The End of Prague Life: The Last Supper
Written by Aliza Bran (Washington University)
Central European Studies in Prague, Student Correspondent, Spring ’12
One thing that I have learned about traveling: weather determines everything. Wherever you are, no matter how magical and exciting, rain and freezing cold temperature can kill or deter a trip. On my February trips I adored Copenhagen and Amsterdam’s frozen canals and colorful buildings when I visited, but there was this nagging feeling that my toes were going to fall off if I didn’t get inside immediately. In Prague for the first two months it was similar. It was beautiful and majestic, but the cold slid through my layers and iced my bones. I made plans for all of the places that I wanted to see and explore later on: things I had been hoping to do, but didn’t want to trek out in the tundra surrounding me to attend to quite yet. But when the sun and heat came out, it was a whole different story. The last month had temperatures ranging from “light jacket” warm to “hello summer!” hot. My wishes had been answered. It was time to truly explore.
From across the river, you can see Letna Park in all her hilly and tree-filled glory. If it were a lady, you would say that her green locks were voluminous, wild, and bold. Letna is filled with a whole parks-worth of people in the summer, especially on a Friday or weekend. We trammed over one Friday to investigate what a beer garden was and found that there was a little beer-selling hut in the midst of an enormous green. There were children on the playground equipment, dogs of all sizes walking and running alongside their owners, and people lying around lazily in the grass. We sat, a group of twenty of us, basically living out of a college catalogue. To our right our boys (and some film boys, because let’s face it we don’t have enough CES/JS boys to field a legitimate team for sports) played football, and to our left people kicked around a soccer ball. We sat under the shade of a tree, talking and enjoying the light breeze and the soon-to-be tan that would creep through our sunscreen.
Several nights later, we had an interesting turn of events that led us to what we thought might be a Kanye West concert but ended up being an awesome Kanye West music video shoot. Though several people had seen bits of the filming in the past couple of days, it was a first for me. Esther and I befriended an extra named Lukas who, like the other extras, was dressed in full police getup. From the explosions and police outfits, it looked like they were filming something about a revolution or protest. Kanye, as we’ve learned, enjoys filming in Prague. If you look at his Diamonds from Sierra Leone music video, there are even shots of him rapping on the Charles Bridge, though I’m not entirely sure how Prague and diamonds from Sierra Leone are connected. Regardless, it was a much-needed night out in the middle of studying for finals. Leave it to Prague to keep it interesting. To my knowledge, most rappers don’t make music videos near my college in St Louis (Wash U), so it was pretty exciting.
Also, in typical Formal Chair fashion, Alli Marino (another CET correspondent if you want to check out her blog!!) decided we were going to have end of the semester festivities. It was going to be a “take out the sundresses” boat cruise where we would present voted-for superlatives to each CES/JS kiddo. It was a fun couple of hours where, of course, Austin Powers was quoted, Malory and Steph took selfies, the guys showed up looking fratty (seriously I’m disappointed these guys didn’t pull out those goofy poofy shirts they bought in Istanbul), and Alli commanded the room with her award-winning award speeches. And the superlatives were as expected: Esther being the over-excited tourist, Cara being most cuddly, and best two peas in a pod: Steve and Jeremeho, etc. It’s fantastic how we’ve gotten to know each other so well in the last semester. I’m going to miss these kiddos!
And lastly, we had the last supper that CET would ever buy for us. It was a sad moment for several reasons. First, it was my and several other peoples’ second to last night in Prague. Luckily that meant that our finals were over and done with (for better or worse—though hopefully for better!), but it also meant that soon we’d be flying back to the US or somewhere else. And secondly, it’s always a fun event when CET buys our dinners. Those are some serious three-course meals. Soup, main dish, and then dessert. And like all other times, they did not disappoint. I ordered the most Czech sounding dish, though I have to say I didn’t expect the meat platter to be quite as large as it was. Rather than putting it on a normal sized plate, it was on a platter bed, housing at least four or five different types of meats and two types of Czech dumplings. For a final meal, I would have wanted nothing different than what one of the Czech buddies, Eva, always called “typical Czech.” We did the final dinner speeches and small presents to our lovable, fearless leaders. Shoutout to Jiri for putting together everything on the Central European Studies program and trips! Thanks!
And to all of you blog readers, thanks for sharing in my adventures! My recommendation: go to Prague (ideally in the Spring when it’s beautifully warm, just before the tourists come and graffiti all over the artwork on the Lennon Wall) and have your own adventures. It’s worth the trip!