Day 2 (Morning – Afternoon)
I woke up on Friday and let my brain process the fact that it was morning. I wondered if perhaps the alarm set for 9am had failed, and it was now 11am. Not that it particularly mattered since we weren’t running on a set schedule, but I didn’t want to start out so late that our explorations would be rushed due to shortening daylight. A quick glance at Eliza’s phone averted my worries: it was 7:15am. After midterm week with stress and early hours, my body alarm was set to before-school-time. The bright sunlight filtering through the curtains may also have triggered my awakening. First Eliza then BreAnna stirred, and I watches as their eyes perused the room. Answering the morning’s bright bugle seemed like too much effort, and they rolled back over in their comfy beds. I considered bounding from the room in search of photo opportunities, but instead, I tried to study. I soon found myself dosing on my notes so I rolled myself into my bed sheets for more sleep.
Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien, the song from “Inception,” pulled me from my dreams, to observe Eliza stretching to switch off her phone’s alarm. 9am seemed suspiciously similar to 7am; our room was still bright, we were still blinking at each other, and the room was filled with us and quiet. Wait a second! Where was everyone else? Around 7, the glance around the room revealed at least one other bed lump, and there was shifting in the other section of the dorm. They were gone. Of course, it’s not like we were expecting them to wake us up. I had no idea what they looked like, and doubted they were concerned about our sleep habits. We figured they had probably gone to breakfast.
Breakfast in the hostel was offered for a small charge, however, we wanted to explore the food options around Prague. So, we paraded onto our street and returned to our usual clattering and chattering as we clomped off to locate a meal. We quickly located the Caffeteria (review coming soon, I hope), a Ferrari-loving shop filled with photos of cars.
After breakfast, we began to follow directions from a suggested 3-day itinerary that BreAnna located online. We modified the order in which we saw various buildings and areas to fit our preferences.
Our first stop was the Prague castle complex. From our hostel, we hiked up the cobblestone-lined hill, took a sharp right and continued hauling ourselves upwards. The view of Prague below us was wonderful, although, personally, I preferred the view from the Clock Tower.
We walked through the castle walls, past the guards, and into a courtyard. After a few minutes of locating our position on a map, we headed into a tunnel, in the direction of St. Vitus Cathedral. Blocked by a group of stunned tourists at the end of the tunnel, we started to squeeze through the crowd. Then we glanced up, and instantly halted, caught in the crowd of gaping mouths.
St. Vitus Cathedral’s Gothic spires loomed overhead. The Cathedral’s entrance was planted so close to the tunnel that capturing the entire church in a photograph was impossible. A photograph capturing both bottom and top of the church required circling to the right, where there was a greater amount of space. After several minutes of fighting crowds and struggling to take photos, we headed inside the church. Our necks craned backwards as we tried to take in the details. Intricate stained glass windows filtered light into the church, and arched columns swept above our heads. We weren’t willing to pay to circle around the church, all three of us deciding food was more important than a closer look. So, instead, we tumbled outside to explore more of the castle complex. We saw the old castle, a pale pink building stretching around the courtyard. Then, we located the St. George Basilica, a ruddy red building with white trimming and white towers. After learning that the Golden Lane required payment to enter, we wandered about the complex for a bit then exited through the palace walls.
We then went in search of a monastery, and while we found a religious building, I think we located a random church instead of the intended monastery. However, we were content with this, as it gave us the chance to examine the statues that lined the front of the church and take photos of the church from an elevated parking lot. By this point, hunger was bothering our stomachs, so we began tromping along streets in search of a meal. Down some steps, we were drawn to a restaurant with outside seating called Mystic Café (review hopefully on its way). While enjoying lunch, we noticed the sneaky antics of a pair of pigeons intent upon a bellyful of chips. There were chips upon each table, and the birds repeatedly fluttered down to the walkway and performed a Pink Panther skip/jump to the one empty table at the restaurant. The waitresses continuously chased the birds away ts-king at them, but after a few minutes, they fluttered down from their perch on the wall to make another attempt. One even crept inside to attempt a raid of the indoor premises but was quickly chased out. Finally, the pigeons seized a waitress-free chance and swept directly onto the table. They hurriedly pecked at potato chips, gaining only a few bites before a waitress discovered their pilfering and shooed them away.
After lunch we headed across the Charles Bridge and began an exploration of the Jewish Quarter. The exact synagogues that we visited are listed on Day 1 of our itinerary. Having no knowledge of the synagogues’ histories, but still in need of entertainment, I adopted the role of tour guide. “Welcome, thank you for coming along on this tour, I’m very new at this, and I hope we’ll get to where we need to be.” I started making jokes about my “tour group,” intentionally picking on BreAnna (she started this by saying I wasn’t very good), and proceeded to mangle the names of the streets and synagogues. At each synagogue, I announced our arrival, and we all took photos. Then I commented on my extensive lack of knowledge on the building’s history and directed us to the next synagogue.
Whenever our brief time at each synagogue ended, I moved everyone along with the words, “Shall we?” Before the Prague trip, it fit quietly into my speech pattern, but as a tour guide, I threw weight onto these two words, adding to my role as an incompetent, terrible tourguide to keep my group of two amused. Now, these words are stuck as cues in my language for BreAnna and Eliza, and whenever I say this phrase, I’m assaulted by rolling eyes and sarcastic grins.
As our tour ended, we decided to head to Old Town Square for some water and rest, and once again, I shuffled us forward with my characteristic, “Shall we?” The water and shaded park benches gave us an escape from the sun, which I’m near positive was responsible for half of my crazed tour guide antics. Noticing a candy stand, the three of us grabbed bags and selected multiple candies for delectable consumption. While sampling a few of our newly-purchased treats, we walked past the Church of our Lady Before Tyn, and wound our way to the Powder Tower, the historical entrance to Old Town.
We then set our eyes on the trek back to our hostel.
March 16, 2012
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