Written by Lily Duquette, (Macalester College), Student Correspondent for CET Prague, Fall 2021
Within the CET Prague program, each student is expected to choose a core course. Several of us who decided to take the Political and Cultural History of East-Central Europe course met up with our professor one Wednesday afternoon in hopes of eating at a restaurant he had recommended. Unfortunately, it was closed but we wandered Petřín Park instead and eventually stumbled onto a concert in the Great Strahov Stadium. At one of the overlooks, our professor offered to take this photo for us with the beautiful landscape in the background.
CET often sponsors extracurricular activities that anyone is welcome to sign up for. During a recent weekend, they offered to take a group of us up to explore Prague Castle. We had quite a bit of time to walk around the area, which was helpful because there was so much to cover, including the castle, the St. Vitus cathedral, the main tower, and the royal gardens. My favorite part of the tour was the inside of the St. Vitus cathedral because of its particularly stunning stained glass windows.
Occasionally, on our way back from classes, a few friends and I stop at a farmers market two blocks away from our apartment. They have all kinds of typical fruits and vegetables, as well as regular jams, flowers, and honey, but with a few new additions. One of the most notable additions was burčák—a famous kind of half-fermented wine available only for a couple of weeks in the fall.
Another CET-sponsored event was the chance to try traditional Czech food! We went to two places in total: U Pinkasů and U Dvou koček. Pictured are several CET students at the first restaurant we stopped at. I think the overall favorites of the group were the fried bread and the steak tartar, although I’m partial to the fried bread!
As a required excursion, the students taking the Political and Cultural History of East-Central Europe course, went to the Czech town of Lidice. In WW2, the town was destroyed by the Nazis as revenge for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, Hitler’s third in command, by the Czech underground army. While a new town a short distance away was eventually built by the survivors, the old location of the town now serves as a memorial for those who died there. These roses were part of a lovely garden that bordered the old town.
On another one of the optional trips, we were able to tour Karlštejn Castle, which is in the town of Karlštejn. It was built during the reign of Charles IV in 1348 and continues to be a beautiful place to visit. In the photo, you can see part of the walls that used to surround the entire castle, as well as the woods behind them.
After checking out the castle, we went on a two-hour hike through the forests surrounding Karlštejn. Eventually, we found ourselves on the edge of another town, Mořina, where we caught a bus back to Prague. The scenery was absolutely stunning and it was a nice break from the busyness of the big city.
In the town of Mořina, there were many small-town quirks but this black cat sitting on the window sill quickly caught my group’s attention. As we were passing by, he slowly opened his eyes to look at us, although he was mostly unconcerned.
Each of our classes often take field trips out and about the city—including one of my classes, Czech Art and Architecture. For this trip, we toured Prague Castle for a second time and learned all about the different artistic and historical elements present. When the class finished, several of us went to look around the gardens and found this beautiful view of Prague. I asked them to pose for a picture, which they are fairly used to by now because I ask so often… anything for the blog!
During the first weekend of October, two friends and I caught a quick flight to Como, Italy for a couple of days. One of my favorite parts about the CET program is the centralized location that allows for trips like this! We had a wonderful time there and visited a few of the smaller towns across the lake.
On this same trip to Italy, we took a ferry ride to see more of Lake Como and the mountains in the area. Pictured are my two friends and I during the first part of the ride. As we went on, it eventually got too cold, so we escaped to the inside seating. Unfortunately for me, I hadn’t remembered to bring a jacket with!