After a long day of flying, traveling, being entertained and somewhat made fun of by a stranger named Cary Long, who turned out to be a very popular comedian, there was no hesitation to indulge into our beds and rest up for our first day of exploring and competing in the absolute stunning, Prague. We set out for a hike up to Prague Castle at 9:30am, which trailed not far from our hotel. Moments upon reaching our 3-minute mark, Coach Munson said “Girls, do we need to check our pulses?!”. Everyone had their laugh and knew the heavy breathing and sweaty bodies (even after a few minutes) were nothing but normal for all of us after a week of double sessions. Our trainer, Michael Page, was a trooper and made it to the top, despite his firing aspiration to ride the tram that took visitors to the highest viewpoint. At the top of the hill was Petřín Lookout Tower, one of the most prominent landmarks of Prague. It was built as part of the Jubilee Exhibition in 1891 and as Sydney Lemay said, “They moved the Eiffel Tower!”. The tower was, in fact, inspired by the Eiffel Tower but is only about one-fifth the size. Along the trail was a medieval performance that was surrounded by costume, prop, and jewelry shops. As we began to get closer to our destination, we traveled through a downtown area that had very quaint restaurants and shops, some housing many creepy looking puppets. Upon entering Prague Castle stood Schwarzenberg Palace, a well preserved Renaissance palace who’s walls were beautifully engraved by hand with black and white decorations. We walked towards Prague Castle where we were greeted by guards and statues of fighting giants that were honored to keep out all evilness from entering. Prague Castle is recorded in the Guinness World Record’s Book as the largest castle area in the world! Within Prague Castle is the St. Vitus Cathedral; the cathedral has the most breathtaking pieces of stain glass and architecture. The cathedral also had an amazing view of Prague. But, in order to experience the view, we had to travel up 280 steps of a claustrophobic staircase that made us spinning in circles as we reached the top. For some of us, we chose to travel by two feet, while Coach Munson tried a very unique method of bear crawling up the stairs, which had us all laughing in tears. For those of you who don’t know, the courageous Ryan Manning, overcame his fear of heights! The cathedral, as previously mentioned had some amazing features, but Izabella Porada’s favorite definitely had to be the Rooster that was propped on the roof of the church. After exploring Prague Castle, we finished our tour watching a ceremony that takes place twice a day; the ceremony occurs when twelve hours have passed and the guards switch shifts in a very fashionable way – if you have any interest of the ceremony, contact Olivia Kofie for details because she miraculously made her way to the front and got some neat videos and pictures. Mary Murphy concluded her day of touring recording 22,000 steps – What about you Tim Hermann? As for Alysia Baznik and I, we found out that there is a price (8 Kc which is around 30 cents) to going to the bathroom at the Prague Castle, but we managed! Later in the afternoon, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our match at 5pm against the Prague National Team. The gym was very authentic and echoed all of our voices. The Prague National Team is a very repectable team with a lot of talent. Although we did not come out with a victory, we are excited to redeem ourselves through our determination, emotion, and confidence.
Sydney Cheatham #11