I was reading aloud to the kids when we neared Prague and I looked up just as the city came into view. It was incredibly beautiful – so colorful and full of so many spires, copper domes, and towers. When we arrived at our apartment we scored a parking spot directly in front of the building. A very rare event, we were told. Anyway, it made unloading much easier although we still had to haul our bags up two winding flights of stairs. As in every stop, the kids scrambled to pick out their own piece of property for the next few days. We’ve had to implement a policy that has them taking turns choosing their beds (sometimes a couch) to avoid too much fighting. This property had a full kitchen which is nice because then we were able to save money by cooking a lot more. We spent our first full day at the Prague Castle, a walled fortress high enough up from the city center that it is visible from most spots. We figured out the local train system and rode that up to conserve energy for our walk back. There was so much to see on the castle grounds that we probably only took in about one-eighth of it. Traveling in a group of four, though, requires a lot of compromise. Everyone has a different level of interest, endurance, patience, needs, and limitations. Fortunately the tickets were honored for two consecutive days, so Jon and I returned the next day for a few hours while the kids stayed home and collaged in their travel journals. We attended a beautiful classical concert in a fancy “stateroom” and toured the torture chamber (two very opposite activities).
The next few days were spent in typical European tourist fashion – walking a lot, stopping in at churches, museums, high viewing points, and historical sites. Our last afternoon/evening in Prague Jon & I once again left the kids home for a few hours. (We’ve really taken to heart the concept of compromising and “meeting the kids where they’re at”. Also, it turns out that outings are often more enjoyable without incessant complaining so it’s a win for both sides.) We set out to find the “John Lennon wall” – a block-long mural that used to be covered with anti-communist graffiti but now contains messages of peace and love. After admiring the wall and the history it represents, we stopped in a pub for a quick drink. When we came out it was snowing huge snowflakes & the city was really quiet – that magical silence that occurs on snowy nights. It was so pretty walking back to our apartment over the historical Charles Bridge with the snow, the quiet, and the city lights. We felt like we had just stepped onto a page of a storybook.