June 20, 2009
Today, we arrived in Prague at about seven pm after a nine-hour flight to London, a four-hour layover, and another two-hour flight. My first impression of the country is one of beauty: I’ve already taken dozens of pictures since getting here and I can’t wait to take more. If only I’d gotten the Canon Rebel XSi before coming. :[ But my little Sony CyberShot will get the job done. And I will have the Rebel XSi in time for Buenos Aires for New Year’s Eve.
We stumbled across a little pub near the hostel where we’re staying and ate there around nine pm. The owner (we assume) looked surprised that American tourists had stumbled across his little place but served us great food and beer that we happily inhaled after so much less-than-delicious plane food. We paid in Czech crowns and called it a night. (A picture of the pub is below.)
June 21, 2009
So, apparently today is really the only full day we’re spending in Prague. But, what a full day it was.
After leaving the hotel at nine, the whole day was just go, go, go. We walked to the main squares in Prague, shopping as we saw shops that interested us (I got a quite fabulous bracelet, boots that should have been $200, but I only paid $45, and a scarf), going to open air markets that sold the freshest fruit and best candy I’ve ever had in my life (pictured left), talking with random locals and attempting to learn a few basic words in Czech, taking too many pictures on random benches and in front of random fountains (that's Mandy being very excited about Prague to the right), and finally making it to the main tourist attractions by around two.
We walked by the famous Astronomical Clock, getting very lost on the way there (but finding cute little churches and cafes during that time), ate a late lunch on the river, crossed the Charles Bridge (or Karluv rnost, pictured right and below) to St. Nicholas Church and Prague Castle. We didn’t go to the Frankz Kafka museum, which would have been cool, but the Castle (and the palaces surrounding it) amused us for too long. We didn’t get to go inside, but the courtyard was absolutely stunning – the private chapel and all the fences were gilded with gold, enormous statues were everywhere, and non-smiling guards were standing solemnly by. In fact, we tried to make them laugh, and someone succeeded, but I’m ashamed to say it wasn’t me. After seeing the castle and taking more pictures than will ever make it onto Flickr, Facebook, and this blog combined, we started wandering around, stopping at a Starbucks to listen to people speaking in dozens of different languages, going in search of a little bar I had spotted on the way that was serving free drinks if you were cheering for the right team during the football (soccer) match (Brazil v. Italy) but never finding it. Instead, we stumbled across a Hard Rock Café, which was extremely exciting. We went in and got a few drinks and hung out with out waiter, who was a cool blond Czech boy named Honsek (pronounced: On-seek), who encouraged me to try a Sex on the Beach, despite my misgivings about peach schnapps. The drink ended up making it onto my list of Top 5 Favorite Drinks. After that, we grabbed some pizza at a nearby restaurant (we wanted local food, not American food) and by the time we got finished there, it was past eleven and we started the thirty-minute walk back to the hotel.
All in all, it was a pretty great day; we’ve kept our phones off and avoided TV as much as possible, but one thing we’ve still been paying attention to is the whole mess in Iran because the two women traveling with my mom and I are actually Iranian. In fact, I just watched the video clip of Neda’s death (graphic – don’t watch if you have a weak stomach) on CNN and I’m realizing how out of control this whole situation is. Moussavi is preparing to become a martyr and encouraging his protestors to not lose their temper yet (supposedly – no one is sure since international media is barely allowed to report anymore and all our information comes from social networking sites) thousands are dying in Iran every day. I wish there was an easy solution to this whole situation, but there never is. There’s never an easy solution for anything. (Photo from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/son_of_persia/3652037011/ )