Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Morning came pretty quickly today. I took a shower and washed my hair so that it would have a little time to dry while I slept. Keyword(s): a little. I got in bed shortly before 4a.m. and was up at the lovely hour of 5:50, due primarily to my inability to be a normal person. Since I was awake and could not force myself to go back to sleep I blew my hair dry and ran a straightener through it and then went off to breakfast with my tourmates. I ate with Martha, Anne, George, Matt and Derek. Don’t ask me why I remember that. I don’t know. All I know is that I laughed so hard that I didn’t have time to eat much.
I was quite excited to get on the bus and get the drive underway, mostly because I assumed I would be sleeping.
Lucian doesn’t believe in sleep and since Liam and I were somewhere around 2-3 rows from the front, it isn’t like I could doze off without feeling RUDE. I don’t have a clue what he talked about. I do remember that every time he acted like he was going to let us sleep he would remember something and I would be on the verge of an emotional breakdown. I’m not kidding. I think every time he faked us out I started to get tears in my eyes.
We stopped in Dresden, a gorgeous city in Eastern Germany, just north of the Czech border. It was nearly leveled in the second World War and was rebuilt with architecture that must rival the beauty that existed there before the damage from the bombings.
I’m going to be honest and say that our little group was quite tired(and possibly a tad bit hungover) when we were wandering around Dresden trying to find lunch. We decided to be extremely cultural and adventurous and feast on some incredible McDick’s(thanks Kendra and Tiana, I will never be able to refer to McDonald’s as any thing else) for lunch. I feel a bit ashamed to admit that I ate Mackers (courtesy of Daniela) while in such a boutique little European city, but I just wasn’t feeling adventurous and I was STARVING and teetering between grouchy and slap happy.
Over lunch, Tavis was talking about the tiny little kiddie train that was in the outdoor market just outside the McD’s and how he wanted to go ride it. I don’t know why, but the thought of riding a tiny train in Germany while sleep deprived sounded amazing. We agreed. I was bound and determined to be as silly as I pleased.
Our group split into two after lunch. Katherine and Daniela went off to do something. I don’t know what, as I was fairly fixated on the train. We were walking towards the Altmarkt around this pretty fountain. It’s kind of a weird fountain because it isn’t contained in a clearly defined structure. It has several parts and if they aren’t all spouting water at the same time, visitors just don’t assume that they do. There are these concrete squares around what appears to be the defined border of the pool: just plain, squarish shapes: a little more than knee height.
We were walking to the market with all intentions of train shenanigans when the universe decided to get us started a little early. Tiana was walking between the blocks and that little wall behind them, not thinking a thing about it. Except that apparently they aren’t just blocks. They are part of the fountain. Right as she was about to pass between one of them and the wall, it erupted, causing her to take a tumble to avoid the water. I know it doesn’t read as very funny, but I sat on the ground in tears, trying not to wet my pants from laughing so hard. It also led to the perfect way to end awkward pauses in conversation whenever they happened for the rest of the trip. I’m glad it was Tiana, because she was such a sport about it and laughed it off. If it was me, I might have cried, being as tired as I was.
When we asked the conductor if we could ride the train, he said, “No,” because we were too big. So I asked if we could sit in the train cars just to take a picture. He answered in the affirmative. I clarified, just to be safe, that we could, in fact, sit in the train for a photo op… Can’t be too safe, you know, I’m not trying to get arrested in Germany. He said, “Yes,” again. So we went and climbed in the train… Which is when the conductor freaked out and started blowing his whistle at us and telling us to leave in German. Loser. Dream crusher.
After fleeing the embarrassing train incident, we walked across the Augustus Bridge and took some photos, enjoying a really lovely afternoon.
After wandering, we took a partial group picture on the steps of one of the landmarks of Dresden: Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady).
After that, back on the bus for the second half of the drive. We had covered most of the information about Prague on the way to Dresden, so you’d think it was nap time, right? Nope. It’s time for SPEEEEEEED Dating! Speed dating is a lovely Contiki game where all of the individuals seated on the aisle seats rotate one seat counter-clockwise every two minutes. Upon the switch, Lucian shouts out a silly question that both partners must answer. Favorite movies, music, foods etc. It was a good time and made sure that you got to talk to people outside of the initial cliques that formed. This was the only opportunity that I had to get to know a few of the people on trip, but my sleep deprivation prevents me from remembering much about it.
Following the speed dating, we did some more talking and attempting to snag a covert nap.
We rolled in to Prague shortly before dinner. I felt tired, groggy and eager to get out and see the city. Emily and I dropped our bags off in the room, which had its own wi-fi… first time on the trip! I checked the dreaded facebook machine and shot a couple of emails to my family and friends. Then I was ready to explore. I set out to find a cash machine. I cannot tell you how breath taking this city is! The architecture is romantic and thought provoking. I was only alone for maybe 20 minutes, but it seriously felt like a dream. Sunny and warm, but not overwhelmingly so. I ran into Liam and we walked over to this really lovely craftsman’s market that sat quite close to our hotel. I bought a pair of amethyst earrings that were decoratively wrapped in copper… after shopping for approximately 90 seconds. I don’t know what to tell you. I’m not a shopper.
We ate dinner in the Municipal House (Obecní dům) located on Náměstí Republiky near the Old Town Square. The cool thing about the Obecní dům is that there was a scene of Vin Diesel’s movie xXx filmed there, involving Diesel’s character having lunch with Yelena, a sniper shooting people and a resulting car chase. So we ate dinner there. It was unremarkable, except for the fact that they were rushing us, so obviously that they were taking people’s food away while they were still eating it… like utensils in hand en route to mouth.
At dinner, Liam and Nick kept quoting the Simpson’s Go to Australia. Tears in my eyes. Those two together were ridiculous. The waiter got angry with me when he brought me a drink that I did not order, (I accepted it anyway trying to not be difficult) because 10 minutes later another waiter came out with my correct drink, but was confused that I already had one. So much for trying to go with the flow.
Most interesting part of the evening? After dinner we paid money to see this artsy, black-light dance show called Black Light Theatre. It was about 90 minutes – 15 hours long. I’m not sure because it was AWFUL. There were a couple of the numbers that were attention grabbing, but most of them were just…. um… well they just weren’t. There were also these skits between the dance numbers: slap-stick, three stooges kind of stuff, but they seemed a bit out of place.
The most entertaining part were these Dutch school kids who obnoxiously heckled the entire show. They were annoying, even if the show wasn’t my taste. What was entertaining was that one of the Canadian girls from our group got SUPER angry about it and started flashing her camera in their eyes and shouting things like, “Oh! I’m sorry! Am I being a distraction to you?! Is it hard to enjoy the show with me being so inconsiderate?!?!” HI-larious. Then, after the show, Lucian shouted at them and their chaperons.
After the show, we stopped in a pub on the way back to the hotel. Had a drink or two. Went back and crashed. I think that was the only night of the trip that I was so tired, I opted out of staying out with the group.
Welcome to Praha. Newly, one of my top 3 cities.
PS: Cardigan Weather just hit 7k views from 81 different countries. Can’t wait to tell you about my 2nd day in Prague. =]