Wednesday, May 15, 2013
What a beautiful morning to wake up in Prague! Today, we meet up with Luc’s tour guide crush, Šárka, for a walking tour! We started our day with a brisk ride up to Prague Castle and Cathedral, from where we would start our walk. I really love walking through Prague. I can’t say it enough! The St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle is really as breathtaking as you would expect a gothic/baroque work to be.
We took a few group shots in the courtyard of Prague Castle, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find the one I wanted to show you! We were all stacked up to do the group shot and this group of Japanese tourists who were walking through stopped and started taking pictures of us, as well. One of the men jumped in the pictures, but I haven’t been able to find one with him in it! I did happen to borrow one without him, though:
From the Castle we walked down a bunch of quaint little streets until we came to the Charles Bridge. There is a statue of St John of Nepomuk on the bridge. He was a priest who was martyred for the upholding of the Seal of the Confessional. At the base of his statue are two reliefs, the touching of which is said to bring touchers the promise of good fortune and a return trip to Prague. Fingers crossed! One (being me) can hope St John will keep his good luck and grant me a return trip!
After moseying across the Charles Bridge, which was quite frustrating to poor Šárka who likes to walk rather quickly, we made it to The Old Town Square, which is really a perfect picture of Prague. You have the statue of well known Philosopher and religious thinker Jan Hus, the Astronomical Clock and Týn Church. I would spend a whole month’s time looking at this place and never tire of it.
We took a short break here and I stepped into a jewelry store that she had recommended and bought a ring with amber in a square setting of silver. I like getting reasonably priced jewelry in the places I go, because it’s a souvenir that lets you remember your adventures every time you wear it.
One very interesting thing that Šárka showed us in OTS was the Astronomical Clock. It is the 3rd oldest of its kind in the world. In addition to telling time, it has pieces for astrological signs and phases of the moon. The date face that sits under the main face, obviously tells you the date, but a ring around the outer edge has names that are dedicated to each day of the year. It is extremely difficult to have a child registered with a name that is not on the calendar of names. Šárka is apparently a form of Sara(h). So in addition to celebrating our birthdays every year, we would also celebrate our name day, which is June 30 for Šárka and myself.
We had a lunch time cruise down the Vltava river and ate bread and potato dumplings with goulash(YUM!). After the food we sat on the top of the boat while she gave us more information on Prague… to which no one in our group of 5 paid any attention. We were too busy talking about our choices of the perfect date (all I could think of was April 25), dating in general, significant others, jobs and life back home. Poor Kendra took a tumble on the stairs. Levi had at least 4 of our lady tour-mates and Šárka on the edge of their seats, laughing and telling who-knows-what kind of stories… That Levi… quite the ladies’ man!
We had downtime after the cruise during which I snagged a shower and a quick lie down, before we headed to the mall for a quick fast food dinner and then to a tour of the nuclear fallout shelter The bunker is 16 meters below the surface and was designed to save up to 5000 Czechs from the impending onslaught of the evil Capitalists. It smelled like mildew and serial killers. Though I am not generally a claustrophobic girl, I was ready to claw my way through all 16 meters of solid concrete. Not even Kidding. To make it more fun the walls are covers with gas masks and lined with dummies in full fallout gear. As you walk down the corridors, you’re just waiting for one of them to move… by move I mean: pull out a chainsaw and kill everyone.
Quick trolley ride back to the hotel to put on going out clothes and drop off coats and whatnot, and we headed out to the statue of Jan Hus in OTS to gather the whole group for a pub crawl. While we were waiting at the monument for everyone to show up, we watched this shirtless, Irish street-performer, wearing a kilt, do his act. I never actually figured out what exactly his act was, but I do remember him instructing some guy to hit something… When he didn’t hit it hard enough, he said, “Come on, mate. Hit that like it’s your little sister.”
We headed off to the start of the pub crawl.
[Bar 1] The first bar was serving unlimited shots of Absynthe, which is like drinking battery acid. After those, I decided to stick with the occasional beer so that I didn’t have to be peeled off the floor or end up in the news. We sat at a table in the back of the bar talking to some people that weren’t from our group for a while. UNTIL someone came running back there to drag us to the dance floor where almost all of the men in our group spontaneously took off their shirts and danced around like that for a bit. Then it was time to leave.
