lunedì 9 luglio 2012

Three days in Prague - a summary, in English, of my previous post

Prague is a beautiful city, with an unique and magic atmosphere. The first day we decided to join us to a guided tour, and it was a good choice, because the woman who showed the beauty of the city to us, also suggested us what to visit in the following days.

In fact, as suggested, the day after we did the synagogues tour. As we discovered, in Prague there was a considerable Jewish community (more than 90,000 peoole), which, during the Second World War, was exterminate by Nazis. Today in the ancient synagogues, located in an unique block (the ancient Jewish ghetto) there is an exhibition of the Jewish culture, and of Jewish history in Prague. In one of the synagogues, the walls are completely covered with the names of the people killed in the extermination camps during the Second World War.

Upstairs, the drawings of the children prisoned in Terezin death camp are shown. Touching, really.

But, let me start from the beginning.

The flight

We chose a low cost company, an extreme low cost, to be honest. In fact, we could only take on board an unique hand luggage (the handbag, OR the trolley, OR the pocketbook), but, the company also threatens their passengers stating that if the flyers are very numerous, the unique-hand-baggage of the last passengers at the gate could be considered as a checked-in baggage and stowed! So, the passengers are invited to hurry to reach the gate before the others! (You can find this nice suggestion directly on the boarding card).

The steward who said goodbye to us, at the end of the first flight, guffawed when he pronounced the following words: “Thank you for flying on this fantastic airplane”.

I understood the meaning of his words on the back flight, when I hoped to eat a sandwich with fee (lunch time was over, but I had spent it trying to arrive at the gate before the other passengers), but the hostess, sorry, very sorry, told me there wasn’t a sufficient number of sandwiches. The last one had just been bought by the man seated behind me.

Therefore I had lunch at 3.00 p.m., at the airport, after the plane had landed.

The language

In Prague people speak Czech. I know nothing of Czech. But I speak English!

As we had to discover very soon, English is almost useless in Czech Republic.

In fact, in the old town center, in the inner, touristic city, the most of Czech people speaks perfectly Italian. They listen to my husband and I trying to find the correct word and they said: “Are you Italian? Why don’t you speak Italian?”

Also in the restaurants, on the menu there was a translation both in English and in Italian.

The historical reason seems to be connected to the end of the First World War.

In any case, just some meters away from the town, nobody speaks either English or Italian. To be honest, many people are quite impolite and rude.

The climate

Moving to the North of Europe, we was sure to find a climate with low temperature. Absolutely not! It was really, really hot! (it’s a continental climate). As the Moldava river crosses the entire City, I can state that there is a sort of maritime climate! (Without the salty tang of the sea, anyway).

The underground and the public transport

The underground works well. There are three overcrowded lines, which cover the inner part of the City. Many stations have a wheelchair access. In case, there is an indication.

It’s easy to reach the airport from the underground by bus (by the famous line number 119).

Moreover, our guide underlined that in Prague there are a lot of trams. She probably thought it could impress us. She was wrong: in Turin we are fully used and accustomed to the trams.

But, at the end, she succeeded and reached her aim to impress us when she said: “Pay attention to the new trams! They aren’t able to stop, and sometimes they knock down pedestrians”.

In practice, it very much seems as if the last, new model of tram, produced by Porsche, doesn’t work very well, so the new trams are quite dangerous. Wonderful!

The food

The typical meat food is the Goulash, that, in practice, is a stew with a lot of garlic. The  Goulash is served with wheat dumplings or potatoes dumplings on the side. The wheat ones are similar to wet crumbs; the potatoes ones are very different from our Italian gnocchi. Not so bad, however. Unfit for people who suffer from reflux.

One note: in the restaurants smoking is still allowed.

The breakfast

The breakfast was shocking. I thought I was used to every kind of breakfast in the word, but I was wrong. The continental breakfast is not enough in Prague, because people are not satisfied with omelette and bacon. They eat sweet and sour vegetables, like pickled onions and hot peppers. And also sweet and sour wurstel. It was not a pretty sight!

