There is a palpable sense of urgency within the group as the end of our trip looms near. How do we fit in everything we want to do? How do we make sure that we got the most out of our Prague experience? Fortunately, some of our best excursions were saved for last.
First up: pedal boating. Friends became enemies as rival boats challenged one another for command of the high seas. Besieged boats led swift counter-offensives. Our weapon of choice? A locked-and-loaded water gun. When the Thirty-Seconds-War* finally ended, our focus shifted to more relaxing endeavors--like short speed races, Instagram selfies, and simply basking in the sun.
After pedal boating, we had some free time to get showered and changed for a night at the philharmonic! A photo of the famous Czech composer, Bedřich Smetana, adorns the main stage. Interestingly, the word smetana also means sour cream in Czech.
The concert itself was lovely. A chamber group of talented musicians performed 17 pieces by Mozart, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, and Dvořak. While the chamber group played, opera singers and ballet dancers from the National Theater accompanied the musicians--all while in full costume! It was a beautiful amalgamation of so many forms of art.
In addition to organized excursions, students also have free time in which to explore the city in small groups. One favorite is to see the Charles Bridge at sunrise. The trek requires a 4am wake-up, but the experience is well worth the effort.
We have just 48 hours before our flight to the states. Pretty soon, our old lives will resume, and this experience will feel something like a magnificent dream. But for now, it's real. We can still feel the buildings with our bare hands, taste the smetana drizzled on our potato pancakes, and smell traces of cigarette smoke as we walk through the streets of Old Town. We're soaking in every last moment while we still can.