An evening concert in the Golden City

Sept. 29 2010

For one of our last nights in Prague Pat booked us a couple seats for a classical string concert. At first, the concept of it sounded tacky and like just another tourist trap, since the staff of these concerts is composed not entirely, but mostly of hand-to-hand flyer handerouters all day out in the tourist squares. It’s just so easy, after having traveled for a bit to not even make eye contact with those people who try to stuff those leaflets in your hand as you walk by.

But I’m telling you, Pat’s find was a gem. We arrived 5 minutes before the scheduled start, dropped of our coats and headed into a medium sized ballroom. I was expecting a bit more of a stadium seating sort of thing, but my first thoughts went to how great these acoustics were going to be.

And then, right at 7:01 or 7:02 the 5 musicians filed out of 2 doors to take their place on the stage. It was a 5-piece set with 3 violins, a cello and a bass. For the next hour, this group rattled off an impressive, and highly professional set of some of the most famous orchestral songs in the world. Maybe it’s me and the fact I’ve never been to a concert like this--besides the ones my mom used to force me to go to at the Seattle Center growing up(which I despised)--but I was endlessly impressed with the perfect, synchronized movements of all musicians. They were precisely on every note and every beat, or deliberately an 1/8th or even 1/16th count off.  I guess this is why they’re professionals.

As the concert wrapped up, they received such a standing ovation that the musicians came back out on stage for an encore. Don’t ask me what it was called, but they left their strings in the back room, and plucked off a fast-paced 5 minute song complete with head wagging and Jimi Hendrix-style guitar grip on these beautiful violins. Leaving the concert hall, I felt like throwing up my arms and yelling, “I’m so cultured!” It’s just amazing to me that that takes place in front of a deserved full house nearly every night of the week in many halls across Prague. That was a beautiful cap to our week in Prague. 


Katrina Alford, Concordia University - Irvine

Happy Backpackers

This past weekend, I traveled to Budapest with WSA with a couple of friends from my university abroad, and I couldn't have asked for a better trip! After arriving at the hostel, we met Bogi, our tour guide for the weekend, who was instantly friendly and welcoming. Throughout the weekend, Bogi was an amazing guide! She showed us some great places for shopping and food, as well as the top sights around the city. You could tell she loved her job and never passed up an opportunity to share about her hometown and some of its history. She was so friendly and was sincerely interested in us as individuals and did everything she could do accommodate our priorities for the weekend (whether it was food, shopping, nightlife, sightseeing, etc.) I would highly recommend WSA's guided tours for any student studying abroad who wants to explore more than their university's city!

Katrina Alford, Concordia University - Irvine ~ AIFS Richmond, Spring 2015

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