It has been in existence for more than 1100 years.
Those two facts alone are proof that my blogger stories about Prague are not going to be able to be captured in only one post, so I am starting with the one that I feel was the coolest part of our trip this weekend.
Our friends, Lisa and Kraig have only lived in Prague for a few weeks (Lisa-10, Kraig-3), but it was so cool to watch how much they have already begun to acclimate to their new home. They truly were wonderful tour guides and took us to so many great places..... one of which was The Black Ox Pub where we went to drink the local VERY FRESH Kozol beer and eat Smažený Sýr, a traditional Czech fried cheese that you eat with this YUMMY tartar sauce!
We had just finished a couple of rounds of the local brew as well as our yummy cheesy snack when a group of three sat down next to us. Since both Lisa and Jess do not know a stranger, we found out pretty quickly that the man in the group was Czech, but that he had defected during the communist years to the US and actually got his PhD from Colombia University in NYC. We visited with him for a bit and then announced that we were leaving to continue our day, but he convinced us that we MUST stick around for a bit longer because a group would be arriving soon to commemorate the story of The Good Soldier Švejk. (Read the story...it really is amazing...)
We agreed to stick around for a little while longer and sure enough, a 5 person band soon arrived, dressed in traditional WWI uniforms,playing what must have been very well-known CZ music because many folks in the pub began singing along with them.
The music was the kind that just made you feel good when you heard it... Even if you could not understand the language, you could feel the spirit of what they were singing. We learned that this was an annual tradition and included a stop at 7 different local pubs (at which each they were supposed to drink two beers...) to share their music and the history.
Throughout this afternoon we not only experienced a real piece of Czech culture and history, but we also got to be a part of the "local scene". So while yes, seeing castles and cathedrals is AWESOME and AMAZING, there is something even more special about sitting in a VERY popular and VERY old local hangout where you are made to feel like you have belonged there for a long time. It was one of those moments that makes the world feel much smaller than it is in reality and it is when you realize that the old Danish comedian Victor Borge was SO right when he said "that a smile is the shortest distance between two people" no matter what language we all speak (or don't speak).
Until next time.... More of Prague to come!