Bohemian Rhapsody

Posted by Mason Allen Buskirk on July 7, 2016 in Study Abroad |

Schönes Abend alle Anden! Wie geht es dir meine Freunde?

And now it’s time for yet another chapter of my many wanderings throughout the Continent of Europe. In this retelling, I’m off to yet another capital of music and culture, and to set foot for the first time in a country of Eastern Europe, Paha in the Czech Republic. Where I had last left in my re-telling, I had caught a train after another day in Vienna, and made my way towards my next country to explore for the first time. During my train journey to Prague, I stepped off in a small town known as Bruno, home to a famous castle, and a cathedral, which, like in many smaller towns in Europe, is the most important sight of interest to visitors like myself.

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The cathedral made a very fitting end to my few hours time spent in my first day in the Czech Republic.

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That evening, as rain clouds starting coming in, I stepped on an express train bound for Prague. The ride was quiet, spacious, and pleasant, and I enjoyed watching the quaint farms and forests pass, as we wound through valleys and by small streams. I enjoyed a fine meal in the dining car during the trip, consiting of some traditional Bohemian dumplings, and fruit tea. The menus were in Czech, English, and German.

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It was dark by the time the train terminated in Prague’s central station, and I then caught the metro, and then a tram to take me into the old city, where I had booked a room for the night. To my delight, and this made my first day in this country more wonderful, the innkeeper told me I had the room all to myself for the night. The room had a kitchen, ten beds, and a shower.

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The view out the window afforded a pleasant and quiet view of the old town, and increased my excitement of what I could hope to find during my adventures here the next day. After a good night’s rest, I enjoyed a lavish Bohemian breakfast, and made my way to the nearest incredible artifact of the old town.

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It was the local cathedral, the Church of St. Nicholas, and this, in my mind, made the previous ones I had found all over Europe pale in comparison to some extent, not nearly by the beauty of the church’s interior itself, but by the beauty of the oil paintings commemorating the betrayal, trial, death, and resurection of the Christ, which took away my breath.

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Afterwards, I had made my way to the Palace of Praha, where located was an even greater Cathedral, in the center or the residence of the rulers who had once dwelled there.

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From up towards the palace, the city looked beautiful, even in the bleakest of weather, for Prague certainly is one of Europe’s great treasures of a city.

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It was seldom harmed from bombings during the second world war, thus much of its historical architecture has survived to this date, not least its art and cultural identity, even after an influence from the Soviet Union, as it is a former eastern bloc country.

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I then walked a short distance afterwards to great art galleries and libraries of the Imperial royal family, clearly comparable to the library of the Imperial Palace in Vienna.

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It was then a leisurly walk back to where I had begun in the old city to seek out one of the gardens Prague tenderly keeps, and took in the sweet essences of the local botany of Bohemia. The best, and what might have been my most memorable moment in the Czech Repblic, or even all of Europe, was yet to come. Across the Charles Bridge, in the heart of Prague, was the city clock tower, the Old Town Hall, home to a peculiar and prestigious timekeeping piece, which people from across the globe come to observe.

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I made my way up to the highest balcony, and gazed in amazement at a most beautiful sight; Prague at dusk. It was so romantic, and while I had been traveling alone all this time, this was the one moment I truly wished I had had a girl to spend it with.

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I will go back there when I do. Now that I’ve traveled across Europe, I’ll know just where to take her! I spent another night at the inn I had found, and talked to two Australian travelers who I met there. While I might have traveled so far from home on my own, I was never in wanting of other travelers who I momentarily crossed paths with on the trains and at the inns who I could share my adventures thus far with, and I learned from them about their lands and where I could possibly go to next in the Continent I was in.

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I decided to spend one more day in Prague, and the next evening I would catch a night train to Warsaw, the capital of Poland. After a well rested night, and another breakfast of traditional Czech cuisine, I visited the Golden Lane, a group of very antiquidated buildings surrounding the Palace, that held artifacts of armor and weaponry used to defend it during Medieval days. It was a home to Goldsmiths who lived there in the 17th century, thus the name. The whole city is beaming with streets and houses that look as thouh they were from out of a book of tales from the days of Kings, Queens and Knights.

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It’s little wonder people from all corners of the globe seem to have a fondness from Prague, even over Paris and Berlin. Close by, I even made a stroll into an antique toy museum, my main reason for being since they had so many vintage model railway engines and trains, quite like my collection I have at home, and much older.

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A vintage live steam toy train, built around the turn of the century. The toy ran on steam, just like a real locomotive.

It had displays devoted to the history of model railways for children, when being the driver of a steam locomotive was the one job every young man (like myself) wanted.

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Here is a real Czech steam locomotive I found at a railway museum, located an hour by train outside of Prague. I would’ve loved my many railway trips throughout Europe to have been taken by it.

I decided to set foot into the Palace cathedral once more for the road, and made my way towards the Old City Charles Bridge, as a good way to end my last day in Prague.

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On the bridge there were many gifted artists and street musicians, yearning to earn your applause, and a Czech crone or two from you!

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I arrived back at Prague central station early, to avoid having to hassle, and to not risk missing my train as I ever had before. It was dark when I climbed aboard my sleeping car for the night, and as the train slowly pulled out of the station, gaining speed, I quietly looked back at the lights of the city, reflecting on just how blessed I have been to have seen so many wonders of Europe, on my own or not, while attending the University of Wuppertal.

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I then retired to my compartment, and slept in the top bunk. After a pleasant chat with my one roommate that night, a Pole, I fell fast asleep as my train dashed along the rails towards my next destination, Warsaw.

 

Bis den!

 

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