To Prague

August 17, 2011 - 2:20 pm No Comments

Another very early morning. I hopped across the street to get a pretzel-bagel thing, and the lady working the stall taught me (JENK-oo-yeh), which means “thank you.” Then a brisk walk to the station to catch our train.

Train through the Polish Countryside

We changed trains in Katowice (kat-oh-VEET-seh), a decent-sized city. Stretched the legs and snacked a bit before hopping on the next train to Prague.

Katowice Railway Station

It’s weird how, since the establishment of the EU, there aren’t really borders anymore. Countries just kind of blend into each other. After an hour, we were traveling through the rolling green hills of the eastern Czech Republic, and soon after that, the ornately styled buildings of Prague’s suburbs began to appear.

Our train ride ended with Frank and I singing “Ring of Fire” to a Johnny Cash-loving, non-English-speaking Czech woman sharing the cabin with us.

After arriving in Prague, we lugged our bags from the train station to our apartments a couple of blocks away. I’m cursing my decision to carry all of my belongings on this trip in a carry-on slung over my shoulder. It’s a pain in the ass to walk with. The others have oversized backpacks, suitcases with wheels, or best of all, oversized backpacks with wheels.

Frank and I are sharing a bachelor pad of an apartment. There’s a giant TV, a stereo system, and a miniature bathroom with a toilet, bidet, shower stall, and washing machine. There’s no AC (that would be too good to be true), but this is luxury for a backpacker.

We headed out for an orientation walk around central Prague. The ornately decorated, brown, gray, and mustard-colored facades are quintessentially European. A disproportionate number of Ferraris and Maseratis growl over cobblestone, and they don’t slow down. It’s a beautiful city with a magical feel, except for all the dogshit.

Dus?ni? Circle

Absinthe in a Store Window

The historical city center features a cool-looking astronomical clock tower and a picturesque cathedral, but it was uncomfortably saturated with tourists. As in every European city, kids chase pigeons.

Old Town Square

Jan Hus Memorial & Church of Our Lady before Ty?n

Detail of Astronomical Clock

At a pork schnitzel dinner with the group, Frank was amused to learn that “thank you” in Czech sounds a lot like “dickweed,” or “dickie” for short.

After dinner, Tomi (who should be a hand model) took us to a place called Unique Pub. Pretty cool setup, with communal taps on every table, numbers assigned to each seat, and a computer system to track the exact volume of beer consumed by each seat number. A large screen on the wall shows a ranking of all tables in the bar by total volume consumed and ranks total bar consumption with its other locations around Europe.

It took some tinkering, but Frank and I just figured out how to use the medieval washing machine in our room. Lucky, because my clothes were getting rank.

I just taught Frank what a “taint” is. Now, it’s time for some much-needed sleep. Tomorrow, more walking around Prague.

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