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Prague, Spires and Legos June 11, 2012

Posted by Joshua Price in Travel Log.

Before embarking on my study abroad trip, there were many people in the United States that told me I needed to see Prague.  They told me it had a rich history and a great atmosphere.  However, it is difficult to truly appreciate these statements until you’ve been to Prague.  Prague is a city to be absorbed. Unlike Amsterdam, where we did many things in the city, in Prague, we walked around to look at the buildings, browse in local shops and get lunch and other snacks from street vendors.  I learned what a Klobasa was and had a dessert that was made by sugar-coating dough rolled on a large pole and baked over charcoal.  Both of these foods were incredible.  They didn’t taste like anything I had ever had before, but in a very good way.  In hindsight I wish I had taken a few pictures before eating my meal, but it was hard to think about taking a picture of your food when you are hungry and are holding the equivalent of a hot sausage sandwich and a very, very tasty dessert.

During our adventures in the city, we visited a building with a very interesting shape.  It is called the Dancing Building because of its unique shape.  If you look closely, you can see a man and a woman dancing in the design of the building.  This building certainly broke the mold of the common architecture in Prague; it is printed on many postcards and is relatively famous in the architectural world.

Another stop was at the castle, a fortress that is many centuries older than the Dancing building.  The castle is an enormous and spectacular work.  A picture helps to describe its size, but simplycannot capture the ornate detail that is seen all over the building.

Located around the castle is the Seat of the Czech Republic’s government.  Being able to walk around in the capitol of a foreign country is a totally different experience.  I’ve visited Washington, D.C. which feels natural to be there as an American citizen, you feel almost like a stakeholder in the government while in Washington, D.C.  But, in the Czech Republic, I was not a citizen and the feeling of being surrounded by the buildings of a government that I did not hold a stake in was a new feeling that certainly gives me a new perspective as an American in Europe.

Another aspect of Prague is the beauty of the cityscape. When looking out over the city, the orange-colored terra cotta roofs vanish into the horizon.  Many of the buildings follow a similar architectural pattern that allows the building to fit together like the pieces of a ten thousand piece jigsaw puzzle.

Once the sun sets on the city, the building light up.  At night Prague is gorgeous, buildings glow against the black night sky, which gave me an even greater sense of their age. Unlike many cities in Europe that were devastated during the First and Second World Wars, Prague was spared, meaning that many of the buildings in the city are historical.  Back in the United States, some building are 300 years old, here in Europe a 500 year old building is not special because of its age, it is special because of the artistry and the number of years that skilled laborers put into its construction, adding not the basic structural elements needed for stability, but also the statues and the stained glass windows that still strike people like me as incredible hundreds of years after their design and construction.

The biggest surprise of our trip to Prague came during an excursion where we followed the advice of some of our staff members here at Georgia Tech Lorraine.  They told us that we should explore the city without really looking for anything.  We should just walk around and see what we saw, which equates to getting semi-lost in the city.  Needless to say, we found a Lego museum, the Mecca of many Georgia Tech students who played with Legos when they were young.  When we arrived at the museum, there were only 45 minutes left before it closed for the night.  We went through the museum, taking picture after picture and admiring the volume of models located in the museum.  I took around three hundred pictures in those few minutes and as one of my friends pointed out, came out sweating; this is a moment when you know you are truly an engineer.  Some of their most notable models included the Death Star from Star Wars, an ATST Walker from Star Wars, which I helped model in 3D using Inventor during an engineering graphics course, and the Space Shuttle.  The best way to explain this find is simply awesome.

Prague was a city we experienced and enjoyed.  It is a beautiful yet lively city that I hope to return to in the future.  Gaining an appreciation for the beauty of the cities is important, but seeing a new way of life in Europe, and specifically in Prague, has been an eye-opening and a broadening experience for me.



1. gtpspdirector - June 11, 2012

Josh – glad to hear your travels are going well. BTW, Prague holds St. Veit’s Cathedral. It is the origin of my last name 🙂

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