Prague, Dresden & a Heavy Dose of Perspective

Dobry Den! (Hello in Czech)

Last weekend we got to take a class trip to Prague and got to also take a day trip to Dresden, Germany! We started out the trip while still in Olomouc and watched the movie “Anthropoid” as a class and I HGHLY consider watching it if you like WWII and history! The movie is about the Nazi occupation of what was then, Czechoslovakia, and the men who planned and assassinated Reinhard Heydrich. They hid out in the crypt of a church in Prague that is now turned into a museum. One of the men was also hid by our Professor's family and hearing his personal story brought even more meaning to us getting to be in the crypt. The bullet holes are still on the outside of the window and there is still a hole in the side of the crypt where they tried to dig out. The church itself has been redone and refurbished and is still used for services today so we didn't get to go inside but I stole a picture through the glass. We got to walk to the old part of town, too, and see the narrow streets and where the old town and the new town were divided that dates back to Medieval times.

We stayed in a hostel close to the town square and were minutes from great food, vendors that have my new favorite food: Trdelínk (I ate one too many...). My new favorite Café, Café Louvre, where hot chocolate is actually melted chocolate in a cup with a side of whipped cream - no wonder they laughed when a few of us asked for a large! They had the most adorable and homemade pastries and the building it's located in is really historic...

Friday brought the "death march" from our hostel, across Charles Bridge, by the John Lennon Wall and up to the Prague Castle. This Castle & Cathedral also date back to Medieval days and where the famous picture of Hitler overlooking Prague out a window was taken. This day started out so beautiful and we had to dip into a café, darn it 😉, because of the rain and then our group got separated so we had to send out informants to locate them all... (I am so thankful God and my dad gave me great sense of direction 😂). The walk was long and all uphill, but so picturesque, even with the rain. The bridge would be a sight at night especially with the castle and cathedral off in the distance. I wish I could keep track of all the information we learn in my head on these treks... The John Lennon Wall is still added to daily, I didn't add to it, but there is so much to see in so little time just on this one wall. If you didn't know, it was used as propaganda against communism where the soldiers in Prague would paint over it and paint over it and the people kept coming back because it's in the poorer part of Prague on an island surrounded by Embassies from all over the world, so it's rather protected and they couldn't technically get caught - it was one of the only ways to speak out against the regime. Since then it's been used to speak out against many controversial topics throughout the world, especially wars. (Remember, also, that communism didn't end here until 1989....).

After the rain subsided we continued our march and when we finally got to the top where the castle is that overlooks Prague and WOW! So much to see. We got to tour the Cathedral, I should say that none of these churches are heated so Pastor Eric would love them, and even though they're very large and open and all have the same Gothic architecture, they all have their own touches and differences, which I appreciate. We got to go into two other churches, one in Prague and one in Dresden, that had Baroque and Romantic architecture which is must softer and was nice to see a change and compare the differences. We got to go into parts of the castle, the great hall and walk down a small lane to get back down the hill. This little "village" looked almost like something out of a storybook fairytale topped off with the small buildings and tiny doors. We got to eat even more great food and walked around one of the markets that was decorated for Easter and I got to try hot wine, new favorite, by the way. Way better than it sounds!

the US Embassy (it said no photos lol)

Saturday brought our day trip to Dresden, Germany. Most of Dresden was flattened in WWII and is still being rebuilt because during the communist regime they only built buildings that the communists could use. As they've been rebuilding, they have tried to keep the "old look" even though much of it looks very modern. The Frauenkirche Church had all but a wall destroyed during WWII and was completely refurbished, even with old stones, in the early 2000s. The stones laid in piles of rubble around where the church used to be in hopes that one day it would get restored. (The dark stones are the old stones, they light stones are the new ones). The inside looks exactly how it would have looked before the war. We didn't have much time in Dresden but we got to go through some museums and walk around the town a bit.

the church rebuilt

where we had lunch

inside the church

Sunday back in Prague we got to go to the ONLY Jewish Ghetto that is left standing in Europe and tour two Synagogues and walk through a Jewish cemetery. The first Synagogue had all the names of the Jews, that are known, who were killed in WWII in Czechoslovakia. Orange is the town, red is the family name, black is their first name, when they were born and when they were killed. It was very powerful... Upstairs had a section of drawings from children that were found in two suitcases from the Terezín concentration camp. The "teacher" would find any paper, any kind of drawing or painting utensil, etc., to keep the children drawing and take their minds off of what was happening around them or document what they see and what they remember. I don't really have words for it as it brings tears to my eyes, so I'll let the photos do the talking....

