Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Beer Factory, Prague

The Beer Factory, Prague
If you are in Prague and enjoy beer you are in for a special treat when you visit The Beer Factory.  Located in the center of Prague in Wenceclav Square across from the Charles IV statue, The Beer Factory is a very fun bar/restaurant offering awesome food, music and of course tons of beer.  Each table includes 4 beer taps and a beer monitor which tabulates how much beer you've consumed.  Whenever you fill up your glass a tally is added to your tables total, which is then projected on of the the many screens on the wall of the bar.  Soon, the night turns into a huge competition against the other tables.
We have visited The Beer Factory several times so far and have enjoyed it thoroughly!  Any night of the week it is filled with young people from all over the world and is a guaranteed awesome time.



The Beer Factory
Vaclavske Namesti 58
Praha 1

41 Hours in Budapest

video


Music. Material Things by Jake Troth
Additional Photos courtesy of Alison Altomari

Monday, July 27, 2009

Berlin

This weekend I went to Berlin, Germany with a group from our program.  The trip was an amazing time.  Berlin has become one my favorite new cities.  It is so modern and hip in many ways from architecture, shopping, and nightlife.  It is neat to see how the city that was demolished during World War II has built itself up again in such little time and has become a beautiful, clean, modern city.
We took a 5 hour train ride from Prague to Berlin.  It was incredibly easy and I recommend it to anyone.  When we first got there we went on a walking tour and stopped at different sites including Alexanderplatz, a large public filled with tons of stores, restaurants, and people.  Next we visited the Fernesehturm (German for television tower) which was constructed in the 1960's by the German Democratic Republic making it a symbol of Berlin.  The tower is easily visible throughout the center of Berlin.  There is a platform on top that is open everyday until late at night for visitors to have an awesome view of the city.  Other stops on the tour was the Holocaust memorial, The Berlin Wall, and many others.  
The following day we went on a boat tour down the Spree River.  The river runs through the center of Berlin.  This was a relaxing way to get to know the city better while cruising on a boat instead of walking for 2 hours.  There are several boat tours along the river and are easy to find and fairy inexpensive.
I suggest anyone who has the opportunity to visit Berlin, to definitely do so.  Although 2 nights was all we went for, we were able to see and learn so much about this awesome city.

View of Berlin from boat tour
Holocaust Memorial in Berlin
Group in front of Brandenburg Gate
Alexanderplatz
Remains of The Berlin Wall


Friday, July 24, 2009

Galerie Fotografie Louvre



One of the best parts about taking classes in Prague, is the field trips that we take. In the last two days, we have been to three great galleries. The first one we visited was Galerie Fotografie Louvre. Set up as both a cafe and a gallery, the space features different photographers work. Currently showing is work by Emila Medková.


Cafe at the entrance of the space


Floor detail from the gallery

Galerie Fotografie Louvre
Národní 22
Praha 1
110 00
email: galerie@galerielouvre.cz
tel: +420 724 054 055

Open from 1pm to 6pm
General Admission 50- Kč
If you have a student ID it is 30 - Kč


[You also get a free coffee with admission]

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Drexel in Prague makes it on to Candid Campus



Log into DrexelOne today for a Prague group photo.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Černínský Palác

Černínský Palác
Černínský Palác, or Cernin Palace is the current home to Prague's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We were given a private tour which was a great opportunity since the building is not open to the public. Even if you cannot go inside, the building it definitely worth seeing, as it is Prague's largest baroque palace - the facade stretches 130m. Built in the 17th and 18th centuries for Count Černín's family, it remained a private residence for only a short while due to the family's financial instability. It was then occupied by French and Bavarian armies during the Austrian Succession war, and used as the SS headquarters from 1939 to 1945.
After the war, foreign minister Jan Masaryk lived in a flat on the top floor of the palace. On March 10, 1948 he was found dead in the courtyard below his window, and it is believed that he was defenestrated - but his murder has not been proven.

The bathroom window from which Jan Masaryk was defenestrated.

Every hour, a series of bells can be heard ringing to mark the time from the nearby bell tower.
The palace has gorgeous gardens, which we were also taken to see, a perfectly manicured lawn and two pools take up the space between the palace and the summer house.

The palace gardens and summer house.
View of the palace from the gardens

More Photos

Visit the Palace:
Not open to the public.
Map

Terezín

Today's rainy, miserable weather was quite appropriate for our day trip to Terezin Concentration Camp.  Terezin was a town built in the 1780s.  At the time the city was used as a fortress to protect Prague from northern invaders.  Ironically, during World War II this town became a ghetto and concentration camp where Hitler sent thousands of people.  The Nazis told the world that this town was built for the Jews and would protect them from the war.  Terezin was the only "show camp" in all of Europe. In order to cover up the concentration camp to the Red Cross, the Nazis spruced it up to look like a great place to be. 
On June 14, 1940 adults and children including notable leaders, writers, actors and other members of the elite began being sent to this town being told they were going to a spa town.  
Of the nearly 140,000 men, woman, and children who passed through Terezin, 34,000 died.  
Although today was quite depressing, it was a valuable experience to see a concentration camp in person.  It allowed me to really have a better understanding and a clearer picture in my head of what the Holocaust was really about.

