When you take your children to Europe, this is the kind of behaviour you hope for:
And this is the kind of behaviour you sometimes get:
Sometimes, even this:
The truth is, even the best-behaved children get tired of hearing their mother read about castles from a guide book. And, when asked for good behaviour, those children may even respond with synchronized devils’ horns.
Thus it was that when we visited Prague Castle in 2006, I had to dig deep into my bag of tricks. I knew it wouldn’t suffice to tell them that the castle, founded in the late ninth century, was one of the biggest in the world.
It wasn’t enough to show them the stunning St. Vitus Cathedral, or to see the wonderful city views from its main tower.
No, to keep their attention, I had to tell them about the defenestrations.
A defenestration, for the uninitiated, is the act of throwing someone – usually a political enemy – out the window. In 1618, one such incident in Prague Castle incited the Thirty Years’ War. More recently, I have fond memories of my grade 12 history class, in which one of my classmates defenestrated himself. (We were on the ground floor.)
What better way to bring history home for your family, and make sure they never forget Prague Castle, than by staging your own defenestration:
And that is how the Pollocks travel in Europe.