We've been gone for about 6 1/2 months, so we're in the second half of The Great Home School Field Trip Adventure! Here's a quick run-down of where we've been: two months in Prague, Czech Republic; one month in Dresden, Germany; a few days in Berlin, Germany; a month in Liverpool, England; two months in Pocklington (near York), England; a week in London; and now we are back in Prague until the beginning of November. If you count the moves to and from Berlin and London, we've moved seven times since we left from the Salt Lake Airport. I think we're getting better at it, but it's still the worst part of the trip.
I guess it's more like nine times if you count our slow departure from Teton Valley to Idaho Falls to Layton before we flew from Salt Lake!
This time around in Prague, we are living in New Town (founded 1348), which is very different from the quiet neighborhood in Břevnov we lived in last time. We are on the third floor of an older apartment building right in the middle of town, just a few blocks from Wenceslas Square, the Dancing House, and, well, a bunch of other famous Prague sights. We're not far from anything here, which is nice. It takes about 20 minutes to walk to Old Town Square, as long as you know which way to go. The streets can be a bit confusing until you're familiar with them.
At the end of our short street is the New Town Hall, where, in 1419, the first Defenestration of Prague took place: Hussite peasant rebels, followers of Jan Hus (a would-be reformer of the Catholic church more than 100 years before Martin Luther, who was burned at the stake in 1415), threw seven or maybe thirteen (accounts differ) members of the city council out of the windows after a stone was thrown at them from one of those windows. All of them died, either from the fall or at rebel hands on the ground. It was one of the events that started the Hussite Wars, which lasted for several years and is an important part of Czech history. Every time I walk by the New Town Hall, I try to imagine what that night must have been like.
For a non-graphic depiction, check out this Lego rendition! It's pretty cool. If you click on the pictures, you can see bigger, clearer versions of them.
I'm surprised at how much I like our apartment. I was worried that it would be too small and too hot and that the tiny, Manhattan-sized kitchen would drive us crazy. (Seth did a video tour a while back.) But it actually feels kind of spacious -- the entryway is long and wide, the living room is big, the extra sitting room area is helpful to split people up, the kids love the loft beds, the ceilings are really high, and the windows are huge and let in plenty of light and air, even though they are only on one side of the apartment. Also, the toilet is separate from the bathroom, which is much easier to live with than the typical toilet/tub/sink bathroom we've had since we left Prague the first time.
And the kitchen is definitely small -- there's basically room for one person in there. It really does remind me of some Manhattan apartment kitchens I've seen. But it's not too bad. I think I'll write more about our kitchen situations in a later post. It's been interesting to discover what seems necessary.
And now, to announce our final stop on the Great Home School Field Trip (which has been right there on your right in the sidebar for a while now, but I don't think anyone looks at it): we'll be spending November, December, and January in Plovdiv, Bulgaria! Yeah, I'd never heard of it, either. Plovdiv is the second largest city in Bulgaria (after Sofia) and it's supposed to be one of the oldest cities in the world. Bulgarian is, like Czech, a Slavic language and has some similar-sounding words, but it uses the Cyrillic alphabet, so I guess I'd better learn that. The kids have already learned it, and Jon has somewhat known it for years. I've also read that Bulgaria is one of those places where people nod their heads for no and shake them for yes. Seems like that's going to be confusing, but probably not as surprisingly disorienting and potentially dangerous as people driving on the wrong side of the road! Which I actually miss now that we've left England.