The alcohol

Many people drink a lot in Prague.  We noted the smell of alcohol even the first night in the tube.

After that we discovered that beer is absolutely cheaper than cold drinks and non-alcoholic beverages. I think it’s a good policy in order to reduce alcoholism in the country….  

The architecture and the urban context

Prague is very beautiful and clean. All the buildings are freshly painted and their preservation status is good. The urban context is homogenous and consistent, therefore pleasant to live. There are many parks on the bank of the river Moldava, where there are also a lot of wonderful viewpoints.

Thousand facades are liberty, neoclassical and eclectic.

The brides

Walking around, we met a number of unconvincing brides, coming along with a photographer and sometimes without their grooms. One of them was a fat, four-eyed Asian girl, who was dressing black sneakers. Another one seemed to be pregnant. Our guide told us that they had got married previously in some part of the word, but now they were seeking a good location to improve their photo album!

In imitation of Venice

Near the river Moldava some artificial ship canals were built to create amazing patches. They are so beautiful that it seems to be in Venice, and therefore these canals are often used by many directors to realize films pretending to be in Venice! In general these canals are often film settings, for example for Hostel by Tarantino and for the first Mission: Impossible.

The pharmacies

“This is the oldest pharmacy in Prague!”, our guide said. Obviously. The oldest and the only one. In the inner town, at least. But the question is: do the inhabitants of Prague become never ill, or don’t they cure??

The iphones

My last consideration is not about Prague, but worldwide. Steve Jobs’ children can sleep soundly: the iphone is absolutely the most common object I saw in the hands of the people!  

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Un errore di gioventù

Un errore di gioventù
Futura è incinta per la seconda volta e a Patrick sembra che il loro mondo sia perfetto, ma una notizia dal passato potrebbe scombinare tutto. Patrick infatti viene contattato da una sua ex, Arlene, che gli confessa di avere una figlia quasi adolescente, che potrebbe essere sua. Lui però non ha il coraggio di rivelarlo alla moglie.

L'occasione di una vita

L'occasione di una vita
Tre donne, tre occasioni per cambiare la propria vita. A Londra Futura rimane inaspettatamente incinta, ma Patrick inizialmente non è disposto ad accettare l'idea di diventare padre. Tra i due conviventi scende a lungo il gelo, finché il ragazzo, intenerito dall'ecografia del piccolo, decide di rivedere le proprie posizioni. Non fa in tempo però a manifestare le sue intenzioni che Futura perde il bambino e in conseguenza di ciò decide di allontanarsi, non essendosi sentita sufficientemente amata e capita durante la pur breve gestazione. A Torino Massimo e Ljuda, sposati e con due bambini, si dividono tra lavori part-time e la gestione della Casa di Accoglienza, struttura che si occupa di ospitare donne vittime di violenza che tentano di rimettere insiemi i cocci della loro vita. Ljuda però non è felice, le pesa la perenne carenza di soldi e decide, senza il benestare del marito, di partecipare al Reality più famoso d'Italia, dove è stata scritturata come concorrente, per dare una svolta alla sua esistenza.

Perché ne sono innamorata

Perché ne sono innamorata
Quanti modi ci sono per innamorarsi? E quanti per esprimere l’amore? Come inizia una storia duratura? La sognatrice Manuela, l’introversa e concreta Futura, la tenace Ljuda e la rassegnata Martina sono alle prese, rispettivamente, ma non sempre biunivocamente, con un promesso sposo altrui e inaffidabile, un ragazzo affascinante ma affetto da una patologia genetica, un seminarista e un fidanzato arrogante e violento. Impareranno, a loro spese, a discernere le relazioni sane da quelle malate.

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La mia foto
Sono nata a Torino nel 1975 dove ancora risiedo e lavoro. Ho pubblicato qualche romanzo e ogni tanto condivido sul blog i miei pensieri.