October 5, 2018
Prague, Czech Republic—Week 3 Fr. James Donohue, C.R.
We just finished our third week of classes, so we are in full swing now as far as our studies go. Some students did contract some kind of 24-hour flu bug this week, but I think everyone is healthy again. I hosted 12 students for a pasta dinner last Sunday. We had salad, rigatoni and sauce, rolls, and, of course, ice cream for desert! Everyone had a good time and the students told me that they appreciated a home cooked meal. This Sunday, I have another group of 12 students over for dinner. Salad, pizza, and, of course, ice cream are on the menu.
I went to a Jazz Club one night last week. Prague is very famous for its Jazz. In fact, when President Bill Clinton visited Prague, he played his saxophone in several Jazz Clubs one night.
This photo of is of the Jazz Club Reduta, which is across the street from where I live. It has been open since 1958 and has featured some luminaries as Ray Charles and President Clinton.
Most of the Jazz Clubs are small and are located beneath street level in what looks like a cave. Many of them are free of charge, but they make money on the sale of beverages.
The night I went, I listened to the Hot Sisters Swing Band. They were absolutely incredible and I would gladly listen to them again. I was planning to go on Thursday night to hear the Rene Trossman Blues Quartet, but it did not start until 9:30 and I was too tired!
During our Czech History class, we toured the baroque library hall and the astronomical tower of the Klementinum University. This university was established by the Jesuits, who were tasked with the re-Catholization of the Czech lands after the Hussite Protestants were defeated at the Battle of White Mountain in 1620. The buildings contain a Baroque Library, which is the home of the Czech National Library, with 20,000 books from the early 17th century onwards, as well as historically important globes. Decorated with magnificent ceiling frescoes, the room remains unaltered since the 18th century.
We also ascended the 172 steps that lead to the top of the tower for a 360° view over Prague. A lift operates only part of the way, and the steps are steep, so they are not for visitors with walking difficulties! The second floor of the tower houses Meridian Hall. Light streaming into the hall from the window determined high noon. At this moment, attendants would wave a large flag out the window facing toward the Prague Castle. This notification would trigger a cannon blast which was fires over the city to alert the city residents that it was noon.
I found a link that will allow you to have a 360° view over Prague.