• Karma is a Boomerang!

    Prague, Czech Republic…My sister told me a story that I never heard before. It was the story of a good deed someone had done for me…

    In 2003 I became very ill; I was hospitalized for 3 weeks and near death and I desperately needed amazing healthcare and a miracle! Obviously I got both!

    At the time, her friend visited The Church of our Lady of Victory in Prague and arranged a mass in my name. It is believed the church houses an icon with the power to perform miracles, the icon is of the infant Jesus…the statue is dressed in a changing wardrobe of ornate vestments and religious pilgrims come the world over to pray to it for miracles. Even Pope John Paul II kneeled at the statue’s feet during his visit to Prague.

    I am not overly religious, but believe in karma. Someone does good to you, you repay that goodness if you can. In this instance I can! This isn’t a religious quest for me, it’s a pilgrimage of good karma.

    I didn’t think I was going to find the church, I went to two other churches by mistake before finding the correct one. I am great at directions, so was my getting lost TWICE some kind of sign? I did not waiver, I was more determined than ever to find it! Sore from walking, I finally came upon the simple facade of the church!

    As I walked through the church I saw the statue and stopped. I proceeded to tour the church…as I walked, suddenly from nowhere a priest called out to me! I did a double take! Me? He stopped dead in his track mid-conversation to talk to me…
    “where are you from, my son?” I responded and he said he too was there last year while visiting New Jersey. He proceeded to place his hand on my shoulder and said “welcome” and walked away. The crowd was stunned and looked at me like some kind of ghost! A few chuckled nervously…

    A bit overwhelmed by that, I found the English version of the prayer to the Infant Jesus of Prague Shrine and knelt to pray, wishing success for that good samaritan that prayed for me.

    Karma is an important force, I know this for sure…it works beyond religious beliefs…I may refer to it flippantly but it’s a principle I adhere to!






  • Party Boat!

    Prague, Czech Republic…last night was fun! I heard about a once a month party that was supposedly great and it happened to be last night…pays to talk to locals!

    This time the party was aboard a barge/river boat on the Vltava River that winds thru Prague; it promised a DJ and fun under the stars…I thought this would be a cool way to see Prague from a different vantage point and get a feel for how the Czech party!

    I loved the view, but didn’t realize it was going to get so chilly…I have spent over a month over-dressed and now I was suddenly under-dressed! The boat traveled up the river and we passed some other boats, waving and shouting at one another. Once the crowd had sufficiently drank enough beer, they were ready to party! I was happy just watching the sun give way to a still full moon and traverse from viewing castles to seeing nothingness! But the music was starting to blare and party was getting going…

    The DJ promised a 70’s lineup accompanied by a live saxophone player…well, the DJ looked like he was probably born after 1990, so that explained why he really played early 80’s hits; it was before he was born so he didn’t know the difference! It was great fun! The boat got it’s groove on for over 4 hours!

    At one point, we got to a place in the river where there was a dam and we had to enter a sort of “panama canal” to raise and lower the boat to the correct water level…

    Arriving back to a lit up Prague at midnight was magical! The sights took on a whole new look at night…I really recommend viewing the sights both during the day and night…what an amazing evening I had!

    It’s great doing things unplanned…go with the flow and get your party on wherever you go!







  • From Top to Bottom!

    Prague, Czech Republic…I notice the throngs of tourists filling this town all are drawn to the same sights…their pictures are of all the same guide book designated things…like they are going down a checklist; clock-tower, check…statue, check…bridge, check…etc…

    Are they noticing some simple things that give this place it’s unique charm and individual character? The sea of terra-cotta colored gabled roofs, the ornate moldings on simple buildings, the little brook that comes from nowhere with a water wheel, the vintage barely-there colored buildings, the moss laden cobblestones, and so on?

    These are the things I am enamored with! It’s all in the details! From top to bottom, Prague is cluttered with unique details that are enthralling me…I love all of this town’s sights from it’s grand ones to it’s small ones, but my designer eye really appreciates those that others may just overlook!








  • For Art’s Sake!

    Prague, Czech Republic…I decided to do the real tourist thing today! I started my day with the “hop on-hop off” bus to get the full overview of Prague’s sites. This is totally unlike me and not my idea of how to see a city, but this was my lazy way to get a big picture reference point. I would be lying if I told you it was anything other than boring! The young guide, who coincidentally grew up blocks from me in Chicago, didn’t seem to appreciate my constant yawning. The sights of this amazing city can only truly be taken in via foot tour from the stunning old town, not circling detached from it all atop an topless bus. I did learn that Czechs consider themselves part of Central Eastern Europe, not Eastern Europe; which refers to Russia or Ukraine. Central Eastern Europe includes the Czech Republic and Hungary.

    Art comes in all forms and not all artists have the luxury of ritzy gallery showings or refined museums to display their work. Prague is a huge canvas for Graffiti! I enjoy all forms of expression, some of it is art and some of it is political…counter balanced to its street art, Prague boasts a bounty of Art Nouveau architecture and interior design in addition to it’s Renaissance period old town. This is just the start of the Art Nouveau I will encounter as Vienna, the home of Gustav Klimt, is next on the itinerary.

    Shortly after my bus tour, the skies suddenly darkened and rain started to pummel down on the town; this is the first rain I have seen in ages! It is a welcome relief to help moderate yesterday’s sweltering heat.

    The rain passes and off to meander thru old town I go! I have to say after a lazy month in the Mediterranean, city tourism sure is hard!

    I head back via taxi and my driver gets aggressive with another driver and displays a very different kind of road rage! He rolls down the window and spits at the other driver! Whoa! The Czech may not consider themselves Eastern European, but that stunt sure seemed pretty Eastern Bloc behavior to me!






  • Meat & Potato Time!

    Prague, Czech Republic…Bye Bye Beach hello historical city of beautiful sights! After arriving from Greece, I made my usual stop for a local SIM card for my iPhone and I was ready to get oriented…no list, no agenda, just roam! It was a heatwave of 90 degrees and it’s sweltering and the Czechs are not used to heat like this!

    It’s overwhelming as I look around and see the sights, the churches, the arches, the cobbled walkways, the beautiful squares in every direction. Like a Renaissance painting or a Shakespearean movie set, Prague is a real step back in time. I took in the charm of old town and was shocked by the number of small museums for every imaginable thing; chocolate, torture, you name it.

    The Mediterranean diet I have been enjoying is definitely gone; usher in the potatoes, sausages, and gravies! I love Potatoes and never met a pork product I didn’t like! But the heavy Czech cuisine is meant to balance a lot of beer drinking, which I do not do…In one of the squares, a fair is set up selling traditional Czech food and I zero in on a traditional dish of potato gnocchi like dumplings, cabbage, and ham mixed like a salad! Eureka! Three things I LOVE! The feast begins…it’s really good but super filling on a hot day!

    I finished my walk by crossing the majestic Charles Bridge and then realize I am on sensory overload! Prague is mesmerizing and tomorrow I will refocus to make sure I don’t miss something that today’s aimless roaming may have overlooked!