Thursday, 15 August 2013

To Praha, or not to Praha.

Twas a summery Saturday morning. I sat, sunlight beaming into the sparsely furnished living room, eating cereal from my not-quite-plate-not-quite-bowl. I had slept in a little, but was too excited to sleep anymore. The sky was clear and blue, as it had been pretty much since arriving in Czech, (think it had rained once by then) the temperature was set to reach the high thirties, my camera was on charge, water bottles cooling in the fridge, and I was wearing shorts. Today was the day I was going to Prague.

I had put this off a week already. Myeslf, Kate, Dale and Sam (the group of trainees I started with) had discussed going to Prague the week before. I decided I would wait and go the following week because that was when Mathilde was coming to visit. Kate and Dale agreed to postpone it a week. Sam decided to to his favourite thing: nothing. Unfortunately, upon moving into my new place, it became apparent that the internet didn't work. I had no way of contacting Dale and Kate to arrange a meeting place. We had vaguely mentioned meeting at 10am, but I wasn't certain about if they would make it. They didn't. As such, my trip to Prague became probably one of my more adventurous attempts to woo a female. 

The train was pretty packed. It also looked decidedly old. It is the only thing so far to give me that real "Eastern Europe" feeling. The picture below doesn't really do it justice. There were no open seating carriages: only compartments. Walking along trying to find an empty one proved fruitless, so we just sat in one opposite a couple and a teenager listening to his ipod. The couple spoke a funny sounding Czech. Turns out they were Spanish and weren't speaking Czech. The train journey takes 68 minutes to get to Prague: plenty of time for a snooze.

By the time we arrived in Prague the heat was almost overpowering. We stumbled around the main station until we found the underground. Obviously we wanted to make our way to Charles Bridge and then work our way further out from there. The only trouble with visiting a major tourist attraction in the middle of summer on a weekend was of course: the foreigners. Oh the tourists! For shame, I was one of them. Here in Pardubice I occasionally see an item of litter, but generally the streets are clean. Even the graffiti seems classy. Czech people seem to know how to take care of their streets. But in Prague...the bins were overflowing with rubbish. Fast food and water bottles mainly, and it got steadily worse as the day progressed. 

So there I am. Casually walking around Prague, slowly melting, camera battery using itself up, frequent stops for water, so sweaty it feels like I am wearing liquid clothes, and it dawns on me: I am just casually in Prague for a day trip. This is my life now. Well...bring it on, I say.

This was the view from where we had lunch. We were sat right on the edge of the river. I ate some delicious schnitzel with a bowl of cucumber salad. Just what you need in such heat. Their home made lemonade was about as refreshing as it gets, and the waiter looked like a Thunderbirds puppet. I didn't get a photo of him, but you would know what I mean if you saw him. It was fun watching him speak English and German to passers by who tried to sit down without ordering food. He did, however, give me a mystery plate of vegetable salad that I mistakenly ordered. Were I not so passive aggressive in my outrage, I would have done more than just think mean thoughts in his general direction.

Below we see a lorry that just drove about spraying overheating tourists with water. What a great idea!

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