Jewish cemeteries are centuries old and are more mounds than actual plots because they believe that when someone dies, they are to be buried by the end of that day. You can see that the cemetery is higher than the ground that we were walking on and the headstones are random as they are expensive so they were only for those who are wealthy. The ones on the side of the wall are some of the oldest headstones so they were put in the wall to be better preserved. We then got to go inside the oldest Synagogue in Europe - it wasn't destroyed because the Nazi's wanted to preserve it as a museum as to why the Jews were a disgrace.. It was an eye opening experience to walk around the Jewish Ghetto.

The names of the town where we are staying.

The "teacher" who had all the kids draw and make art.


Many, many complications, problems, mishaps, whatever you want to call it, happened on this trip. We left saying, "Prague hates us...", I guess I can't speak for everyone, but some of us did. This trip started out with a few girls getting off on the wrong train stop and only one of them didn't make it back on the train and she was stranded.... We found her, don't worry. The second night we were there, one of the girls went to the McDonald's right around the corner from our hostel to get better wifi in order to speak to someone about her internship this summer. Keep in mind that this McDonald's is one of the nicest McD's I've ever seen... As she was sitting at her computer two homeless men came up to her and tried to take her stuff and were more or less harassing her. She said everyone around her started laughing at her except for one couple who helped her out of there and two other girls from our trip met her there to get her out. The same night at about the same time, two guys within our hostel came up to two other girls and to our room where 10 or more of us were sitting and asked us if we were American, if we wanted to drink with them and asked the other two if they wanted to go in their room and do drugs. Friday we learned how sly Europeans can be when trying to steal your purse or anything in your purse within seconds if you leave it unzipped as one girl got her wallet stolen... When we left Dresden there was a protest of many people approaching us in the square and we had no idea what was going on... Turns out it was a Neo-Nazi demonstration and they were chanting/signing, if you could even call it that, the German anthem with the Nazi words. They were protesting immigration which I understand as Germany had open borders and let in over one million refugees, BUT I don't understand how you can protest it with that kind of evil. How that ideology is STILL believed in today is beyond me and is only the work of the Devil. I didn't take a picture because I didn't want to give them the satisfaction.... It was so easy to be mad at all the situations that took place, to say that we hated Prague, the weather, everything that happened, we weren't safe and we were targeted because we stand out as Americans - all of which is true.

Saturday morning I woke up to do my Bible Study and this was the verse:
             "One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, 'Don't be afraid! Speak out! Don't be silent!' For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me." Acts of the Apostles 18:9-10

Is God not amazing? Being in thee most atheistic country in the world, it's easy to feel attacked, physically and/or mentally - all the time. It's easy to feel in danger or that no one wants to be here and blame everything on the weather... I was also complaining to my mom about how I hated all of my pictures because of how dreary the weather has been and I didn't want to post any of them, but God reminded me yet again, NOT by sight, by FAITH. We are all safe, in no way are we in danger. God will protect us. We are all here for a reason even if we don't know what that reason is. Being American in a foreign country sometimes makes me want to throw an invisibility cloak over my head and hide but then again, why? Why should we hide? The things that happened to us here could happen anywhere - it happens in the US all the time, we just aren't as aware of our surroundings at home as we are here. Europe is teaching us many lessons but I assure each and everyone of you, Europe is beautiful and God is with us and we look out for one another and keep each other safe.

"The space between your two feet at any given time is your mission field." - Jill Briscoe - and oh how God is teaching me that right where I am is right where I'm supposed to let Jesus shine through me and be the hands and feet of Him - prayers for strength, wisdom and boldness are much appreciated.

For Easter six of us are headed to the warm, and hopefully sunny, Barcelona 😍 I can't wait to share more pictures and talk about other battles I've been fighting within myself and with the enemy.

xoxo BAMS


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