Prague Prince

Vera Iwankiw
December 5, 2013

My last traveling while in Europe (I dislike that statement immensely), was to Prague this past weekend and will be to Paris this next weekend. I can’t believe these are my last trips; the next time I will be on a plane I will be going back to Chicago. Weird.


Prague was one of my favorite trips though, and I’m so glad I found the time and money to go. I felt like I understood the city and people there almost immediately. The history, language, and culture of the Czech Republic is pretty similar to Ukraine, so maybe that’s why I felt so connected to it. We arrived really early Friday morning, got a few hours of sleep and then met our tour group from Weekend Student Adventures. We went to the Astronomical Clock (which has been going for about 600 years now!), toured the Jewish Quarter, and went through the Museum of Communism. I hadn’t realized that during WWII, the city was surrendered to the Germans and the only reason the Jewish Quarter wasn’t destroyed is because the Nazis planned to make it the “Museum of the Extinct People”. Disgusting, but it might explain why the city has so much history and character.

On Saturday, we crossed the Charles Bridge, tagged the Lennon Wall, and made our way up to the Prague Castle. The Bridge was built way back in the 1300’s and has survived since then. The Lennon Wall is a symbol of peace and rebellion during the time of the communist occupation of Prague. We all actually had the opportunity to spray paint on the wall, which was an awesome experience! I kinda feel like I am a small part of history now.

student standing in front of graffitied wall along cobblestone street

My favorite thing was probably touring the Prague Castle, mostly because we had a private exclusive tour with Prince William Lobkowicz! I can finally cross meet a royal off of my bucket list! Not only did we meet him, but we had real conversations over tea after the tour with him. He may not be royalty in the traditional sense, because his family had to flee their country when the communists invaded, but they have recently reclaimed a lot of their former property. The castle itself had some cool artifacts; my favorites were original compositions by both Mozart and Beethoven. It didn’t hurt that the Prince was about our age, about to attend Harvard, and ridiculously good looking. A girl can always dream, right?

The exchange rate was actually in my favor this trip. The food was phenomenal and incredibly rich. I could sort of understand and read the language. History felt like it was all around me. All reasons Prague was awesome. Go if you have the chance (shout out to WSA- they were also a great company to travel with)! I hope Paris can top that!


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Vera Iwankiw

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I was born and raised in Chicago, where I grew up learning about my Ukrainian culture and language. I currently attend the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and am studying Human Development with a concentration in Child and Adolescent Development. I play on the university&rsquo;s club water polo team and synchronized swimming team and am active in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. I have traveled internationally to Ukraine, Canada, and Mexico for vacation and Cape Town, South Africa for a service learning trip. In the future, I hope to continue my studies in law school, with the hope of one day practicing as a family law or child advocate lawyer.</span></p>

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