Sunday, February 22, 2015

Happy Valentines Day 2015

I LOVE making Valentine boxes!
I was so happy when both of my elementary kids got to make one at home.  I hate it when they make them at school.  There's no fun for ME!  Ha Ha!

Mr. Stutz 5th grade class has a contest each year to see who can put the most hearts on their Valentine box.  Jens and Sidney both won when they had his class.  I'm disappointed to say that Cade lost!!!!  We had 5304 heats on his box!  And he still lost.  I'm not sure who was more bummed.  Him or ME!

I saw this hot air balloon idea on Good Things Utah and had to make it.  I think it was super cute!

This kids had their Valentine parties at school on Friday.  Valentines day was the next day on Saturday.  Molly, Bella Parry and I walked up to the grand opening of the new tractor store in town.  The weather was a beautiful 63' day.  I bought some flower bulbs and gloves for the girls.  They came right home and planted the bulbs.

Then Jeff and I went out to eat dinner with our friends Derreck & Chelsie that night.  After dinner, we went up to John & Scarlett's house to play dominos with them, Dave & Amberlie,  and Monica.

Sweethearts Dance ~ February 13, 2015

Riley Pierce & Jens heading out to pick up their dates.  
They took twin sisters!

Prague, Czech Republic

 Jeff had an event in Prague, Czech Republic Feb. 3-9, 2015 so I went along with him.  It was the first time that either of us had been there.  It was such an amazingly beautiful city!  It moved right up onto our lists of favorites.  The city is full of history and all the buildings were stunning.  They were full of artwork.  They were so colorful and covered with art, statues and carvings.

This was the view out our hotel window.

The subway system was really simple to figure out.  We went down into Old Town.
I LOVED Old Town!  

This black building with the red roof is called Minute.  It's covered with renaissance sgraffiti.  It has several depictions on it, including the Garden of Eden.

I love how ornate the buildings are in Europe!

This Gothic church is called The Church of Our Lady before Tyn.  Construction on this church began in the mid 1300's and was finished in the year 1511.  It holds several tombs including the tomb of the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe.  He and Johannes Keplar discovered the laws of motion of the planets around the sun.  

I took some great pictures of the church, including this photo here from ground level, but there were so many people and other objects in the way because I was on ground level.  I found these other two pictures on Pinterest and used them.  They show the structure along with the surrounding buildings so well from above.

The Jewish Quarter
This was a very interesting place with rich amounts of history.  This old synagogue is called The Old New Synagogue.  It was built around the year 1280 and is one of the oldest synagogues in Europe.  It has been renovated and reinforced to make the structure safe to enter.  There are many stories about the tower in this synagogue.  A curse was placed on it for the mistreatment of the Jews.  Those who entered would die.  Only a couple people have entered it in the last centuries.  The latest recording I found was in the 1980's - and no one found anything - or died!

This Jewish cemetery was first used in the first half of the 1400's.  Its roughly 1 acre in size and holds over 100,000 bodies, buried 12 layers deep.  There are 12,000 visible headstones!  The kings during these centuries declared that Jews could only be buried in this location, hence the amount of burials in such a small space.

Hitler destroyed most Jewish cemeteries during WW2, but apparently he said that he didn't want this one to be touched --- he said he would leave it so it could be a memorial museum one day.
But it was something to behold as we walked through.

There is another synagogue here that is used as a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.  I think 6 million Jews were killed during WW2.  I'm not sure exactly how many names are written on the walls of the synagogue.  It was hard to figure out between our broken languages just how many.  It was a sobering moment to see SO MANY names.  I wish that photos could have been taken in that building, but we couldn't.  

 The Astronomical Clock

The construction of this clock was started in the early 1400's and was finished in the year 1490.  Some dark history of the clock says that once the clock was finished, the king didn't want another clock to be built that was more beautiful than this one.  So he ordered that the creator of the clock be blinded so that he wouldn't be able to create anything more beautiful.  UGH, I know, but that's what the history of it is.  So glad that I don't live in the dark ages!  Apparently at the end of the creators life, he was asked to be brought to this clock.  He stuck his hand inside of the clock and died.  The clock stopped working at the time of his death and wasn't able to be started again until the 1600's.  The clock is at the top of the tower, with two dials below.  The top dial shows the position of the sun and the moon and the bottom dial is a zodiac calendar.
 It's said to be one of the oldest working clocks.

This is another picture I found on Pinterest.  Its such a beautiful view of the Charles Bridge and all the other bridges.

The Old Town Bridge Tower is the entrance to Charles Bridge.  This tower was built in the last decades of the 1300's under the direction on King Charles IV.  Its considered to be the most beautiful Gothic tower in all of Europe.

Charles Bridge is .32 miles long and 32 feet wide.  I'm not sure the year the bridge was finished but many, many years later, the 30 statues were erected on the bridge in the early 1700's.  It baffles my mind as to how the people of this time period built such large buildings, long bridges and ornate structures without cranes and tractors to do the heavy manual work.  They were true artists.

Albert Lee, our general manager of the Hong Kong office and Jeff on Charles Bridge.

As we neared the exit of the bridge, we came to The Lesser Town Bridge Tower.  This tower was my favorite!  I think its prettier than The Old Town Bridge Tower.

Walking underneath its archway was almost like I was stepping back in time.  
I could almost hear chickens pecking around and the sound of horses on the cobblestone streets.

Walking through Lesser Town and all the way up the hill towards the castle was a delight.  Every building, every shop, every ornate statue along the way was a feast for the eyes!

 Prague Castle is a symbol of the city and Czech statehood.  It spreads a little over 17 acres and is listed in Guinness Book of World Records as the largest castle complex in the world.  
When we got to the top of the hill where the castle is, we came to the palace entrance. 
There are guards that stand outside the palace gate and you can watch the changing of the guards every hour.

Once you are through the palace gates, you are greeted by the spires of a cathedral.

O Cathedral of St Vitus

This cathedral has witnessed the coronations of the kings and queens of Bohemia, many of whom are buried here.

Jeff, Dr. Grace Lamb, Albert Lee, Connie Cheung and me.  
These people are some Agel friends of ours from Hong Kong.

The exterior is so Gothic with gargoyles coming off the ledges and the walls.  

Inside the cathedral 

Again, it boggles my mind how such structures were built without the means of cranes, fork lifts, and other machinery.

After we walked out of the cathedral, it was another blizzard outside.  The snow had been on again off again for the past 2 days.  We decided that since it was late afternoon and would be getting dark soon that we had better make our 2 hour trip back to the hotel.  I was playing tour guide to the Hong Kong friends and didn't want to get them lost in the city or on the subway!

BUT--we did make time to stop for one of these treats.  I don't even know what they were called.  There were being sold all over the city.  It tasted similar to a churro but with more bread to it.

A couple sights on our way back for the night made the walk just as enjoyable as it was getting there.

We had such an amazing time in this beautiful city.  It's definitely one place that we will be making a trip back to one day.  But next time, we will go in the spring or summer.  It was SO bitter cold while we were there, but I loved it still the same!