We decided to go back to the Jewish Quarter in the morning. The Jewish Museum runs all of the synagogues and exhibits in the area, so for one price you can get a ticket that lets you see everything. Our first stop was the Pinkas synagogue. The synagogue no longer holds services. Instead it is a memorial to the Czech Jews who died in the Holocaust. The walls are completely filled with the names of every known victim, as well as their birth and death dates. Even still today, people come to the synagogue to try to find out about their relatives or learn about their ancestry. We learned that Madeline Albright, who was born in the Czech Republic but fled with her family as a little girl, recently visited the synagogue and found out that she had Jewish family she didn’t know about.
Connected to the synagogue is the Old Jewish Cemetery. The cemetery is really small and has thousands of tombstones crammed on top of each other. Prague’s Jewish Quarter was a ghetto for hundreds of years where the Jews had to live under harsh regulations. The Jews were only allowed this tiny plot of land to bury their dead, so they estimate that they are about 40,000 people buried in 12 different layers in the cemetery.
Our friends Ilana, Sally and Sami were arriving in Prague soon so we went back to the hostel to meet them. After they settled in, the five of us went to a Czech restaurant for dinner. We had goulash, as usual, fried cheese, lamb and a Czech beer called Pilsner Urqell. The food was great and the restaurant had a really fun and lively atmosphere.
When we finished eating we took a local recommendation and went to a bar called simply, the Pub. This place was hands down the coolest bar I’ve ever been to. Each table can fit about eight people in a round booth, and in the center are four beer taps. There is also a touch screen that tracks how much you drink, and lets you choose songs to add to the jukebox queue. The back wall of the bar has a floor-to-ceiling projector screen that tallies the number of beers for each table and ranks the top 10. When I go home I plan on opening one of these in Gainesville. Seriously.
Everyone who’s ever been to Prague raves about its five-story mega clubs, so we had to check one out. We went to Karlovy lázně, a club on the riverbank where each of its floors plays music from a different decade. The coolest part of the club is on one of the middle floors where bright blue boxes are scattered throughout the dance floor and lasers shoot around the room. Everything stays open late in Prague and before we knew it it was 4 A.M. and the city was still going. We headed back to the hostel and passed out.