Sunday, October 02, 2011

Prague: Castle-challenged!

To those of you who visited Prague 15 or even 10 years ago, I applaud you. I wish I had been smart enough to do so. I think it may have been better back then. I'm going to come out and say it - I don't LOVE Prague. It's OK. The history is interesting. The buildings are lovely. I think the town has sold itself out for entertainment a little bit. But after only two full days, what do I really know? It's just my snap judgement.

After the brewery tour in Cesky Krumlov, I got a taxi driver to take me to the bus stop. I was pleased that he was playing Deep Purple's "smoke on the water" at a very loud volume. With assigned seats, who was across the aisle from me on the bus but Daniel from the shuttle! We laughed at the coincidence and caught up on the last few days. The bus had free headphones and music. Two channels were available. Celine Dion type songs in Czech or really bad rock in English and Czech. There were also free gossip magazines with topless ladies in them. We had a few laughs over the absurdity of the bus ride and fell asleep. In Prague, we figured out the metro and went our separate ways.

My hotel was very old school with a hard bed. I was happy with the bed and the location. Kimberley, Steph and their mom were staying across town and we made plans to meet the next morning. Downstairs from my hotel was a very cool wine bar with many choices of Czech wine!

I shared a table with a couple from Prague. I just wrote in my journal and we would talk every now and then. We toasted and I told them that I liked dumplings. The woman got excited and told me that some favorite dish of hers with dumplings was served at the Imperial hotel, and showed me where it was. I had been exploring and it was about 10PM so I went straight there for a late dinner. It was delicious! Very ornate hotel dining room. I love that a person who lives here gave me the idea. I just showed the waiter what she wrote and said "I want that". Little did I know that I would have the same dish every day in Prague - meat, sauce and dumplings. I really think they eat this meal here more than anything else. But this one was the best!

The next morning I went to the extremely fragrant and nauseating breakfast buffet in a basement. There was a pineapple hog in the house. And no, it wasn't me. As soon as an employee carefully put out about 12 slices of fresh pineapple for the 10 or so of us, a man who got to the table first piled 6 or 7 slices on his plate. I took my ONE slice and several people were left sad and pineapple-less. At this buffet there was also laughing cow cheese with bacon in it, which I have never seen in the US. Feeling a little sick, I walked over to the Charles bridge and over to the castle to meet the Stedmans. Prague has HOARDS of tourists. HOARDS. The bridge was so crowded it was just moving with people. It was hard to get photos without 50 people in them. Prague is pretty, but it has nothing over Paris or Florence. I don't drink absinthe or hard liquor so I had no interest in going out at night to anything other than a cozy wine bar or beer place. Bachelor parties and all kinds of people come here.

Our texts went something like this:

I'm at the base of the castle, I think. But I don't see a castle.
We are climbing a hill. Are you near? Do you see a castle?
I think I see a castle but I don't know. Everything in Europe looks like a castle.
are you near a landmark?
Do you see the castle? I don't see it yet.

Here I am with Kimberley and Steph, at the castle. But we never saw an actual castle. I think it's just a government building that they took a very big stretch in calling a castle. Being from England, the Stedders family knows a castle when they see one, and being from America, I confuse everything with a castle. So we just went out for coffee and cake.

Old Czech cake - another thing I ordered without knowing what it was first. It wasn't bad!

My cold is coming back. My cough is still kind of bad. And my foot still hurts from the marathon. K and S made plans to go clubbing near my hotel. I couldn't summon the energy. I slept for a much needed 12 hours. K and S weren't the only ones out in Prague last night. In the morning, I shreiked when I opened the door and found a man curled up outside. I kind of stepped over him and used the computer in the hallway. I heard him rustle around, he muttered something and staggered upstairs. Apparently he came home and went to the wrong floor, just falling asleep in front of MY door. I know, I regret taking a photo. Sorry. I should have!

I couldn't stomach my hotel breakfast again so I went to Mc Donald's. It always tastes good when I'm sick. I never eat it otherwise! Plus, I thought it was a very fitting breakfast before the Museum of Communism!

Have you ever seen a better museum logo? I can't think of one!

Lots of great history. It was upstairs in a creaky building and people were smoking. They smoke everywhere here. I hate that. One of the interesting exhibits was about sports - they focused sports toward combat-type activities.

Shopping under communism!

They also spent YEARS making a huge statue devoted to Stalin in Prague. Dignitaries from all over came to the unveiling. It was just enormous. But torn down in 1962.

I also watched an interesting 20 minute video that outlined the history of Prague throughout the communist years. It made me kind of sad. Lots of footage of the 1989 student protests. It had even more meaning after talking to David the other night in Cesky Krumlov.

I moved hotels to a place farther away, but cheaper and very hip. I have mastered the subway system by now so I can really get anywhere quickly. K and S have moved on to Dubrovnik and I have one more night here before I go to Budapest tomorrow. I know nothing about Budapest. That's my plan for tonight - read about my next location!

Go home tourists! There are too many of you here!!

1 comment:

Laura said...

Love it. That was the best logo ever.