Since Monday the 24th of October, I’ve done a lot that I have failed to document for you, so I’ll try to catch you up on my life in Europe.
That was a full school week, with the addition of a Holy Hour on Wednesday and a festival of praise on Thursday (praying and singing worship songs for God), as well as classes on Friday. So that week, I opted to go on the school planned day trip to Prague. It was a wonderful decision. First of all, I was able to enjoy my Friday night, and relax for part of my weekend.
They had a bonfire outside that Friday night, with s’mores and singing. I was quite proud of myself when someone started singing “A whale of a tale” from Disney’s 20 thousand leagues under the sea, and I actually knew the song (and a couple of the lyrics) and joined them to create a duo of trying to fill in the words we knew and figure out the ones we forgot. There was a lot of singing, and candles, and it all ended with a popcorn story telling, where one person tells part of the story and passes it off to another person. At last the story ended, and the bon-fire died out, and I decided to get some minimal sleep before the 4:30am bus departure for Prague.
I didn’t expect to sleep on the bus to Prague, but I did, and I even had a dream that I went back to France, and even went back to Lourdes, just one week and day after I had left it. We got to Prague around 10am (I think…) and we had until 8pm to explore. We found a free tour that started at 11, and spent the next hour or more exploring Prague. We heard the tragic story of the clockmaker (his eyes were poked out and his tongue was cut off so that he wouldn’t give away the secret of the Clock-tower…As payback he jumped into the gears of the clock-tower, killing himself, and jamming the gears which then prevented the clock from working for the next 100 years, or so our guide told us), visited the old Jewish ghetto, which has now become the richest part of town, and heard more stories of the Czech Republic’s history according to our guide and many legends.
After the free tour there was another tour that cost 10 euros and explored the castle and the newer part of the city of Prague that lies across the river. Most of my small group of fellow travelers (30-40 of us went to Prague, I think, and once there we divided into smaller groups, and I hung out with 10 or so fellow students) went on the tour, but just one other person and myself decided we were going to be independent and not spend excess money, and explore Prague on our own (plus guided tours get kind of boring after two hours). So we said farewell to our friends, stole one of their maps, and started tromping off in a random direction.
We then decided it would be wise to have a plan of action. So we decided to follow the group of people walking ahead of us, because they looked like they were around our age, and one of them had a giant puffy hat on with antlers on it. We called him hat man. So we followed hat man and his crew of cigarette smoking, dark clothing wearing, definitely non-American friends, and tried to take a picture of his hat, until I saw a book store and we went inside, never to see hat man or his group again.
The book store was a book store. It had some creepy cartoon themed buttons with aardvarks and various strange animals on them, and so we went back outside, and continued to head in the direction that hat man and his group were walking in when we had last seen them (we had no intention of actually catching up with or in any way becoming associated with hat man and his group of friends, but we did figure that they were probably tourists as well and would lead us to tourist like things, and thus we followed them). This process led us past the music hall we had seen on our tour, which made us very excited because then we realized how small Prague was and how easy it was to navigate, and how it would be impossible for us to become lost…probably.
From there we could see the river, and we followed it a while, and then there was a giant bridge, and I had heard a lot about a giant bridge and how special it was or something, so we decided to go across it. It was packed with tourists and peddlers selling things, and musicians, but it also had a lot of giant religious statues on the sides, so it was pretty cool.
After finally getting to the other side, we just kept walking and enjoying our free unguided tour of the city. We ultimately got to a very large building with two guards standing outside of it, and streams of people walking in and out. We then decided that we might as well try to follow some of the people heading through the gates toward the stately buildings, and as soon as we walked in, we saw three of our fellow travelers from a different group, who hadn’t gone on any of the tours whatsoever. They informed us that we were in fact, at the castle, and that there was a lovely church inside it. So then we entered the Church, prayed a bit inside, and took some pictures outside.
The rest of the day went well, we found another special church and prayed there, and then we ate dinner, and hopped back on the bus, and got home just a little while before one in the morning. This happened to be the Saturday that clocks went back an hour though, so I ended up waking up the next day at 7:30 in the morning, but then I was able to sleep again until 9:30, so it was great.
Last week was parents week, so Sunday people started showing up, and then Monday even more people showed up, and it was Halloween! We had a dance and the teacher’s kids went trick or treating in the dorms. Wednesday we had a talent show. Then Thursday night I left with my 2 friends to go back to Paris as part of a scheme to go to Disneyland Paris…