After the previous night’s madness, Sunday was going to be a relaxed day. We collectively woke up at some ungodly hour – around noon or so after having slept at 11pm on a Saturday night in Munich….lame, I know! We went to Marienplatz, the central square in Munich to run a few errands, then later on decided to “party” at an irish pub called Kennedy’s. By party I mean, we tried to party but were all so worn out and had a beer or two before going home. The next morning we were to catch two trains to Prague. We would be leaving Munich early in the morning, but getting to Prague at 6pm.
Our hostel in Prague was not that great. It was centrally located, but the room looked like something from a boarding school – or a prison – hard concrete floors, metal double decker beds. The rooms were not that clean and the receptionist seemed like a cokehead and was not useful at all.
We decided to splurge that night and go eat at an actual restaurant. We found ourselves at Old Czech restaurant and the food was a lot and quite delicious! We slept early that evening after our long trip.
The next morning we went on my favourite free tour – Sandeman’s new Europe tours. They are great free tours that take place in a few European cities and elsewhere (Tel Aviv) etc. One only pays a tip at the end of the trip based on how they valued the trip. I am always amazed by how good the guides are. I love history and such tours feed my hunger for historical information. Key highlights of the tour included learning about The Prague Uprising and the Offensive during World War II when Czech resistance tried to liberate the city of Prague from German occupation during World War II. This 3 day uprising began in the last moments of WWII but the city was captured by Germany. One day after the Germans conquered Prague, they surrendered on the arrival of the Red Army from Russia. We also learnt about Jan Palach - a Czech student who set himself on fire in 1969 to protest against the demoralization of Czech citizens under Russian rule. This was quite relevant at the time given the recent memory of the Arab spring starting in 2010 after a Tunisian street vendor - Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire protesting the confiscation of his wares and the harassment and humiliation that he reported was inflicted on him council officers - his acts mirrored the frustration millions in the MENA region were facing as a result of social and political issues in the country. I can only imagine how frustrated and desperate one must be by the time they decide to set themselves on fire for a cause. There are real heroes amongst us.
Prague and its citizens harbor a lot of guilt regarding the holocaust. Of the 120,000 Jews who lived in the city at the time of Germany’s invasion, only 40,000 survived the war with 67% of all Jews in the Czech republic being killed by the Nazis.
We also learnt even more ancient history of the city - in particular about The Defenestrations of Prague - a time when discontent with the corruption of the Catholic church led to quite a few leaders being thrown out of windows in the 15th and 16th century. Yikes! Remind me not to piss off anyone in this city.