We were in the middle of our ‘northern’ European trip, enjoying a white peony tea in a shop near Wenceslas Square when I knew- I was in love. It was as if I had fallen into an Audrey Tautou movie, except my hair was convinced on growing dreadlocks and looking quite wild. I braided my hair and opened my arms wide ready for an adventure.
Our hostel was adorable (SIR TOBY’S; see my favorites at http://letsgogirl.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/a-go-girls-guide-to-hosteling/) and filled with several interesting characters. There was a father introducing his two young sons to hosteling and the charms of Prague, a boy from Singapore who had been backpacking for several weeks, and of course, my new friend Anton from Sweden. The lady at the DELICIOUS homemade granola breakfast bar giggled when I informed her that the jug of agua was empty. A helpful guy making pancakes translated my vocabulary slip-up for me with a thumbs up, as a refilled my cup of water.
Prague itself was warm and the tank tops finally started to pull their weight, especially on a walk across Charles Bridge towards the Prague Castle. I still remember the torture chamber and tiny shop doors of the castle ground, but walking up the stairs to the castle was half of the fun.
The next evening, I went back to the castle with my new friends at night and hiked the stairs with the city lights in the background. Prague had me swooning in the palm of its hand; romantic vistas, a bohemian style that didn’t feel forced, and a music/arts scene so diverse that admirers still enjoy Mucha’s art nouveau advertisements. Speaking to the diversity of the city’s arts, my friend and I enjoyed a concert through the Fringe Festival, in a small basement bar, by a Scottish singer/songwriter before walking through the historic Jewish quarters in search of dinner.
Later that night, with a so-so gelato in hand, I watched as the famous astronomical clock let ‘death’ chime in nine o’clock. It wasn’t too exciting to see, until I learned that it was built in the 1400s and nearly destroyed in WWII. (Quite the commentary that ‘death’, represented by a skeleton, ticks away the time especially considering the new year…)
Our next day, we climbed the ‘Eiffel’ tower, which gave us fantastic views of the city and has very cool double helix stairs. Then, we went across the city to view a most confusing t.v. tower covered in giant crawling babies. I still don’t get it. It was decided that one more night in the country was necessary, so my travel partner decided to tour a concentration camp ,while I went with my new bud to Kutná Hora for a day trip. The next day (and next week’s entry) promised to be interesting…