[Bar 2] Bar two was interesting. I mostly sat on a stool and waited in line for the toilet… where the light was out and I had to pee in the dark. When not waiting for the bathroom though, Lucian finally caved to Daniela’s and my demands for proof of the 3rd nipple that he told us he had in Berlin. We looked under clear lighting for a solid 7-10 minutes. There is no 3rd nipple. It is a freckle. Future Contikiers: THERE IS NOT A THIRD NIPPLE. He’s just a tiny English dream crusher. After that, Lucian tried to take Liam’s shirt off, which he politely declined by almost destroying Luc. Time to leave again.
[Bar 3] Bar three was a maze. Not amazing. It was a legitimate maze. I couldn’t find anyone. Aussie John, who I met in the first bar, kept trying to drag me into the dance room, where I did not want to be. My solution was to drag Daniela along so that I would feel more in control of the situation. Then she left. ABANDONED me. Or so I thought, except that it turned out that she sent Lucian in with some excuse to save me. Aussie John was presh, but a solid 4 on the clinger scale. I really wanted to enjoy this night out with my tourmates.
Okay, I’ve tried to be brief with the other bars so far, because the best part of the evening was the last stop, which was technically a 5 story building with a different place on each floor. It was also where we spent the most time.
[Bar 4] The top two floors were closed, but the floors we got to explore were Basement: techno dance house musik 1: Ice bar, 2: somewhere I didn’t spend much time, 3: oldies disco dance party extravaganza. We wandered for a bit trying to figure out what we wanted to do. Signed up for our time in the Ice bar. It’s pretty small, as cooling a large room would be quite pricey, and it’s below freezing(duh) so you have to sign up for shifts. Once it was our turn and we got in there we were provided with gloves and a gigantic, puffy coat. I loved this one. I finally got a break from sweating like a turkey on Thanksgiving, the bartender was gorgeous and had Daniela’s full attention, and I looked particularly good in the lighting:
I chewed on my cup just for fun, because I could. We spent most of the night dancing in the disco room. Our group changed throughout the night, but consisted of some combination of these people throughout the night: Daniela, Katherine, Liam, Brianne, Leticia, Kendra, Candice, Riley and maybe Josh. Here is what we learned: Leticia has no concept of exhaustion, Liam is a DANCE MONSTER if you feed him enough drinks, Katherine stays calm no matter what, Brianne knows the words to every song ever written, Dianela was an interpretive, modern dancer in a previous life, Liam is also THAT friend who videos people like Daniela when they do interpretive dance, and Katherine takes Daniela’s welfare very seriously, as a good friend should! We danced in there for a huge chunk of the night.
Once we were ready to go, Daniela and I started begging Liam and Leti, who made us the promise of, “C’mon, just one more song!” for a solid 2 hours. I’m so glad they did though. It was probably the best night out of the trip. When we finally peeled them off the dance floor, we were walking down the stairs toward the exit when we noticed at staircase that when past the first floor that we hadn’t noticed before.
What should we have done at 4:30 a.m.? That’s right. Go explore. So we discovered that the basement was actually a house music, Eurotec, dance apocalypse. Immediately, upon entering, I gave up leaving and we danced for another hour or so. I was so tired that I tried to lean up again the wall with my back while I was dancing. It was a great idea, except that the floor was soaked with spilled drinks. The result was me falling flat on my back onto the nastiest floor in the entire world. We danced some more and then we finally decided to leave.
When we left it was right before dawn. The last survivors were me, Dani, Liam, Brianne and Leti. Brianne had cut her foot earlier in the evening, so she and Dani took a taxi back to the hotel. Leti, Liam and I walked back through the strangely quiet streets with some rando who kept telling us his name was Quentin Tarantino. Liam HATED him, because his name was obviously not Quentin Tarantino. It was amusing, but we went ahead and ditched him for his dishonesty. We walked through Old Town Square, which is always packed full of people and we were the only souls there. We got to watch the sunrise over one of the most beautiful parts of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We walked home, all hand in hand. It was one of my favorite moments of the trip. Very humbling. Very lovely. Two people of whom I am quite fond.