Monday, June 11, 2012

Prague - and the surrounding areas

Hello everyone! We have all made it safely back to the United States and have many great memories that we will treasure forever from our trip.

Our last few days were spent in the capital city of the Czech Republic - Prague. Our time in Prague was absolutely amazing where we spent a lot ot time seeing the city (which we are now very familiar with and can safely navigate by ourselves - well mostly!) We had previously toured the Old Town of Prague on our first day, but Marcela didn't disappoint in her tour she gave us.

We also visited a few towns outside the city including Terezin which was constructed in the late 18th century but is mostly known as being used during World War II as a ghetto, concentrating Jews from Czechoslovakia, as well as many from Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Denmark. More than 150,000 Jews were sent there, and although it was not an extermination camp about 33,000 died in the ghetto itself, mostly because of the appalling conditions arising out of extreme population density. About 88,000 inhabitants were deported to Auschwitz and other extermination camps. At the end of the war there were 17,247 survivors. This was very difficult for many of us to see and to understand the conditions that these people had to face - only getting one cup of water and one piece of bread a day, then working extremely physical jobs for 12 hours a day only to then be crammed into a tiny room with hundreds of other people to sleep. It was also very difficult for us to see the execution wall where the bullet holes are numerous and still visible.

On a happier note - we also really enjoyed our time in "The Pub" which is a bar where you serve yourself your own beer  and are in a competition not only with your table to drink the most beer, but also with every table in the bar -- which is displayed on a huge screen so everyone can see who has drank the most and where your table stands. This is also connected across the country to other Pubs across the country to see where your table and your current bar stands. Very unique! We also had another very interesting experience here....but that is for a completely different blog post :)

We saw so much more -- and I hope another team member will post about some of our other experiences as well!

I cannot believe that our trip has ended. What is the opposite of home sick -- because that is what I am. I will visit the Czech Republic and Slovakia again!

On a final note -- we cannot thank the GSE team from the Czech Republic and Slovakia enough. The time you spent with us and the amazing things you planned for us were remarkable. I know I can speak for every team member when I say that we miss you already and hope to see each of you again soon! And also, a HUGE thank you to George -- who kept us in line and did everything in his power to make sure we were happy.


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