i finally got to see those famous prague easter markets the day before easter sunday after missing them by chance for a few years, and i have to say, i don’t know what i was expecting (perhaps something more low key like budějovice’s easter market?) but they completely surpassed any expectation. i am well familiar by now with the extravaganza that is the prague old town square christmas market, and the easter market was basically the spring version of this. same viewing platform that you can climb to get a good view. same kingswood cider tent, only decorated for spring this time.
i loved the (fake) cherry blossom trees that were placed all over the square too… it really helped lend an easterly feeling to a weekend that otherwise felt anything but thanks to snow and hail. but saturday… saturday was alright!
i was so tempted to take home one of these beautiful painted egg ornaments (above)…. and then realized i don’t have anywhere to put it. alex remarked that i would have to buy something else just to have something to put it in, and i just put to a stop to the whole thought process. (fortunately, one of the neighbor girls came over on easter monday to thack me with the pomlázka and she gave me one of her hand-painted creations… even better!)
the market was all fine and good untillllll….. tourist overload occurred to the max. traditionally, tourists have never bothered me. i am happy to field questions and i kind of feel like living somewhere where tourists feel is desirable enough to visit makes me happy. but if i’m complaining, it must be pretty bad, and this was maddening. no words for the hoards congregating in front of the astronomical clock in all of the major walkways trying to take photos from their ipads and poking me with their selfie sticks. i had to get out of there.
sort of a shame, because prague’s old town square is stunning and i love to wander around it… but next time, it ain’t gonna be easter weekend, i’ll tell you that much. “remind me of this next time i suggest coming here”, i said to alex.
after we stole away to
žižkov, i could really breathe and the day took a more pleasant turn.
one goal i had in mind for my prague hang sesh was to actually visit a museum for the first time… it has to be more meaningful after almost two and a half years in the country! as we were on the top of vitkov hill, we paid a visit to that branch of the national museum, which is a small (but interesting) exhibition of czech history in the 20th century. listening to speeches given by tomáš masaryk (first president of the czechoslovak republic), returning triumphantly after the war in 1918 and learning about the very unique czech history of tramping and scouting really made more than a few things click.
on easter sunday, we visited the oft-mentioned museum of communism, located near mustek. i’ve heard from a few bloggers that it was worth a visit, so i finally found the unmarked entry on na příkopě
street at #10 and sauntered upstairs the grand pink carpeted steps, as the museum shares a home with a casino.
my take: this museum takes a generally light-hearted look at life under communism with a dash of ostalgie, much like berlin’s similar, more high-tech ddr museum. there are loads of interesting facts and a few exhibits to show you what a classroom may have looked like, or a butcher’s. (one funny thing we found out: fa, the soap brand that alex buys at LIDL was a popular soap even during this time! i forgot to snap a photo of the vintage fa box)
however, it may have been a little too happy-go-lucky for me. while fine for the first time traveler to central europe, i am quite familiar with czech republic and eastern germany under the communist regime, and this museum paid little to no heed to the harsh reality and suffering of the people during this time. the one real saving grace in this respect: the twenty-ish minute long video that is shown in a theater which is a well-done compilation of street footage of the praguers peacefully protesting, in places like wenceslas square, and getting brutally beaten by the police. even women! it was shocking and very emotional for me to see these people i am now well familiar with in places i have walked many times be subjected to this kind of oppression and brutality. however, it was absolutely a must see, and i walked out of the museum feeling a bit sad but enlightened and thoughtful.
for the 190kc (nearly $10), it’s a bit much, but all in all, i am glad i went. below is one of the photos from the museum that i had only heard about but never seen before: the stalin monument on the top of letná
hill! the statue was finished in 1955 (incidentally, the same year disney land opened in california… different times, man) but only stood for seven years before it was removed (er, blown up) on the order of nikita khrushchev, who had publicly condemned all things stalin at this point. (photo via)
and above is how the top of letná
hill looks today, the metronome replacing the disgraced statue. moral: while fun to visit anywhere, i find that museums are so much more meaningful when you have spent more time in a specific place and have get to know it well first.
do you have a similar museum experience?