Terezin is located about 1 hour outside of Prague.  If you are ever in Prague and want to take a day trip, I strongly suggest you visit this incredible memorial.

Terezin - The National Cemetary

Terezin - Small Fortress

Terezin - Small Fortress

Visiting hours: 
Open daily, all year around
November 1 - March 31: 8am-4:30pm
April 1 - October 31: 8am-6pm

Terezin Memorial, Principova alej 304
CZ-411 55 Terezin

More information at: www.pamatnik-terezin.cz

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Valdštejnská Zahrada

Wallenstein Garden, Prague

Valdštejnská Zahrada, or the Wallenstein Palace Garden is the largest palace garden in Prague's Little Quarter. The garden was commissioned during the Thirty Years' War by Albrecht z Valdštejna. Renovated in the 1990's the garden features a large pond with a statue of Hercules in the center. The Palace was only briefly occupied by Valdštejna, and is now the seat of the Czech Senate. Peacocks roam the lawns, and statues built by Danish artist Adrian de Vries inspired by Greek mythology line the pathways. (The original statues were stolen by invading Swedish armies in 1648, and the replicas which stand there today were cast in the early 1900's.)
My favorite part of the garden, and definitely the most unique feature of the garden is wall of stalagmite-esque stucco drippings comprised of caves and holes. Hidden in the wall are also faces, and small carvings such as a frog and a snake. Built into the wall is a large aviary which is home to eagle owls, the larges bird in Europe. Our guide told us that the garden was in a Mannerist style, juxtaposing the natural with the un-natural.
To visit the garden:

The garden is free from April - October daily from 10am - 6pm. It is closed from November - March.
The garden can be easily accessed by taking the Malostranská stop on Metro line A.

Walking Tour of Prague

On our first afternoon here in beautiful Prague, we were lucky enough to go on a 2 hour walking tour with an absolutely wonderful tour guide, Milos.  We enjoyed Milos so much in that he did not take us to see the popular, touristy areas of Prague.  Instead, he allowed us to see some of the beauty of Prague that tourists usually don't get a chance to witness.
We began our walk in a park that was only minutes away from our dorm.  The park was filled with towering trees and perfectly cut grass.  Even though it was so close to the city, it felt as though we were in the quiet suburbs.
Continuing out of the park we walked into a charming little neighborhood known as the "New World".  The neighborhood was built in the mid 14th century and is made up of small, narrow streets lined with small colorful homes.  Years ago, castle workers lived in this neighborhood in order for them to be close to the castle.  Today, the area is quite expensive to live in and inhabited mostly by wealthy Czechs including famous writers and artists.  A bit further down from this neighborhood we were excited to see and take pictures of The Lennon Tribute Wall.
As we walked around we ended up outside of the Prague castle where there was the most breath-taking view of Prague.  This is what I had been waiting for!  The city did not suffer from much damage during World War II.  The buildings are mostly all in great condition.  Architecture in the city includes styles of Art-nouveau, Gothic, Baroque, as well as more modern structures.
Our tour continued down hilly streets from the castle to old town square where we finally ended up in one of my new favorite places, Valdstejn garden.  The garden is beautiful and includes many little paths, statues, and fountains that surround a large stunning pond.  It looked as though it was out of a movie.

I am so excited to be here and can't wait to share more soon.

Here are some pictures from the tour!



New World Neighborhood

View of Prague from the Castle Square
The Lennon Wall

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A little about the program...

Drexel's summer in Prague program is partnered with The University of New Orleans, or UNO. This means, that not only are students from Drexel taking part in the classes, but students from New Orleans as well as many other schools attend the program as well. Prior to leaving Philadelphia, all Drexel students take part in a special topics in languages course - an introduction to Czech language and culture. This course lasts three weeks, beginning the week before summer term starts. After arriving in Prague, we take two additional courses - these courses meet four days a week for four weeks and are offered in a variety of subjects such as art and architecture, photography, writing, literature, documentary film, Czech music etc. These classes are mixed groups of Drexel and UNO students, as well as a handful of students from other schools across the country.
While in Prague, we stay in the dormitories of Czech Tech, a technical college in Prague, started in 1707. Our classes are held at Charles University, which founded in 1348 it is the secold oldest university in Europe, and is located in the historical center of the city.


Charles University - photo courtesy of Prague.net

Ahoj from Praha!

As the first post for the D&M blog, we wanted to first introduce ourselves to you.
We are Christina Sioutis and Jesse Ligo, both going into our senior years at Drexel, both majoring in D&M. We are participating in the Drexel in Prague summer 2009 program. We arrived in Prague on Saturday, July 11 and will be in classes here until August 8. We will also have the opportunity to travel during some of the weekends, as well as stay and travel for a few weeks after our classes end.
We are so excited to be here, and so excited to share our experiences with you!