I've Got a Feeling We're Not in Amsterdam Anymore.

Emily Xouris
March 16, 2015
View from Astronomical Clock in Prague

This last weekend, I took a break from daily biking, canal seeing, and studying for a three day trip to Prague. While the ten hour bus ride was a little too much for me, the time in the city was absolutely amazing. I should not complain, though, because a ten hour bus ride across Germany beats a ten hour bus ride across the desolate midwest. We arrived at Prague on Friday morning where we were welcomed with chilly air and cloudy skies. However, I think these conditions really added to the ambiance of Prague. The city is a curious place because it has so many mixed cultures and people from its complicated past. In fact, it has only been free of communist power since 1990. This made the city feel more eastern than I had originally believed. We made our way through the rough cobble stoned sidewalks where we came upon the astronomical clock. This was an incredible sight, originally constructed in the 1400s. It features different hands for the time of day, a hand with a moon on the end showing it's cycle, with zodiac symbols dotting the rim of the clock. The astronomical clock was, possibly, my favorite part of Prague. It is symbolic because of Prague's mysterious atmosphere that makes you feel like you are in between times and universes. Or, at least, that is what our tour guide explained to the group. Even so, I thought the explanation of the clock was beautiful and accurate when explaining the city's atmosphere. Saturday, we hiked up to the Prague Castle. It was not, exactly, a hike but it sure felt like it after a full day of walking. The castle is across the river from the Old Town which you can see, elaborately lit up, every night. Apparently, the lighting was organized by McJagger after the communist regime fell. Who new? I am still a bit doubtful, though. We gradually climbed up the many stairs which led to the village surrounding the giant castle. It has been built and rebuilt time after time throughout its years under many different powers. This has made it very diverse in its architecture. Saturday night, a few of us were lucky enough to see The Barber of Seville by Rossini at the opera house. This was really amazing for me because I have played parts of the opera back at home in my community symphonies. I sat in a box under an incredible ceiling that looked straight out of a movie. The singers were absolutely incredible and the experience, as a whole, was unbelievable. How many twenty one year olds can say they have seen an opera in Prague? As a music buff, this was a once in a lifetime experience that I am so, immensely, grateful for. We made our way back to Amsterdam Sunday night and arrived early in the morning the next day. The ride back was pretty surreal because we were the only ones on the bike roads while the canals shimmered under the city lights. Leaving Amsterdam for a weekend was a wonderful break. Not because I am tired of the city, by any means, but because it makes you appreciate coming back to your host city where it really feels like home. I would suggest leaving on weekends to explore new cities because it makes you realize how much you have grown to love your place of study.

Emily Xouris

<p>Although I am a Kansas native, I can honestly say I have never witnessed a tornado, tended to the farm, or religiously watched The Wizard of Oz. I am a studious college student who enjoys going into the city and testing new ethnic restaurants or going to a symphony performance on the weekends. This explains why my phone primarily consists of photos of food porn and Kansas City architecture. I study international relations and Spanish, both of which offer me a different perspective to the world beyond the Midwest. I often find myself distracted walking to and from class because I hoard pinecones and insist on showing my friends the ones I come across.&nbsp;</p>

Home university:
William Jewell College
Major:
International Relations
Spanish
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