More Getting Lost in Prague

Trip Start Sep 15, 2006
Trip End Oct 10, 2006

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

MOOD: Antsy
SONG STUCK IN MY HEAD: "Get Back In The Line" by The Kinks
TIME: 11:14am, Sept. 24
PLACE: Simon's roommate's bed, Munich
LAST FOOD CONSUMED: Sandwiches from items I bought from a market in Vienna: Breadies brand Graham Geback rolls, Landjager sausages and Zwiebel-Schnittlauch cheese. Oh, and half a Milka hazelnut bar. But that was hours ago on the train and this morning I haven't eaten anything.

So, I'm missing a day in my write-ups, and since I'm starving and Munich awaits outside, I'll make this brief.

The morning of the 20th I got going pretty late after talking to an an older gentlemen at breakfast, an American named Danny who was road manager for a female-lead punk band named Boobie Trap out of Orange County, CA. They were touring Europe and were making the Boathouse Hostel their home base. I took two trams up to the castle and proceeded to spend a good two hours around there, climbing the 270 steps up to the "Grand South Tower" for a great view, and then down to the crypt, which wasn't all that interesting.

In the gardens below the palace and castle I came upon a very interesting photo exhibit comparing New York City of the 1970s to what remains of Pompeii, with the photos shot in 1963. Then I meandered down, choosing not to follow the logical progression of going through the old town's many tourist traps, but instead heading for Strahov Monastery, which a guidebook said would be a good place for sunset.

I never did find the monastery, but instead I stumbled upon a tower built in the 1890s, I believe, which I had seen from the castle. I went up to what I thought was the top, only to find that that was just the first landing. At the very top there was a group of Italians having a loud and animated discussion, which Italians are wont to do, and I descended a few steps so I could have some space to myself to enjoy the view, the fading light, and the church bells.

From the tower I took a funicular down two stops and wandered some more. Then I got on a tram to who-knows-where, got off at the bridge just north of the famous St. Charles Bridge, but avoided the St. Charles as I was planning on seeing it the following day. Across the bridge there were people dressed in finery going into the Rudolfinum for a concert, and I was very taken by the lamps in front.

At that point I was very hungry, and I came upon a restaurant in Josefov (Jewish Town) called Vinarna, where I had a traditional meal of pork shoulder with smoked sausage, kraut and bread and potato dumplings. It turns out that Czech dumplings aren't what we in America think of as dumplings. Instead of dough casings filled with meat or vegetables, these were slices of thick, boiled bread and potato, no stuffing. By themselves they weren't very interesting, but in the sauce and especially with this Czech version of soy sauce called Sojova that I fell in love with, they were very good. I had some 12% and also 10% .5 liters of Budweiser (the Czech kind), then made my way to Old Town Square, then to another bar for a glass of Pilsner Urquell, which isn't skunky like the version in the States.

I wandered some more, discovering the main street in Old Town, then kept walking, past the National Museum, finally stopping at a bar called Ztraty Nalezy, where I had another Urquell, then a Gambrinus and a glass of Fernet Citrus, which I've had in the States and it's pretty undescribable. You just have to have had it. The bar was closing by the time I left, and I guess I hadn't realized that it had gotten so late.

That's when I got very lost trying to find my way back (and I wasn't even that buzzed). I got pretty close, but by the time I realized that I'd missed my stop for the 17 tram back to the Boathouse, I was too far and it was too late to get back as the trams would stop running soon. Luckily, I got off in front of a police station, and they called me a cab. The English-speaking policeman had a girlfriend who's a cabbie, and I waited a good half hour for her to show. But even though I had to resort to burning through 350 Kroners to get back, I avoided the long walk back from the tram stop to the Boathouse, and all's well that ended well.

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