August 25, 2015

Morning Memories of Prague

View of Prague from its mini-Eiffel tower.

I don't use an alarm clock, I just usually wake up at about the same time every day, and if I have an important morning commitment, I'll set an alarm, but I must store it in my subconscious while I sleep because in those cases, I typically wake up several times in the morning before the alarm.

I suspect this is why jet lag affects me much more strongly than E.  My body is fairly tightly tied to temporal patterns -- in fact, my internal clock is pretty damn good.  Most of the time, I can guess the time to within 5 minutes.

We got home on Sunday PM after 23 traveling hours.  I'd napped a bit on the plane, but was fairly tired, so I got almost a full night's sleep and woke for Monday's work day just a little groggy.  This morning, however, after going to bed around 10 PM, I woke at 3:30 AM and really couldn't get back to sleep.  I finally just got up at 4:30 AM and started taking advantage of the quiet time to be productive.

My plan is to head outside with my coffee and watch the sunrise.  In the meantime, let me tell you all about our weekend trip to the beautiful city of Prague.

Friday AM we got off to a bit of a rocky start, as I had some trouble finding the car rental location and for the first time in Germany, the English of the folks I asked for help wasn't good enough to get the job done.  I did my best to remind myself that travel always includes unplanned frustrations and logistical challenges, and eventually, after walking back to the hotel and getting a taxi to take us to the rental place, we were on the road.  Several hours of driving and sitting in traffic later, we crossed the border into the Czech Republic.  Immediately, all of the signs were completely indecipherable. 

The drive was gorgeous.  Tall spindly trees densely packed in woods where we imagined all the Grimm's tales taking place.
We checked into our hotel in time to enjoy dinner on its roof garden while watching the sun set.

Dinner View.
Later dinner view -- note the min-Eiffel tower.
The next day, we woke, enjoyed some cappuccinos and headed out for one of the best sight-seeing dates ever.  First we walked around the town near our hotel, visiting the Czech Senate courtyard and observing the craziness on the Charles Bridge from afar.

The protagonist in my most recent audiobook had raved about visiting the world's largest metronome in Prague and I was intrigued.  So we hiked up a hill and climbed many flights of stairs into a park and found it, as described.
That's a big metronome.

Ticking away in front of a skate park.
After enjoying the absurdity of the metronome, we wandered around the park a bit and found our way to a restaurant on the side of the hill with breathtaking views of the Vltava and Prague's many bridges near the old town.

Our unplanned lunch view.
I actually teared up a bit at lunch -- I couldn't completely believe that this was actually my life.  I was just so happy to be in such a wonderfully beautiful place, surrounded by various European languages, eating delicious food, and enjoying it all with E, who I love so very, very much.

Fortified with food, we walked to the old town and braved the crowds.  We were so glad we'd visited the metronome and restaurant first, as they had been calm and relatively uncrowded, whereas the old town and the Charles Bridge were a madhouse.

Old town square.

The oldest working astronomical clock in the world (since 1410).
We couldn't handle the crowds for too long, so we escaped back to the river and rented a paddleboat to paddle around and go under the Charles Bridge.

Paddle boats are surprisingly tiring. 

It really is a gorgeous bridge.
The paddleboat rental shop was also a bar, so after returning our boat, we relaxed at a table on the deck and sipped on big frothy mugs of czech beer to prepare us for crossing the Charles Bridge.  We made it.  Holding hands, single file through the crowds, with me leading because I will push people out of the way if necessary and E will not.

The second absurd sight I wanted to see was the Proudy (streams) mechanical statue by David Černý.  E indulged me.  Like the metronome, it was as described -- 2 men, with hips and penises that are articulated and peeing into a map of the czech republic.  Supposedly their piss streams write quotes from notable Prague residents.  Truly bizarre.  Fitting that it is in the courtyard of the Kafka museum.

After a short rest at the hotel, we headed out for our last big sight-seeing event of the day.  We hiked up yet another hill to the mini-Eiffel tower of Prague (The Petrin Lookout Tower).  Cleverly, the citizens of Prague decided they, too, could have a great view of their beautiful city from the top of a tower, like Paris.  But Prague has some large hills.  So, by placing the tower at the top of one of them, the lookout is very high, but the tower itself is relatively small (only 299 stairs to the top).

At the end of this awesome day full of sight-seeing and hiking (9 miles, including lots of stairs), we headed to an authentic czech food restaurant and enjoyed Pilsner Urquell with some wacky treats including pickled sausage and pickled camembert.  And finally, sadly, after a goodbye glass of wine enjoying the corner view, it was time to go to bed so we could start the long trip home.

Bonus -- Thanks to sightseeing runs and walks in Germany and Prague my weekly mileage was 38+.


Arvay said...

Not sure which I love more--pissing statues or the oldest working astronomical clock in the world. Both so awesome.

bt said...

@Arvay: Apparently Prague has some of the weirdest sights in the world. There's also the museum of sex machines, a huge statue of someone's ass that you can climb and put the upper half of your body into, and a museum of torture..

Arvay said...

Wow! I'll have to add Prague to my list then! :)

Layla said...

I was going to comment on the sites I'd like to see, but then I realized I would be listing everything in your post. I mean, really -- I would SO go out of my way to see a giant metronome. And I would hike up hundreds of stairs for a view. And bridges and beer and and and. Sigh, you are giving me wanderlust.

Cat said...

I flipping love Prague. Spectacularly beautiful. I miss Europe.

Biting Tongue said...

@Layla -- The giant metronome is awesome.

@Cat -- I can't imagine. *I* miss it when I'm not there. And I've maybe spent a total of 7 or 8 months there in my entire life.