Thursday, September 22, 2005

Ahh, Praha

We arrived in Praha (Prague) at 5:30 am yesterday morning. I tell you, that is not the time of day you want to be outside here. It was so cold, I had on 3 shirts, a scarf, a jacket, gloves and two pairs of socks (one pair was actually my slipper socks, so they were thick as hell too) and I was still cold. But I could see my breath, and that is always cool, I don't care how old you are. Ok, It's cool if you are from So Cal and it only happens occasionally - I'm sure the people in Minnesota don't get nearly as excited as I do when they can see their breath.

Anyway, there is also NOTHING to do at that time of morning. Nowhere to eat, couldn't check in to the hostel, too cold to walk around.... So we sat in the train station for awhile, until we could buy a map and figure out where we needed to go. And to our delight, the hostel was really close to he metro station. Couldn't check in until two, but they let us lock our stuff up there while we walked around.

Praha is beautiful. It is definitely one of my favorites. It has a very old world feel. And the churches are so different from the ones we'd seen in Italy, because these are all a Gothic style. Inside the churches you feel like they should make vampire movies here. (I know, they make all kinds of movies here, but a vampire movie would be perfect.) We walked from the National Museum to the Old Town Square where the Astronomical Clock is (unfortunately the clock was down for rennovations), then over towards the Charles Bridge.

The view from the bridge was beautiful, but the we climed the tower at one end and the view from the top was amazing. It was totally worth the ridiculous number of steps we walked up to get there. (I'm so glad I bought this camera before my trip, I think I'll have close to 2,000 pictures by the time I get back). When we got back downstairs, we wandered across the bridge but decided to wait to make our wish on the statue (apparently you only get one wish from the statue for life) and went on to the Torture Museum.

We actually went in to kill some time before lunch, but I'm amazed I was able to eat after that. They had displays and illustrations of common torture devices from the middle ages, and I have to say they all define cruel and unusual punishment. I'm not even going to describe them here, because it was just disturbing. Then we ate lunch.

And lunch was fantastic. I like Czech food.

After lunch we went back to the hostel to check in (and take a shower, because we felt pretty gross at that point), but when we got there, Jessica was really not feeling good (she'd been coming down with something for a couple days now) and needed a nap.

She started her nap at 2pm. I met some people at the hostel while she was napping and was invited to go out with them to dinner and a club. I woke Jessica up to see what she wanted to do, but whe was still feeling really sick, so she went right back to sleep and I went out.

It was basically me, two Canadian girls I met waiting for the computer, and the group of guys they met the night before (four Italians, a Romanian and a Hungarian). When we got to dinner, the guys took off their coats... they all had on matching T-shirts that read "I Love Party Girls."
Lacee, Alaina, Stephanie, I met your counterparts. These guys walked in to the club, took a shot, and immediately walked up to the stage and started dancing. They were on the stage all night. At one point they lost the stage to these two girls, and when the girls wouldn't relinquish it, they physically picked them up and carried them off the stage so they could get back on it. There could have been no one at the club, and they would still have had a great time. They were the party.

We made it back to the hostel at around 2am. (Yes, we left before they closed, but the other girls and I were tired.) Jessica had just awakened. Yep, she slept 12 hours. Then she got something to eat, took the medication we had picked up for her at the pharmacy here, and went right back to sleep. We both woke up at around 9:30am. Yes, Jessica slept around 18 hours.
We packed up our stuff and headed to the train station to reserve our tickets for tonight and lock up our stuff, then we headed off to the Castle Quarter.

The Castle Quarter is beautiful. We stopped at the Toy and Barbie Museum there (crazy collection of Barbies, way more than I ever had), then wandered around, and checked out the church. The church by itself was beautiful, but then we erad in the guidebook that the best view of the city was just up the 287 steps of the spire.

That sounded like a manageable number of steps, but I tell you we were winded by the time we made it to the top. I don't know how people to those stair climber machines at the gym, because I just about collapsed when we go to the top. Actually, I found the bench and did just that. We sat for a few minutes to recooperate, then checked out the view.

It was worth every one of those 287 steps. And the 287 steps back down.

Afterwords, we basically wandered aimlessly around the city. Didn't even look at the map. Just wandered. It was great. We bought some souvineers for the peeps back home, and then I stopped at Bata.

Lacee, it was a shoe store six stories tall. And each was the size of a normal shoe store. I had decided that while my docs have served me well during my decade long ownership of them, they are starting to fall apart and give me blisters. So I bought some sneakers. (Not that I needed a reason to buy some shoes).

I immediately changed my shoes, and thank goodness I did. My feet were hurting so bad from walking around all day today and yesterday, but the cushioning in these shoes somehow made it more bearable. Enough to continue walking around for another 3 hours.

We went back to the Old Town Square and had a great meal. And I again purposely made sure I had a Czech meal (Jessica had an Italian-style pasta, but I felt I should eat the traditional food of the country I was visiting).

Now we are at the train station, preparing for our 16 hour train ride to Paris...

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