Tuesday, May 25, 2010
First day of class
Today was my first real day in Prague. As you all know I am not a morning person. So to be ready at 8:45 was a bit tough, especially after so little sleep the past few nights.
But after tea and breakfast the switch was thrown. Although I would have killed for some Greek yogurt and fresh fruit. Lots of meats and cheese on the breakfast buffet here.
We got a tour of Charles University and a history lesson. As Charles University went so did Prague. They are intrinsically linked. The ideas at the university flowed to the city eventually. Karlos IV founded the University with the idea in mind that Prague would be a cultured educated capital of Europe. Very far thinking and generous was Charles IV.
The university area is amazing. Very historical and artistic. One thing we learned was that during the Communisit times here the socialist were anxious to promote the Czech ties to the West rather than the East. Being Catholic rather than Orthodox. Having ties to old Germany going back to the founding of the university and the idea of a democracy. Our lecturer told us that to the socialist image was everything and that's why they kept the old buildngs up and functioning in the same conditions rather than making them over or tearing them down. (Money was a factor too)
We got our photo taken outside(no Larry wasn't in it) then split up to wander. Some of us were still a bit jet lagged. I went to lunch and touring with a few other people from the class. It rained a bit here on and off.
We walked all the way across the Charles Bridge and looked at some of the art and jewelery set up there.
The Bridge Band played Ellington's It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing and the vocalist sang it in Czech. Good but funny to hear it in another language while recognizing what it was.
Had dinner and our "official" welcome on a boat tour on the river. It rained. Hard. But the riverbank sites are beautiful. The lock was fun. Some of the sites reminded me of Edinburgh actually.