eyed awe, the openness to new things, the childlike enthusiasm for the next picture, street exploration or unique possibility (and this is found in all tourists, not just expressive Americans who, I acknowledge, are very entertaining to watch), these are all things that we tend to forget in our “normal” lives. The tourists today reminded me of why I love my work with students, who also share these life-giving characteristics. Perhaps my purpose in writing this commentary on tourists is not necessarily to encourage travel (most people reading this either already do or would travel if circumstances were different), but to shed light on some forgotten qualities of tourists, who as a whole usually carry a negative connotation. So, the next chance you get, sit back and people watch, especially the tourists.
If you’re still reading, I thank you. The pictures included are:
1. Old Town Square-Our Lady of Tyn Church with the Jan Hus Memorial.
2. “Thanksgiving Dinner” with Dad and our friend, Sam from Wales.
3. Prague Castle with Charles Bridge and Vltava River.
4. Dad and I sharing in an old Czech tradition together.
5. Cesky Krumlov from above the castle.
And finally, next week I return to Linköping, where I have tickets to see LHC take on Malmö at the Cloetta Center. Watch for my first Sweden sports-related blog entry next week.
“Nascledanou” from Praha.