Visiting the Land of my Ancestors – Part 2 (Prague)

genealogy hire a military researcher travel wwii travel Nov 03, 2017

This is day 2 of Visiting the Land of my Ancestors. Part 1 can be read here.

Our first full day on honeymoon in Prague. Yesterday we traveled and had an amazing time walking through part of the city. Today we were tired so chose to sleep as late as possible, without missing breakfast at the hotel, and do as little as possible and more thoroughly enjoy what we chose to see and do.

After breakfast the first target of the day was to find me some kolacky. My grandma used to bake them. While I could drive 30 minutes to a Czech bakery in Chicago to get some, I never do. They take a while to make so I don’t bake them either. Kolacky isn’t something you find in most restaurants in Prague. We asked at the hotel front desk where I could get some and the market down the street was suggested. Kolacky, we were told, was more of a rural tradition on special days. Not something you find on most menus. Apple Streudel – not that is on practically every menu. Sadly on Saturday there was no market. We did however go into a large shopping mall in search of something for Johan and in the lowest level, found a cart selling traditional Czech pastries!! Yes!!!

After purchasing my Czech sweets we headed out to wander the Old Town Square in full daylight. We took more photos of the astrological clock – one of my favorite things in Prague. We went into the Old Town Hall to look at their information brochures and found a WWII in Prague tour. I contemplated touring the Old Town Hall but the wait was 45 minutes until the next tour which would go into the Gothic and Roman Cellars. We were tired so I opted to wait until Sunday to see if I still wanted to do it. It was a good thing I waited. While we were there, the Old Town Hall was having some outside restoration done so most of the building was covered. I guess next time we’ll see it in all it’s glory.

After a coffee, we explored some more and found some gorgeous doors and art in the city. When I stroll around Chicago, I always look up to see what is on the buildings. In Prague my head almost got stuck in the “looking up” position. There was so much to see from art above doorways, Mother Mary watching over us in many locations, hanging door signs, statues, paintings, mosaics, and so much more. There were also so many old doors to look at. I have a thing for doors. I do. I LOVE old doors. I always wonder what their story is. Who used to go through them. Into what new world did the enter? How did that change their life? If I went through one, what would happen? Could I time travel? What adventures could I have? So many doors.

We took a walk and ended up at one bridge at the river. Not the Charles Bridge. That was yet to be crossed. After taking some photos of Prague Castle and looking down the river toward the Charles Bridge, and thenadmiring more art on buildings, we wandered near Wenceslas Square and found some lunch in an outdoor cafe. The cafe was called Švejk after the book The Good Soldier Svejk. I had heard of this book, but have not read it. Johan was much more well educated on Švejk though.

When we finished eating I wanted to powder my nose so headed inside the restaurant. The walls were lined with Švejk Stained Glass or paintings. Merchandise lined some shelves. As I proceeded down three levels to the Roman Cellars, I finally found the powder room and several other rooms with more stained glass on the walls and also over the bridge that was on the level above me connecting rooms. It was incredible. I took a few photos before I left. I wonder how many people go down there to just stand in awe of the beautiful art…. The last photo is the bridge. Beneath this row of photos is one stained glass which is a bridge panel.

I do admit I had to see the stained glass more than once so ventured down to the cellars again. The cellars themselves are amazing and gorgeous. Most of the restaurants have small rooms off the main cellar – as you can almost imagine from the bridge photo above – rooms off to each side of the tunnel. The spaces are magical and inspiring. You do, in a way, time travel to the Gothic and Roman times when you go into the depths of these buildings. I wonder how many of my ancestors would have done that in these buildings – of course in a time they were more street level.

From there we wandered up and down Wenceslas Square, which contained more art on the buildings. This is another area of Prague you could explore for hours – just looking up at the buildings. Art, statues, architecture. Just gorgeous.

Without intent to take it easy today, we ended up back at the hotel for a coffee, snack and rest before venturing out for  the concert in Our Lady of Tyn Church. Dinner we decided, would have to come after the concert.

The concert was incredible and featured some of the same members as the group the night before. On Saturday night they added the organ, an opera singer who sang Ave Maria, and a trumpet player who played a few songs. I enjoyed most of the concert, but not so much the organ. One organ song is ok. After that……. The soloist who sang Ave Maria was wonderful. I was grateful we took advantage of this experience. It was a great end to another magical day.

Of course, after the concert we were starving. Not quite finding something that we wanted in the Square, we ended up back at the hotel and had a lovely dinner, with of course, a Pilsner!

My second day in the land of my ancestors brought more magic and possibility to my life. And more awareness that yes, Jennifer can relax on a trip and just enjoy slowing down. Thank you husband for helping me do that.

© 2017 World War II Research and Writing Center

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