Nan and Walt's 1999 - 2000 Sabbatical
Report #4, September 1, 1999

Prague

We left Weesenstein and headed on to Prague. As in 1993, the minute we crossed the border we started seeing prostitutes along the road. (No, we didn't. :-)) The roads are two lane most of the way and go through lots of little towns. So, the going is quite slow. We were excited to come to a newly completed autobahn. But, no sooner had we gotten on it then we were stopped by the police. We were suppose to have purchased a sticker to use the autobahn (about $20 - good for the year). The policeman tried to get us to pay a huge fine, but let us go when he found we had no Czech money. We had to stop at the next rest area and purchase the pass - along with a lot of other travelers. Presumably there were signs at the border crossing indicating this, although we certainly hadn't seen any.

We arrived in Prague about three o'clock to lots of traffic. It's always a challenge in central Europe to first find, then read the street names! We eventually found our hotel, the Krystal, where we had stayed in 1993 for a conference. It is a bit out of town, but on a tram line. Not fancy, but the price was right! We garaged Erik's car and headed to the main square for dinner.

The Squares

 

Here's the main square

This famous clock does it's thing every hour to hoards of people looking on.

This is a stitched image of the municipal building. The perspective is a bit off, but the best we can do.

This is a view after emerging from one of the subway stations (Musek). WHICH way is McDonalds? :-)

We went to an internet cafe in Prague as Walt needed to e-mail his sister. Imagine our surprise when one of the remote sites listed in telnet was RIT!

 

The Charles Bridge

The Charles Bridge is one of the main focal points for any tour of Prague. It is gated at one end and has many statues on it. Vendors vie for a license to sell their wares here. The bridge leads from the center of Prague to the side where the castle is located.

 

       

The left photo is of the main gate. The right was taken from this gate the next day. Notice the castle on the hill.

Views from below,

where we had lunch

 

The Castle in Prague

We spent a morning in the Prague Castle surrounds. We had a chance meeting with a retired professor who became our guide. This is the singing fountain in the Royal Gardens.

    

Here's a view of St. Vitus' Cathedral from the Royal Gardens and a picture with our guide.

    

St. Vitus is interesting in that architecturally compromises were made as funding and fashion dictated. The facelift here is being funded by the Getty Foundation.

This is a view from a viewpoint inside the castle walls. This was where we had our first first-hand encounter with pick pockets, witnessing an attempt on someone else, and actually preventing it. A "gypsy" was eyeing pant pockets and pocketbooks instead of this gorgeous view.

On a later day, there was an attempt to get Walt's wallet in a typical ploy - three guys entered a subway car in front of Walt and prevented him from moving forward. Two others crowded him from behind. Fortunately the train lurched forward and Walt grabbed behind him for a pole, but got instead the thumb and forefinger of one of the guys in his pocket. The would be pickpockets shouted at Walt for "stepping on their feet", "grabbing them", etc. and nonchalantly got off at the next stop.

Jewish Cemetery

 

 

The Jewish Cemetery is Prague is a just a small area that served as the only place Jews could be buried for a couple of centuries. As a result, graves were placed on top of one another and all of the stones are raised to ground level. It is a very moving view.

Back toTrip Report 4

Nan C. Schaller
Rochester Institute of Technology
Computer Science Department
102 Lomb Memorial Dr.
Rochester, NY 14623-5608
telephone: +1.585.475.2139
fax: +1.585.475.7100
e-mail: ncs@cs.rit.edu
4 September 1999