Saturday, January 19, 2013

Be a Tourist and Learn some Lingo

Prague Castle

There are about 2,000 castles (some just ruins) in the Czech Republic.  You probably can't throw a rock and NOT hit a castle, but only one of these castles is impressive enough to be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records - Prague Castle!  So, of course, that's where we have to go. 

Listed as the biggest castle complex in the world, Prague Castle has been the home to the Kings and Queens of Bohemia (what the are was called long ago), the Holy Roman Emperors, and the presidents of Czechoslovakia and now the Czech Republic.  Since 880, it has been built, destroyed, rebuilt, burnt, restored and added on to according to the whims of the monarchs.  Because of that, the Prague Castle is a great example of many different types of architectural styles.  The castle includes many different buildings- St. Vitus Cathedral, Basilica of St. George, a monastery, several palaces, towers and halls, as well as, formal gardens.  Many of these are now museums or public areas that can be visited. 

The castle is also home to the Czech crown jewels which include the Crown of Saint Wenceslas.  The crown was made for the coronation of George IV in 1347 which makes it one of the oldest in Europe.  But don't get any ideas about trying it on, an ancient Czech legend says that anyone unfit who places the crown upon his head will die within the year.  Just legend you say? Well when the Nazis occupied Prague and took over the castle, Nazi govenor Reinhold Heydrich tried it on as a joke and was assasinated within the year.  Sure, he probably would've died anyway but I'll still keep my hands off the jewels just in case!!

A few Czech words....

If you are going to be travelling around you might want to learn a few words in the native tongue.  I might suggest a more comprehensive lesson then the one I'm about to give you :)  The Czech language has it's own alphabet and many different sound combinations than we are used to but give it a shot!

hello - ahoj    good day - dobry den     good bye - na shiedanou
thank you - dekuji    you are welcome - neni zac     please - prosim

1- jeden      2- dva     3- tri      4- ctyri       5- per
6- sest        7- sedm   8- osm    9- devet    10- deset

We hope you enjoyed our visit to the Czech Republic.  My kids have really been playing with their puppets and, in fact, we have our own "Puppet Museum" in the living room.  It's just like visiting Prague (no, not really).  If you make the pot roast recipe I can tell you that the leftovers make a great hash for breakfast and the dumplings are great with gravy!