Prague, then and now

If you couldn’t already tell from my previous posts about it, touring Europe with the Ateneo College Glee Club was a life-changing experience. There is nothing like being 19 and traipsing all over Europe for free, getting to see and experience things tourists don’t, and doing what you love everyday with people who will become your friends for life. 
My memories of Prague from over a decade ago are all tour memories. And those memories were so good, I couldn’t help but try and retrace our footsteps.
The Philippine Embassy organized a concert for us inside the National Museum, which was pretty awesome. 
It was kind of hilarious to go back to the National Museum and find another bunch of lost, badly dressed Asian tourists carrying plastic bags in front of it, exactly where we were 11 years ago. 
I had to take a picture of the KFC in front of the museum because we all have memories of nearly dying of hunger there while waiting to be served by the slowest, rudest, most disinterested staff of all time. Working for an American fast food franchise must be the kiss of death for proud Europeans. 

We were the Glee Club “kiddies” back then. We all went up to Prague Castle but didn’t go inside because it was already closed. Rehearsals and performances took first priority, and we tried to do what sightseeing we could after official business was over.

Me in the same spot overlooking Prague, sans kiddies. We all live in different places now: Manila, Singapore, the US, Amsterdam. Miss you guys and wish you were all here with me.

Another guardia civil. This one is not allowed to move or smile, unlike the friendly one at Charles Bridge. P.S. I remember being very worried about looking fat in this outfit 11 years ago. I was very conscious about my arms. Pakshet.

This time I actually got to go inside Prague Castle on a walking tour with Sandemans New Europe. We had a very enthusiastic, entertaining and knowledgeable guide, a Czech student named Filip. Here he is passionately questioning why the biggest pillar-less hall in Europe (on left) is no longer used for its original purpose: indoor jousting.

Filip also pointed out that the immense St. Vitus Cathedral was started in the 1300s, but remained unfinished until 1929. That’s the reason why, quite bizarrely, the likenesses of four men in business suits are carved into its Gothic exterior (top right). They were the committee who spearheaded the completion of the church. Very quirky, and almost… Pinoy. I kind of like it.

A young, pre-bangs, pre-hair color, pre-upper lip wax moi on Charles Bridge. Rina had just chopped off four inches off my hair that morning. Incidentally, Rina also brought me to get my first dye job and upper lip wax at Azta Salon many years later. Haha! Also, note all the high waisted mom jeans in the background.

Eleven years later… I think I actually look better, although I wish I had stayed skinny. Or maybe I just have a better camera now!

Aside from the 30 statues lining Charles Bridge, there are also a number of bronze plaques that are supposed to bring you good luck if you rub them. At the time, all of us rubbed them with the aim of winning a big international competition… that we subsequently lost. But I also recall there was one you rubbed if you wished to return to Prague. I think it’s the one I’m rubbing in this photo.

Well, I don’t know if I rubbed with the wrong intent. But it worked… I did return to Prague! (I have also done this in Paris and Brussels, and returned each time.) I made sure to rub another one just in case. And I made Marlon do it too.

I don’t know exactly what we were rubbing them for. But if they grant me either good luck or a return trip to this beautiful city, I won’t complain!
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