Friday, November 8, 2013

Chelsea in Prague Part II

Saturday - Sunday, November 2 - 3

We took the metro into the city and headed for the big castle in Prague. I wasn’t entirely sure what the best places to see in Prague were, despite having a convenient guidebook provided for us by our host. But, I always like a good castle so that seemed a good place to start. We navigated the metro (which was pathetically small - only 3 lines!) and ended up on the southeast side of the castle grounds.

We walked up quite a hill towards the castle, a little unsure of where exactly we were and what we were looking for. We walked for a while and I realized that I was absolutely starving. I’d eaten breakfast, but it was a while back and I’d had nothing to give me energy (Romeo continues to attempt to get me addicted to coffee... I continue to resist adamantly). We decided to make for a restaurant we had seen recommended in the guidebook, which was located on the opposite side of the castle.

After a good 10-15 minutes of (strenuous) walking, we finally made it to the actual castle! It was pretty formidable to see up close, but the surroundings made it hard to get a good view of it. You couldn’t get a good enough distance to get the whole thing in your camera’s lens, and your neck hurt from looking up so sharply. However, it was pretty cool!

We got as good of photos we could, then my greatly diminished energy levels prompted us to turn our attention to food. We would probably have skipped the tour of the castle anyway, due to the price, but my need for some sustenance made the decision much easier. We continued our walk west and finally found the restaurant we had been looking for. 

It was an Asian restaurant, combining Thai, Chinese, and Vietnamese dishes. The interior was slightly underground and the lighting was extremely dim. Despite it being mid afternoon, the small windows near the ceiling were blocked, so we could only see by candle light. It was a nice atmosphere, but strained my eyes to read the menu. Upon a recommendation from our waitress (who sported blue hair), I ordered the pad thai.

When the food came, both our jaws dropped at the sight of such a huge plate of food. It was piled high with layers of food. After removing half the garden from the top of my plate (mostly it was sprigs of some kind of herb, I’m sure), I finally got a bite. I would swear that this was the best pad thai I’ve ever eaten in my life. It was delicious. I ate as much as my stomach could handle, shared some with Romeo, and still the plate was not empty. We were both stuffed as we left.

When we left, twilight was starting to set in. The time change that happened a week ago was really taking its toll on us, as most of the time our days didn’t even start until noon or so. Four and a half hours of daylight isn’t enough! (Yeah, I know we could have gotten up earlier and gotten out earlier, but we’re on vacation okay!)

Anyway, we decided to head for the Old Town to see the Astronomical Clock (which is a big deal for about 60 seconds once an hour when it rings) and to get some dessert at a recommended bakery. After getting a little more money converted, we headed there and got some nice views of the castle from across the river. 

As we walked through the Old Town square, we saw a man riding one of those old school bikes with the huge front wheel and tiny back wheel. With Romeo being a huge bike nerd, I knew we had to at least pause and watch the guy. After a minute of riding in a circle, the guy hopped off and started to chat with some spectators. He encouraged some girls to ride it, but everyone declined. He amicably took some photos with onlookers, and I kept pestering Romeo to try to ride it. He was hesitant, but I finally convinced him and the man cheerfully showed him how to get up and peddle.

Romeo got up fine, and the man kept a hand on the back of the bike as he peddled, but Romeo still nearly got horizontal with the ground at one point (well, maybe not that bad, but he did tilt a bit at one point!) Romeo steered it back around and hopped off. I caught all of it on camera with his GoPro, so we have proof that he has now ridden one of those kinds of bikes (which probably have a real name but I don’t know it!)

After this amusing sidetrack, we found the Astronomical Clock and got into a good position to watch it when it struck the hour. I’d read that it is a lot of hoopla about nothing. The 12 disciples are shown through a window atop the clock, and it plays some music and stuff. I think there are probably more interesting aspects to it, maybe about the inner workings of the clock itself, but it was just a touristy attraction and it was over very quickly. 

We then walked down the road to Bakeshop, which is exactly what it’s name implies. On the way, we saw a very interesting art installation made of lots of cubes of shiny metal, the image which is indiscernible from some angles, but from the correct one you can see it is a pregnant woman on her knees with her legs spread and her hands behind her head. You can see her big belly and boobs. Of course, we had to take a ridiculous photo (Romeo being “born”) and witnessed others giggling like school children at the crazy statue/thing.

Anyway, at Bakeshop, we each got a piece of cake. I got Devil’s Food and it was crazy delicious! Romeo had carrot cake. The slices were pretty expensive, but they were so delectable, and we had been saving a lot by cooking recently, so I splurged. 

Once we finished up, we headed back to the flat and enjoyed another low-key evening playing cards and having a drink or two. So far, Prague had been good but I was still feeling so drained of traveling that I wasn’t really appreciating things like I should. We hoped to rest up the next day, as the forecast predicted a lot of rain. Goodie, rain, my favorite......... -__-

The next day was extremely uneventful. We woke up late, looked at the weather, and decided not to do anything. Well, nothing touristy or cultural. We did decide to go to the movies and see Ender’s Game. I was about 3/4th way through reading the book (I was the rare child that did not read it in freshman English), but the other options were pretty weak, so I decided to see it despite not having finished the book.

All in all, it was a good movie. I much prefer the book (which I finished within a day of seeing the movie), but it did a good job with what it did. It left out a lot, and changed some details, but it was still pretty good.

After the movie, we once again rationed our remaining funds to be sure we had enough to get to the bus the next day, and determine how much extra we could spend on food. We ate at the flat that night, making the rest of the pasta we had and basically polishing off everything else we had. It was good but, despite being full, I was sad not to have more. I think I just hate being so low on money that there is no possible alternative. I like to have choices, even if I choose free or cheap. Does that even make sense? 

Well, being that that was about all we did, I’ll wrap this blog up. In the next entry, Romeo and I take our final bus ride back to Frankfurt, and in future entries will come Iceland adventures, New York adventures, and maybe some Texas adventures (finally!) So stay tuned.

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