Tag Archives: Prague

Week 29 – TBT 2017 – Feuer Frei

I had to include this track at some point this year. I don’t speak German and haven’t looked up the lyrics, but I love the way the vocals scan, I love the intro (turn it up before you start) and the air raid siren running through the song is awesome! 

The track earns bonus points for being used in the film XXX starring Vin Diesel, which ends up in Prague, one of my favourite cities. Apparently Dee and I had a long chat about the fact this was on the soundtrack when we watched the film some months back, but I’d forgotten that. 

I’ve not listened to much Rammstein, but this track is perfect for blowing the cobwebs away! 

Rammstein – Feuer Frei

Reflections on poverty and a multicultural visit


I’ve been very fortunate this week to visit Prague as part of a business trip. Business was concluded early so I’ve had a bit of time to kill while waiting for my flight home. I came here last year with Dee and we both fell in love with the place. It’s not been the same without her, not quite as good, but it’s an enchanting city all the same. 
I’ve walked up to the castle, around the various buildings there and then back into the Old Town via the Charles Bridge. The views from the castle were superb, as were the sights while there. I’m now sitting in one of the main squares sipping iced tea, watching the world go by, and a number of things have struck me about this visit.

There seem to be fewer people begging this year. They kneel, elbows and head on the ground, with cups or hats outstretched, and don’t make a sound. Most of the streets are cobbled and it can’t be comfortable. Whether this is to encourage them to feel shame, to punish them for begging, or to prevent too many people doing it, you can’t help but feel for these people. 

It’s impossible to know their story, but trying to imagine how bad things must be got them to force them to beg in such a way is enough to make you weep. I wonder if there are less of them around because the authorities are cracking down hard on begging, whether they’ve been moved out of the tourist areas, or whether there are genuinely fewer people that need to beg here. 

While at the castle, I took the opportunity to visit the cathedral there. It is simply stunning on the inside. Upon reflection, there were visitors from all over the world inside that Roman Catholic building, and I’d be willing to bet that there were more non-Catholics in there than Catholics. It was apparent that all inside were marvelling at what they saw, from stained glass windows to the towering ceiling, and many were taking advantage of being in such a sacred space to commune with their god or their thoughts.

Walking the streets of this lively and lovely city, walking round the castle, and sitting as I am now having tea, I’ve been stuck by the plethora of languages spoken, at the number of visitors and at the number of nationalities represented. I can hear at least five languages at the moment – and none of them are English! 

I’m sitting here wondering at how everyone seems to get along. I’ve not heard an angry voice while I’ve been in the city. Staff everywhere are unfailingly polite. Is it simply the good weather that means all these faiths and creeds are enjoying the sights, sounds and tastes of Prague, or is there something else? Wouldn’t it be great if the rest of the world could learn how to do this too?

A month of firsts – Image #134

As the title suggests, this has been a month of firsts for me.

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At at the beginning of the month, Dee and I had our first holiday abroad together, to Prague, which neither of us had been to before.

A few days after that, I started my first new job since 1995, and as a result of that I have added a new first today: I’ve set foot in the USA for the first time ever!

To cut a short story even shorter (because I’ve been up for over 21 hours today) I walked into the office yesterday, my boss asked what I was doing the rest of the week and asked if I’d come here for a meeting. So I’m here!

The flight was great, really comfortable though a bit turbulent coming down past Maine. Passport control was quick and easy at both ends of the trip, and I got straight into a cab with no wait when I left the airport. The place was in darkness when I landed, so I’ve not seen much: looking forward to taking in my surroundings tomorrow.

Oh, and next week I get to represent my company on a trade stand, something I’ve never done before either!

 

50 years young – Image #125

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Tomorrow will mark the first day I’m closer to being 100 than being born. And if you believe the teachings in the bible, I only have a score of years left of my life.

I guess both of those statements lead one to be a bit philosophical. I’ve made a lot of changes in my life, and probably the biggest and best in the last 18 months or so. New relationship, new house, new job, new lease of life: I’ve never been happier!

I’ve been celebrating with a few days in Prague. Today Dee and I took a couple of tram rides, visited an armoury / jewellery workshop and store, chilled out at Hard Rock and generally kicked back and enjoyed the city and the weather. Oh, and I shouldn’t forget the complimentary glass of fizzy with my breakfast!

I’m not sure how we’ll top this trip for future birthdays: the bar has been set incredibly high. Time to get my thinking cap on!

Another spiral to climb – Image #124

Today’s our first day in Prague – we only arrived at our hotel around 0200 this morning – and we already love the place. So much to see and do, with beauty and astounding buildings around nearly every corner.

As is my usual style, I looked at the map for a bit and had a rough idea where we should go, but then left the map in the bag and wandered where my nose took me. Fortunately Dee was happy with that approach. With one minor course correction we found ourselves on the Charles Bridge (Karlov Most): it was awash with traders selling jewellery and souvenirs, some musicians playing different types of music, and a big selections of artists waiting to do portraits or charicatures.

We stopped on the other side for lunch, spent in a restaurant beside the river and almost in the shadow of the bridge, then crossed back into the Old Town. After detouring through part of the Jewish Quarter, we made our way to the Old Town Square.

The Astronomical Clock in the Old Town Square is rightly famous, and is a thing of great beauty. Dee and I decided to climb the clock tower, and this was the view on the way up.

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Its not so much a spiral staircase as a spiral ramp. There was a narrow spiral staircase at the very top, complete with traffic lights, to give access to the top of the tower and the balcony there, which gave clear views across the rooftops of the city. Yes, it was very busy with other tourists, and yes, we’d had a bit of a wait to see the views, but it was well worth it. I’d definitely recommend climbing the tower to anyone!

Some news and an experiment for Image #32

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The image above gives away my good news, and is part of an experiment suggested to me as a result of a post earlier this year.

I have a significant “big” birthday later this year, and have been agonising for months as to how to celebrate (or hide from) it.  I’ve looked at beach holidays, adventure trips, skydiving, white water rafting, sightseeing, log cabins and all sorts, but I kept coming back to the thought that I should visit Prague.  I’ve never been, so it’ll be a new country and a new experience for me.  It looks beautiful, it shouldn’t be too cold and food and drink is relatively inexpensive.  Even getting there and staying there is reasonably priced, so it was an easy decision to make.  I’m really looking forward to it, even though it’s months off.

As for the experiment: don’t worry, it has nothing to do with actual animals.  It was suggested to me that a blatant and easy way of improving my stats in terms of readership etc would be to post lots of pictures of cute cats.  So this is the start of an infrequent test of that hypothesis.  I promise I’ll try not to post too many, as I know how annoying that could be, but it’ll be interesting to see whether the addition of some furry  felines feeling fine finds favourable followers and has any effect on my readership.