Romance in the city of a hundred spires

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Flag of Czech Republic  ,
Monday, June 25, 2007

Arrived at Prague, quite tired and went to our hostel- the Clown and Bard, very much a party hostel and naturally we proceeded to drink at about 5pm in the built in bar (the barmaid said Poveys train looked like it had been drawn by a five year old, whereas she said mine looked like it had been drawn by a 15 year old-haha! one-nil, ish), I got totally wankered and Povey had to carry me to bed (but only after I had beat a bloke at chess about three times while blind drunk).  Woke up about 5.30 the next morning and found Povey asleep on the floor- someone had taken his bed, we took the tram into the city, wandered through Wenceslas square, the Old town square, the jewish quarter and of course charles bridge (Povey was very hungover, very hungry and very tired, as the photo shows).  We eventually made it up to the castle, where we watched what I assume are the Czech presidental guards on parade, pretty cool- after that we took a look at St Vitus Cathedral before heading back across the river and getting exceptionally lost,. luckily we found a nice cafe and had breakfast before finding our way back to the old town square (my favourite part of Prague by far).  We then booked into a new hostel (the one me and briggzy stayed in last time) because it was a hell of a lot closer to the city centre and all the action.  Once we were checked in we sent and sat at a cafe outside St Nikolai cathedral where Anniken and her choir were singing (The Prague part of the trip was all about seeing her/and showing pove a new country- in the end he preferred Krakow, but still fun).  I sipped a beer and watched the horde of Norwegian girls approach the church (I should mention at this point that Annikens mother isn't exactly my biggest fan, see my entry for Oslo in this blog or the last few entries in my "first crusade" blog for more  on this), anyway- her mum is friends with the choirmaster and I got the impression it was best she didn't know I was there.  Anyway, saw Anniken, we had a quick hug before she went into the church, me and Povey weren't sure how long it was going to be, and not being church going folk we decided to hold our position at the cafe.  (I realise not going to listen to a choir in a Bohemian church adds to my already massive reputation as a philistine, but meh).  Eventually (well half an hour) later Anniken and her choir emerged and dispersed- Anniken, her stepsister Sussanne and her friends Line, Trine and Karoline came over to us.  I hadn't seen Anniken since October so we just held each other talking, with her taking sips of my beer, Povey meanwhile ordered a jack daniels at about 2pm.  All of Annikens entourage soon went shopping, so me, her and povey went back to our new hostel.  Povey, diplomatically, went to sleep.   When he woke up a few hours later he found me beating Anniken at chess.  About 7pm we had to take Anniken back to her choir group in old town square. Once we had said our goodbyes we started our search for a decent alehouse.  About five minutes in my phone rang.  It was Anniken, the choirmistress and the other adults accompanying the choir were eating somewhere else, so would we like to join them at an all you can eat Italian pizzaria? Naturally we did- so we met up with Anniken and went to dine with her choir, I was left to wonder what any other Englishmen would have thought, two lads from Staffordshire eating with about 20 17-21 year old Norwegian choir girls.  In the end we didn't eat that much, but it was still fun and we walked back to the old town square, visited a few cocktail bars (one had fruit in jars on the bar, forgot its name and the Tomtom bar, in which Povey drank liquid fire to the amusement of the locals) and went to sleep.
   The next day we woke up a little later than usual (I had promised the Pove a lie in), we wandered across to Wenceslas square and into the museum to watch Annikens choir (despite Poves best efforts we still had to pay the admission fee).  They were pretty good, Pove was drawing a lot of attention to himself (his logic being "they're looking for you, not me"), we then met Anniken and her mates outside, had some dinner, then some dessert (Pove drank six shots with his tea, I just had a Budvar dark).
  Sadly Annikens choir were doing something that evening, so me and Povey decided it was beer o'clock and wandered to the Bombay cocktail bar, the choice of beer was poor, but I treated myself to a few Pilsner Urquells.
       We then wandered over to a takeaway, where we ate some terrible food- then across to the George and Dragon pub (the English pub in old town square)- I was surprised to see it was ran by a rather drunk Czech to was shouting/singing in equal measure.  Then up to the hostels own bar, seemed pretty quiet, so we only had one in there.  Then down to a local pub just down the street- we should have guessed there was going to be trouble when Povey spotted two deaf people arguing using sign language.  Anyway, ordered our drinks and sat down and before long two angry looking Czechs came over (well, most Czechs look angry)- there was the smaller older one (who spoke more English (amounting to about 7 words) and overall appeared to be the brains of the operation),and the larger one who spoke no English who proceeded to shake Povey a bit.  Its kind of hard to talk your way out of a situation with someone who doesn't speak your language.  Fortunately the older man said something to him in Czech and he stopped.  The older man then asked us what our football team we supported- "What your team?" (the younger bloke yelled "Sparta Prague" repeatedly).  Povey said "Leek town", which of course didn't work because they'd never heard of it.  I just said "Stoke city", at which point the older mans eyes lit up (the younger bloke just walked away, sort of bored I guess) and he started saying "Sir Stanley Mathews!!..King of England!!!!!! goals!!! King of England!"- this went on for a good 5-10 minutes and I was left wondering why he only knew such a random assortment of words. Eventually he got bored- I got the impression he had more to say but lacked the English to say it (which is a good thing, because I know close to nothing about Stanley Mathews or indeed Stoke city).  He wandered off as well, the younger guy came back and started yelling "Sparta" until we both said it back.  Sorted- we drank up and promptly went across to the Tomtom cocktail bar where we proceeded to write top quality poetry in Poveys notebook for all our friends- including such hits as (and I must emphasise most of these were Poveys creations);
      (For our mate matt)
                   Oh Matt, what can I say
                  Greatest guy in the world this day
                  Heart as big as a moat
                   Wish I had a boat
                   I hate that cat
                  But I love you Matt.
I would say this provided a good argument for the theory that drunk people are more creative, but it would be a blatant lie wouldn't it?.
I'll post some more when I get some time.
   Anyway, after a while we both agreed we were drunk, so we went to bed.
Woke up the next morning (both ours and Annikens last day in Prague), we met her as she was looking at postcards.  We then wandered around for a bit- painted our names on a brick (all proceeds to charity) and had some dinner, then I had to walk her to where she was meeting up with her mates (her choirmistress apparantly knew I was in Prague, but there was nothing she could do about it).
  Oh, also, while we were walking down a street. Povey met someone he knew from Leek, what are the chances?.  Anyway, said goodbye to Anniken- me and Pove visited the Prague museum (got a cool mammoth and more stuffed animals than Beatrix Potter- but I wanted a bit more about Bohemian/Czech history- Charles the Fourth (someone the Czechs attribute everything in history to) surely deserves more of an exhibition about the man who built a bridge, the city walls (well, he made his people do it to earn food because they were starving- we should perhaps implement a similier policy) and according to a pancake menu, invented pancakes.)
   Left the museum, had a few last drinks in the tomtom bar, caught a taxi to the airport (he stopped in the middle of suburbia at one point- bit unnerving)-had some food, sat in the exact chairs me and Briggzy did before, met Poves mate from Leek again, and eventually flew home- I had work at 7am the next morning.  Good times.
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