Nov 16

I went to Prague last weekend! My mom was going to speak at a legal tech conference there on Monday, so we decided to meet up a few days earlier to see the city. I took a flight Thursday night and was there within an hour and a half.

We stayed in a hotel right in the center of town, very reasonably priced, in a room about 3 times the size of my apartment here in Paris. Oh it was nice to sleep in a real bed.

My mom booked a walking tour of the old Jewish Quarter the next morning, and on our way to the meeting place we walked across the Charles Bridge and through the main town square, where there’s a huge astronomical clock and lots of interesting architecture.


That’s a rare (for this blog) photo of me, and my mom!

The tour started with the Alt-neu shul, or the Old-New Synagogue. It’s actually that building in the foreground, not the one with the Hebrew clock– though that was super cool as well! We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but the architecture inside looked a bit like a Gothic church, except…that it was a synagogue. Haha. It was originally built in the 13th century, making it Europe’s oldest active synagogue. Cool right? There’s a legend that the remains of the Golem are locked away in the synagogue’s attic. (Here, read about the legend of the Golem in Prague because it’s somewhat important. 

We continued on our tour to a beautiful Reform synagogue…


And then to another synagogue that served as a Holocaust memorial. All the tiny letters you see on the walls are names of victims.


Right next to the synagogue was the old Jewish cemetery of Prague. It’s estimated to be about 600 years old, and it actually has 12 layers of graves, buried on top of each other.

The most famous person buried here is Rabbi Yehuda Loew ben Bezalel, more commonly known as the Maharal of Prague. He lived in the 16th century in Prague and is known for his works on Jewish philosophy and mysticism. He’s best known (to me, anyway) for the legend that he created the Golem (though this legend seems to have originated in the 19th century).

After the tour we spotted this van in the neighborhood! Can you tell who the waiter is? (Okay it’s the Golem! How funny?)

Anyway, after the tour we continued exploring the city. If you didn’t know before that Franz Kafka was from Prague you’ll definitely know it when you go visit. They have a Kafka museum, Kafka Street, Kafka statue and Kafka cookie-wafer things… not kidding. I love Kafka, he’s my soul brother of sorts.



This is a Czech specialty called Trdelnick. It’s really just dough and sugar but it’s absolutely delicious! Plus the way they make it is super cool.

A statue commemorating the premiere of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Prague in 1787.

More yummy food!

My mom and I had a laughing fit when we saw these. This is just a fraction of all the bizarre Russian dolls they had for sale at this little tourist shop. There was a Stalin one, and inside was Hitler, Osama Bin Laden… oh and there was also an Obama one, with Michelle inside, then Sasha, then Malia, then Bo. I was in tears from laughing so hard.

Statue of Charles the Great.

The Vltava River at sunset with the Charles Bridge. So beautiful! Best time of the day.

Statues on the Charles Bridge.

Oh look it’s me again!

On my second day in Prague my mom decided that we should go on a day trip to Terezin, a town more commonly known as the concentration camp Theresienstadt (just the German version of the name). During the Holocaust Jews were brought here from all over Europe to await transportation to Auschwitz and other concentration camps. Towards the end of the war, in March of 1945, my grandmother was brought there from the Austrian border. She’d been deported from her Hungarian town of Hajdúnánás in 1944 to a work camp in Austria, then she was brought to Theresienstadt with around 1,000 other Hungarian Jews as the war was ending.

The camp is now especially well known because it was used to make propaganda films for the Red Cross, to create the impression that the Nazis were treating the Jews perfectly well. There were a lot of artists, musicians and writers brought there to help perpetuate the propaganda efforts. Particularly well known is the children’s opera composed and performed there, Brundibar, and the drawings and paintings created by the children there.


The town square.


Our guide brought us to a recently discovered, tiny synagogue that would have been used in secret.


When we arrived back it was already getting dark.


evening tower


That night we went to a wonderful restaurant that had a traditional Czech folk music band (but was surprisingly non-touristy!) The food was delicious (and a lot of it was very familiar because, you know, Eastern European roots! oh man I just remembered the cucumber salad, it was the best thing ever. I WANT.), the music was great and we discovered this Czech liquor called Becherovka that’s sort of spicy and vanilla-ish… and got this priceless photo with one of the musicians! 🙂


On our last day of tourism, we visited the Prague Castle!



Another church.

castle church






And some really random stuff as well.


The castle was up on a hill, so we had a beautiful view of Prague!




That afternoon, we moved to the hotel where my mom’s conference was taking place. It was completely away from the tourist-y area of Prague, which was interesting but not particularly pretty. In fact the hotel creeped me out a little. It was giant and hospital-like, and it seemed like a Soviet-era relic. But anyway. The next day I videotaped my mom’s panels, and attended some other panels just for fun. I even got my very own badge. I think I was the only student there, which was not surprising at all. I mean, just look at what the topic was:


I’m not going to lie, some of the topics were pretty interesting. The keynote was about the future of the legal profession (there are…challenges…ahead), and there were panels about e-crime and stuff… yeah, it was cool.

Overall I had a wonderful time, I learned a lot about Prague, and it was really nice to spend time with my mom!


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