Monday, April 06, 2009

What a day!

 
1. Sunday, we woke early and by 7 or so were squeezing on to a tram headed to the castle. It was a very crowded tram, and also a very quiet one.
2. We were so early the security gate we came through was nearly empty - a nice surprise.
3. C was in a great mood! Apparently early mornings agree with her ;-).
4. The morning haze over Prague never quite lifted throughout the speech.
5. Our tickets placed us right next to the Czech government stage. They arrived a lot later than we did. The police were out in full force, both on the ground and...
6. ...perched on the surrounding palace roofs.
7. One of C's friends from choir found us a few hours into our wait, C was ecstatic. If you watch C-Span, we've heard that both C and her friend appeared on TV.
8. The club wielding Titan guarding the castle's gates looked like it was about to take a swing at the press club. They seemed unfazed.
9. President Obama, gesturing during his speech. It was remarkable. A transcript is here, but listening to it live and feeling the excitement all around us made it seem even more powerful.
10. Unlike the audience, the current Czech government did not react with a great deal of enthusiasm to his speech. Central here are the ex-Prime Minister Toplanek and the President, Vaclav Klaus.
11. Caroline, listening to the speech. When President Obama declared that when he was born, few people would have predicted that someone like him would one day become the President of the U.S., Caroline called out from her perch on Will's shoulders - "We did that!!"
12. Michelle Obama joined the President as he finished the speech, and they walked hand in hand down to greet the crowds. Caroline's "Hello Mr. President!" got a wave.

An amazing day.

14 comments:

Tuli said...

Oh my God what an experience! Thank you so much for posting these pictures!

(Red-tie Czech government guy looks a lot like a professor I had a few semesters ago!)

Julia said...

That's President Klaus. He is known for his grimaces. Was your professor an economist and euro-skeptic? If yes, they might be related!

Sherry said...

Glad to see your blog. I'm a life-long South Carolinian who was fortunate enough to have a least a short visit in Prague almost 3 years ago. It's beautiful!! I enjoyed looking at your photos.

marja-leena said...

An amazing experience, something you will all remember, and great photos! At first I thought the man in the red tire was the ex-VP of US.

countrypeapie said...

I am all a-blubber with emotion, and there are no keys on the keyboard to adequately communicate it. What a remarkable day.

Joan said...

How exciting! What a wonderful chance to be a part of it. It must have been thrilling.

Matthew Gertner said...

Not only were the Czech leaders unenthusiastic, they didn't garner much enthusiasm themselves. As far as I could tell Klaus was roundly booed every time he appeared on the big screen.

Julia said...

It was so thrilling - perhaps the best way to understand the energy would be to watch the flags waving in the crowd.

No teleprompter asked us to wave our flags, but because everyone was so excited and happy and needed an outlet, we waved and clapped and hurrayed through his speech in torrents of energy. It took at least a day to calm down afterwards, I have to admit!

Lucy said...

Great to think of you there, C's such a star!

Barrett Bonden said...

I didn't catch the Prague politicos' response to Obama but those in Turkey were a hoot. All wearing earphones and, from their expressions, seemingly listening to Metallica at 160 dB. But they're always a tough audience down in Ankara.

poppy fields said...

How awesome to have seen the President live like that!!

eurolush said...

What an amazing experience! So happy for you all!

Elizabeth said...

I love your blog. It reminds me of being a study abroad student in Brno, Czech Republic in 2007. I so wished that I could have been in Prague for this.
If you don't mind my asking, what made you move to CZ? Can you speak Czech? I miss it so very much.

Julia said...

Hi Elizabeth - I speak Czech at a conversational level (with huge room for improvement). I'm lucky because I'm around only Czech speakers a lot - that makes learning much easier!

Here's a post I wrote explaining how we came to know Prague. Thanks for visiting!