Eurotrip 2011: Prague.3

This might be the series that never ends! It's like we've been gone forever! Better catch up with all the cities we've visited here.

If you don't recall the end of the last Eurotrip post, I'll remind you how our first day in Prague ended: After a night of sparse rest on a train and a full day of touring, I wanted to sleep in the worst way, and yet I was lying on the world's most uncomfortable wooden platform bed ever. And it was creaky to boot. I think I finally understood what my parents experienced when we all tried out camping gear for the first time in the backyard, and my parents' air mattress went flat in the middle of the night, leaving them on the ground for several hours. The result: Our family never went camping.

So anyway, I woke up feeling extremely stiff, aware of every aching joint in my body. All I could think about is how I needed a massage. I must have looked pretty pathetic, because even NS, who isn't prone to excessive sympathy, had nothing but soothing things to say. While I tried to come alive, he left our glassed-in bedroom to find out what was going on.

Soon he was back, announcing that our host's little daughter was up and around, and had greeted him in the living room by literally throwing herself into his arms. She also spoke in Czech to him, drew on her face with markers (oh so fun), and banged on the bathroom door impatiently, wanting him to come back out to play. I commented that she sounded like a wild monkey, and almost felt a bit nervous when N mentioned that the little one's mother was nowhere to be found. Could we possibly be babysitting??

As I padded out of the bedroom en route to the bathroom (hoping for a swig of mouthwash before having to say another word), Wild Monkey found me and was ready to socialize. She spoke only Czech, but it was pretty clear that she recognized I didn't have makeup on and was prepared to apply her colorful markers to the majority of my face. Now, I generally interact well with kids and find most of them to be entertaining, but I felt like an 80-year-old woman at that moment - an 80-year-old woman who needed mouthwash, no less. As Wild Monkey tried to apply a bit of green to my cheeks, I snatched away her marker before she could get very far. But she had another marker. In fact, she had a hand full of markers, and as I removed each marker from her grasp, she attempted another one. In the space of about five seconds, we were both frustrated, and Wild Monkey started throwing her markers at my face in disgust. And she hit me every time. Utterly exhausted, completely sore, and painfully cranky, all I could think was, "This trip just took me to a new low. I can't do this any more." Back to the bedroom I headed, and I could feel my face (and my attitude) crumpling. NS contained my attacker and then found me in the bedroom reaching for a wad of tissues. 

"This is not vacation!" I told him, in desperation.  "I am so tired, and I just want to go home!" Much to my surprise, he felt badly for me, and that helped me feel better pretty quickly. I went off to shower and get my day started the right way. When I came back out, Little S (no longer Wild Monkey) was perched on N's lap, playing with an English-speaking toy, and best of all, the markers were nowhere in sight.

Okay, so she's actually adorable and smart and not just a terror. But her makeup skills lack finesse.
Our adult host finally emerged from sleep (she hadn't deserted us, after all), and we all hung around and chatted, enjoying the slow start to our Saturday morning, until K tried to talk S into changing out of her pajamas. Little S complied - at least half way (didn't get the memo about actually putting fresh clothes on) - at which point N decided it was time to get back to touring.

Back at the Charles Bridge area, we opted for breakfast at Bohemia Bagel - admittedly, a cafe that caters to an American palate. But after two weeks of travel, I wasn't going to be self-righteous about sampling only local flavors.

Recommendations: ginger tea (great for a head cold) and pancakes - fluffy and amazing.

We had so enjoyed our segway tour around Prague from the day before, we wanted to see the sights again at our own pace. We (slowly) walked up the city's hills to Prague Castle, getting a great view of the Saint Vitus Cathedral inside the complex.

The weather was phenomenal - like that "Indian Summer" weather we get in Pennsylvania in September - sunny and warm, but not hot. Perfect for our walk from the castle to the public gardens that we'd fallen in love with.

Views from this vantage points are photo-worthy two days in a row.
Continuing our upward path, N decided we should climb up to the top of the hill where Prague's mini Eiffel Tower can be found. I felt very little ambition regarding this adventure (I mean, isn't the real Eiffel Tower good enough?!), but I went along with the plan. Soon enough, we caught our first glimpse:

The structure is actually called the Petrin Lookout Tower (Czech: Petrinska rozhledna), and locals will proudly tell you that its altitude puts the tip higher than the Eiffel Tower.

At first, we felt somewhat obligated to climb to the top. I mean, isn't that what you do when you're on peak of a hill and the only higher place is a metal structure right in front of you with stairs leading to the top where you'd purportedly find the best views around? However, we were happily distracted by a number of food and drink vendors that were stationed near the base of the tower. We busied ourselves listening to live musicians playing traditional music and enjoying the savory smells and flavors of seasonal food like this:

N discovered that people were taking their food and drink to a park just beyond the tower at the very peak of the hill. We followed suit, beckoned by the green grass, blue skies, and the serene family atmosphere.

See those large bottles filled with pale yellow fluid?
That's "young wine" - white wine that's been aged for one day - a seasonal drink in Prague.

Forgetting all about climbing the tower, my goal now was to let the warm rays of sunshine lull me into an afternoon nap. And that's just what my homeless, couch-surfing, weary self did. Sleep the afternoon away in a park. Good thing we had taken care of much of our touring of Prague the day before, because I could not, at this stage, be bothered with proper sightseeing.

After our snooze, we made our way down the hill via the funicular [the tiny little train that runs from the top of Petrin hill to the town at the bottom (Mala Strana) with one stop in between], but not before we stopped in at the Hall of Laughter. (With a name like that, how can you resist?) The first room had those mirrors that turn you into all sorts of shapes and sizes.

Normal. Big head. No head N. Long torso. Long legs. No head J. Shorties. Midgets.

I do love me a good giggle-fest.

I'll confess that our laziness continued to prevail throughout the day, as we decided to stop in at McDonalds for comfort food and free WiFi. But in our defense, the McDonalds of Europe carry things like espresso and tiramisu and have nicely-designed "restaurants."

This, my friends, is what I would prefer to see at my local McDonalds.

We continued to wander around Prague as night fell. I like how some cities look just as good at night as they do by day. My last Prague post showed how fairy tale-like Prague's day views are, but I also love this shot of the castle from Charles Bridge at night. You could talk me into believing that Cinderella lives there. Full-time.

Finally, it was back to our hosts' house for one more night on the Bed of Torture. (The second night was actually a tad better, because N let me put the whole comforter under my body for extra cushioning. I don't think the night was better for him, though.)  After ringing the doorbell, we were greeted by Minnie Mouse - Little S who had just returned from a day of participating in the Critical Mass cycling event, which apparently meant more face paint, courtesy of her mother. The three of us climbed the five flights of stairs, jumping one stair at a time while I taught her the English word for "jump". Bright little thing.

After such a fun-packed day, Little S could barely stay away for her dinner, let alone this photo...

...which is probably why she climbed up on N's lap and fell asleep shortly thereafter.

With eyes like that, all of the morning's events have been forgiven.
Very, very early the next morning, we left Prague and caught a train to Berlin, our final destination. Our Eurotrip was drawing to a close, but not before many interesting sights and experiences in Germany. More to follow.


Post a Comment