Or rather, some adventures in Prague... And more about Rome, later.
27/07/2010 - 01/08/2010 23 °C
So, beautiful, beautiful Praha. I made it here thanks to a cheap ticket found on eDreams... and flying Smart Wings! Who knew of such things? There's a lot to be learnt from eavesdropping; remember that.
So, I arrived and found my beautiful hostel, beautiful in the fact that it is close to everything, is clean, very secure (they change the pass codes every day at 2pm, and guess who found out the hard way) and has a lounge area in the actual room! Private kitchen, private bathroom, Internet, wifi, seriously; hostel Rosemary had the works! Nice English people, then some VERY noisy and dare I say it, uncouth Americans, nice Brazillian guy that shared the mezzanine floor with me which I scored solo for the first two nights. And it's beautiful in the sense that it is in beautiful Prague! I mean, the only thing that could make this place better is if all my friends a d family could be with me here to share these moments, or if it was snowing and covered in powdery white. Or chocolate. But still, it is beautiful all the same. And keeping up with Europe's trend for beer to be cheaper than water, I have sampled some local ales, the *actual* Pilsner included. Very nice.
Today I watched two American girls out Gen Y each other as they graffitied the John Lennon wall, a place where John's face was painted on the 'once was white' wall the day that he was shot, accompanied by words from his, and the Beatles' songs - namely Love is All You Need, or variations thereof. So, one girl whinily explained that she DID in fact write "I am the Walrus", when the other girl scoffed and commented that "the last word looks kinda like Walrus..." Idiot. "No, I've heard the song.... Didn't I just say that I've listened to the song?!" Hilarious banter. You can't write that kind of dialogue. Meanwhile, I decided to add my own small scrawl seeing as everyone seems to be welcome, although, I have to say, that these two girls added terrible illegible giant letters to what was once a nice patch of wall... Yellow and blue words don't look good no matter how many times you try and outline the suckers in order to tidy up the miscalculated disaster. No matter; the government paints it white every now and again, but not so much after the end of communism. It used to be a meeting place of students and like minded people which would often result in demonstrations. I added my own demonstration of how I feel by taking my black felt tip Artline 200 to the wall and writing: "All you need is Jelly" and the date. I wonder how long it will take to disappear amidst other thoughts of love and peace and narccisisism? Speaking of disappearing, I am going to Berlin tonight on a very late bus, which means I have had one last full day of wandering in the streets of Prague and wondering in my mind.
I have visited the castle (and watched the humiliated castle guards that have their photo taken umpteen times a day. One guard had just finished a particularly gruelling barrage of flash photography, and he was once again by himself - I watched him pause, breathe in slowly and then let out a huge sigh... Classic. Poor guy.), been to a torture museum (fun decision), escaped the rain by having beef goulash with dumplings and hot wine (how can I resist a traditional Czech drink called 'Grog'?!), taken photos of the Jewish quarter, the dancing Fred and Ginger building (a structure that resembles Fred in upright steel, and Ginger in seemingly swaying glass), walked St Charles' bridge a number of times, watched the Old Town Square clock chime upon the hour replete with moving figurines and gawping tourists, remembering where I'd seen the astronomical clock face before (Science Focus 2 covers - thanks Kath!!), seen two films as they are cheap to Czech out!, made several puns, some new friends and some long lasting memories. Prague is like a fairytale land, and it makes it easier to feel this way with several locals getting about in traditional old gear and singing and dancing to quaint little songs. I have wandered the garden on the hill, visited a grotto of artworks by some tripped out hippie after a bad Sangria incident (him, not me), almost climbed the mini Eiffel Tower- but declined due to the cost (I'm not paying for that kind of thigh burn when I shall most probably get a better workout once I don my pack and walk 8.3km tomorrow), watched a little doormouse frollick in the long grass, watched bumble bees hover amidst the lavender. I have lain in the grass in some beautiful gardens, eaten a Czech sausage, been ripped off by having to pay for a whole buch of grapes (rather than the small half bunch that I wanted), had some crazy dreams, some crazily disturbing bunk buddies (who knew girls could snore THAT much?!). I have spent far too many pennies on having to use the lav, ALL over Europe in fact. Excellent marketing ploy, but badly timed all the same. By the time you reach your destination of the frequently signed W.C. - you'd gladly relieve yourself of ANY coins so that you may have the pleasure of relieving yourself. I think it's a ploy between Pilsner and the w.c. department. Beer that's cheaper than water and regularly sold in 500ml glasses as a matter of course, and then placing well signed facilities around the fair city. That and the constant flow of water in the beautiful fountains, the dronking taps and the running in the catchments in the river! It's a plot, I tells ya!
But really, who has time to sort through their change or go and GET change for the automated turnstiles in some places, especially when they are busting for a preverbial?! It's inhumane!
Another thing I noticed, Prague seems to be stuck in the 80's: music wise. I've heard bad dance classics and Paula Abdul that many times... And all accompanied by the glare of garish fluro sunglasses and sneakerss that seem to have resurged. Apparently, Frankie went - and returned from Hollywood. How can one 'relax' with these bright primary and secondary colours and juantily placed oversized brim peaked hats?! Worn by barely teenagers, no less!!
But, Prague was, and still is, I'm quite sure, beautiful. Just because I cease to be there doesn't mean it stops being an amazing city, although it might give weight to my theory that it was all a show put on for the tourists, and at night they remove the painted plywood facades and the traffic returns, along with the highrises and gawdy billboards... I overheard (being forced to listen to a loud phone conversation versus eavesdropping) an English woman complaining to a friend back home that Prague was kitch and touristy. And yes, there is an element of that, sure - in ever city in fact, but you just have to travel the city rather than tour it... That's the way I'm trying to see these overdeveloped, overpriced, overcharged tourist traps... That's what we're all here to see, right?! No matter if you've got the nicest roller luggage or the tattiest back back, we're all here to look at and or partake in these foreign activities and sights. The trick is to really see a place... it just takes a bit more effort sometimes; but a city isn't just a preacribed top ten. Much the same as life.
Whoa, I think I've had too much Grog. Sorry. Enough of that, now. I better Czech myself before I wreck myself!
See you in Berlin!