In our living room we have two paintings hanging on the wall. We also have about four more sitting around somewhere because we put our foot down at two to hang up - my in-laws gave us at least six of them when we got married. Apparently a lady in their building in Košice is a painter and gives FIL a painting every time he fixes her toilet or whatever. Which, since he is a handyman and the go-to man for building maintenance, is a lot. The paintings are mostly castles, cathedrals and other historical landmarks or landscapes.
So these two paintings have been hanging in our living room for a long time, but a couple of weeks (?) ago, K was sitting next to me on the couch, staring off into space, and spoke up: "But how are we going to get there???"
I of course replied with my standard excellent-parenting "Eh?"
"There! I want to go there," she said, pointing to the wall. "Can we go there in the car?"
"Ohhh... [pause for a prayer of thanksgiving that we didn't hang up paintings of the Taj Mahal or Great Wall of China] ...actually, we CAN go there! That one is called Týn Cathedral and it's here in Prague. We can get there on the tram. I'll take you there again soon."
"What about THAT one? I want to go there, too. We take the tram there?"
"No, THAT one we can go to in the car. It's called Alžbetin Dóm and it's in the town where Babka and Dedo live. We can go there next time we go to visit them."
K was very excited at the prospect of visiting both 'castles' (they're both actually churches but are big and stone and have towers, so I guess it's a logical mistake). She has asked several times since that first day, when can we go there? Is that place far away? I want to go there...
I've been looking forward to taking her to see Týn especially, since it's in town and, honestly, how awesome is it that I can fulfill a wish like that? I've blogged before about how exciting it is for us to see K developing an interest in new places, travel, castles, cathedrals...the same things WE'RE interested in when we visit a new city, basically. A fantastic development for a family that travels as much as we do for our various reasons.
Unfortunately, flu, bronchitis, arctic winter, blah, blah, blah...so it took us a while to find a chance to go, but today was the day! We were downtown already (for the first time in AGES) so I asked K, "Do you want to do something special?"
"Yes!" came immediately, eyes shining...
"Do you want to go to the castle in our painting?"
"But it's far away."
"No, it's here around the corner! It's in our city, Prague, and right now we are downtown. Do you want to go?"
The answer to that one was a resounding YES!! obviously, so we went to Old Town Square and found the spot on the square that most closely approximated the angle of the painting. In doing so we realized that the painter actually moved the statue of Jan Hus at least 20 meters to the right to be closer to the church, so we couldn't replicate it exactly... K instantly recognized it though, and we got a picture of us there so we could look at it at home later in case she didn't register that it was the same place. She wanted to know where the door is (it's hidden behind some houses) and to go inside and look around. We walked over, I showed her the 'secret entrance' and lifted her up so we could peer inside, since the church wasn't open for visitors. K was disappointed we couldn't go all the way in, but very interested in what we were seeing and what is THAT and what is over THERE.
When we got home I asked her which castle we went to, and she pointed to the correct one on the wall - so she did recognize that it was the same place. She was pretty impressed.
And, as you can probably tell...we thought it was great! Our daughter's first experience of dreaming of going someplace and then really going there. I love that we can support her desire to go somewhere and see something beautiful. I hope it will encourage in her a feeling of adventure and involvement with the world and all sorts of positive stuff like that. :)
And in conclusion, here are Mama and K being touristy in front of Týn and Jan Hus.