Europe Week Four: London, a classy city

Dobry Den!

I received a couple responses after my last blitz asking if I am taking any classes (the real reason I’m in Europe, right?). In fact, I am enrolled in three: History of the Czech Region, Contemporary Politics in Central Europe and Capitalism vs. Communism. Sense a theme?

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I’m in a city with buildings constructed in 800 CE, over 1,200 years ago I walk by everyday. I’m now living history and can happily Czech that off my bucket list 😉 Just today I went on a walking tour with my history class of gothic churches constructed around the 13th century, in awe the entire time. Apparently the Czechs have a history of murdering people by throwing them out of church windows. As a result quite a few windows are now covered in metal to make sure that type doesn’t happen again. Every tour I take shows me something entirely new in a city I thought I knew pretty well.

Enough education talk.

Last Tuesday I went to a synagogue for Yom Kippur evening services. My friend found the place and it happened to be in the old Jewish Museum. It was a beautiful sanctuary that only held services of the High Holy Days. It was neat attending a service that was equal parts Czech, English and Hebrew. It was also the most confusing service I will ever attend and longest since everything was spoken in 2-3 languages. Side note: if you thought a Yom Kippur sermon was long, try sitting through one while it’s read line by line in Czech and English. I still cannot tell you what it was about for the life of me. I appreciated it but really wish I understood the true message behind it. I’m glad I went, but probably won’t go again, apologies to the rabbi on this thread.

Moving on, the main event: London. People told me if I loved New York, I’d love London. I did. Maybe more than New York. It had everything I loved about New York, but it was clean and the people were actually friendly. It seemed like a novelty talking to a helpful person in a subway station. In just over 4 days I logged over 138,000 steps which equates to about 70 miles and a sprained big toe. Totally worth it. I went with my best friend, Josh, who was the de facto photographer and map for the trip too. You name it, we probably saw it, including three museums (The National Gallery, British Museum and Natural History Museum) which house da Vinci, van Gogh, Botticelli, and the Rosetta Stone to name a few. As my family knows well, I see museums at lightening speed but Josh and I spent countless hours at each one (moving at lightening speed) there was so much to take in. I have never seen anything like it, besides the Lourve in Paris. I would go back to London just for the collection of museums especially since they are all free.

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London is not free, unfortunately. It is rather expensive. In the Czech Republic I can get a nice dinner for about $8, in London I got pizza for $15. I will admit that the food in London beats Prague without question and it was hard not to eat everything in sight. This was not an easy trip for the wallet. Smart choice on my part not to study there. Clearly Brits can afford it, almost everywhere wears designer brands and drives a luxury car, something that doesn’t happen in Prague. If I could afford London I would move there in a heartbeat.

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The shopping is something else and something I could write an entire essay on. I probably will never see department stores like Harrods and Selfridges again. It also didn’t help that I was there during London Fashion Week. I am proud to say I did not buy one thing when I was there. Not one thing. I think that’s enough of a reason to celebrate right there.

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I’m falling in love with Europe more and more every day and now have been here over a month. Where is the time going?

Tomorrow I am going to Cesky Kremlov, a UNESCO world heritage site, Saturday the entire family arrives in Prague, the Lipsons are here Tuesday and we are off to Vienna on Wednesday. There are not enough hours in my day right now, but I’m enjoying every minute of it.

Lastly, if you would like to be added to my iCloud photo stream…let me know your Apple ID (iPhones only)! Follow this link to see all of my pictures thus far, I post new ones almost daily: Mark in Europe.

Sending all my love from across the pond

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