We began our day with history, religion and politics. What an interesting morning! Our guide, Vida, led the six of us through Prague's Jewish Museum, which is made up of five synagogues and a cemetery where remains are buried twelve layers deep. So deep and thick that you can see headstones embedded in tree trunks that have grown around them.
Having a private guide, we skipped lines, got around crowds quickly, and received an up-close and personal account of Jewish life in Prague throughout many different periods of history. We learned how Vida's father survived the holocaust by escaping the death camp, yet how his name is one of the first listed of those extinguished (and the special story behind this error).
We saw the drawings some of the children created while living in Terezin, the "first stop" concentration camp; and how the camp and prisoners were misrepresented to the Red Cross when this organization paid a visit. The Nazi's picked the newest and therefore most naive of what was to come, fooling the Red Cross into believing that the horrendous circumstances did not exist. It is also amazing that the many synagogues are still standing after Nazi occupation. The reason: Hitler envisioned this favorite City of Prague as a wonderful Nazi city with the synagogues converted for his and his Generals personal use.
As we passed the many large tour groups, I grew more and more satisfied in our decision to use a private guide. Vida was able to delve into detail, share her personal family history, and answer all of our many questions; and we never had to strain to hear her or wait for stragglers in a large group to catch up. It was such a valuable experience!
Completely switching gears, we took a Segway tour through Kampa Park in the late afternoon. Fun on wheels, and beautiful sights! Until it poured rain. Even though we ended up soaked to the bones, we came back smiling! We will be laughing about the unexpected downpour over and over again.
Tomorrow: the Castle District, St. Charles Bridge and Kutna Hora.