Prague, Czech Republic (2012)

After a late morning start, Peter and I walked to the Jewish Museum in Prague.

There were six sections of the exhibit and Peter and I skipped two of the sections because, well, we just are not museum people. We focused on two sections, the Old Jewish Cemetery and Pinkas Synagogue.

Old Jewish Cemetery

As far as cemeteries go, the Old Jewish Cemetery is tiny but has a lot of graves. It is estimated that 12,000 tombstones are presently visible but up to seven times that number (84,000) is buried in the cemetery (in layers of tombs). The tombstones are very packed together and some are even sandwiched right next to each other like the layers of an Oreo cookie. It felt wrong to stare but I could not stop staring.

Pinkas Synagogue

The Pinkas Synagogue is now a memorial to the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia who perished at the hands of Nazis. The names and personal data of the victims are written on the walls in very tiny print. There were many walls with many names, about 80,000 names. The walls are an intense visual of how many people in the region lost their lives; not as intense as the shoes of the victims at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, USA but still pretty intense.

After our short visit to the Jewish Museum, we decided to ascend Petrin Hill and take in the views of Prague. Perched on top of Petrin Hill is a miniature replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Petřínská rozhledna (aka Petřín Lookout Tower) is one-fifth the size of the Eiffel Tower but because of its position on top of Petrin Hill, the top of the tower is slightly higher than the top of the real Eiffel Tower. The two towers are not exact replicas, however, look identical at first glance with the obvious exception of color.

A cable car runs from the bottom of Petrin Hill to the top, however, it was not running on the day we decided to visit and I was disappointed because I intended on riding the cable car to the top. I knew from my research that the hill was “slightly steep,” however, after a few steps, I learned that “fucking steep” is a much more accurate description.

Peter led the way up the hill, consistently walking 20 feet in front of me. During the hike, I thought, “Wow, Peter is scaling this hill like it’s no big deal and he never works out. Why am I completely winded and wanting to fall over in exhaustion? He’s so manly in his flannel-lined jeans!”

Then it dawned on me. Peter was walking 20 feet ahead of me to hide the fact that he was completely winded and wanting to fall over in exhaustion too.

Curious about the exact grade of Petrin Hill, I did a quick Google search and while I was not able to find the grade of the hill, I did read that 29.8 percent is the steepest grade of the cable car, so that gives you some perspective.

We reached the top of Petrin Hill, paid our admission to the tower, and began ascending the 299 steps to the top of Petřín Lookout Tower. Peter made it to step 287 before his fear of heights got the best of him and was forced to turnaround. Having no fear of heights, I reached the summit and took in the spectacular views of Praha. This city is so pretty!

I loved the architecture and pastel colors of Prague.

I also fancied the American marketing for Starbucks, McDonald’s, Burger King, and Subway. Signs like the one below were all over the city lamp posts. I appreciated the guidance when I was in need of free wi-fi a Mocha Frappuccino Light from Starbucks.

Per Google Translate, “Stavíš se?” translates to “You build it?” in Czech and “You bet it?” in Slovenian. I am equally confused by both translations.

Soon enough, it was the end of our first full day in Prague and I was loving the city.

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