The daily diary of a wandering restaurateur
May 24 - Prague

An interesting mix of activities today. We had breakfast upstairs with Marcela and Jaroslav and got some insights into what life was like here under the Communists (short answer: not good..) Jaroslav showed us a video he had created, really for his children, that told the story of the family from the turn of the century to the present. Really very insightful as to what life was like and how the political system evolved.

Marcela guided us along the back road to Troja Chateau, a former "party house" of the Czech royalty. Nobody ever actually lived there, they just used it for special functions. Frescoed ceilings and walls, inlaid floors and an extensive art collection made for an interesting morning of wandering. The depth of artistic talent in this country was a surprise although I don't know why it should be. At one point, this was among the most advanced countries in the world but it only took the Germans and the Russians 50 years to destroy it all. Now they are trying to rebuild, but the working generation has only known life under Communism ideals, so there is a massive re-education project as well.

We took the tram into town for lunch and a stroll across the Charles Bridge, one of Prague's most famous structures. Packed with tourists, of course, but interesting nonetheless. We found a little café next to a small stream and a park for an extended lunch, then spent an hour or so in an Internet café trying to get re-connected. This is good for checking messages but as of this writing, I still have not been able to link my computer to the Internet to upload the daily reports. I find it frustrating . . . and am a little worried that I do!

We made one more excursion into town, this time on the subway, for dinner at a restaurant that Marcela recommended. It was packed but very efficient and, I thought, amazingly clean. At least the Communists did a few things right! Tomorrow we get back in the car for the first time since we pulled in from the airport and head for Vienna.

Troja Chateau and the Charles Bridge

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