Coinciding neatly with my birthday, the boys had four whole days off this past weekend. FOUR. Kawika and Megan suggested a trip to Prague, and for roundtrip travel expenses of €30 we kinda sorta had to do it.
First, some birthday shots. We had a lovely Greek dinner with friends a couple of nights before. PC and I shared lamb on what looked like a mini torture device.
The following night, Brad and Erik joined us for a night on the town. Megan baked up a beautiful cake, and a serious dance party began in the living room.
The tall one printed out and framed some of our favorite engagement photos for our living room walls.
And then we headed to Prauge. Kawika and Megan researched and found us a nice carpool using the mitfahrgelegenheit service. It’s really quite convenient. Somebody is driving from one city to another. They have five seats in their car, and put out the word that for €10 a head you can come along. It’s like organized hitchhiking. The system seems to work pretty well, however, PC and me could not resist the opportunity to consider the ease with which a murderer/rapist/sex trafficker might exploit it.
All that aside, Brad, Erik, Megan, Kawika, PC and me all got to Prague and back safely and soundly.
PC and I have visited this city before and fell head over heels. This trip left me no less enchanted. We strolled through the massive castle complex ducking into St. Vitus Cathedral, the golden lane and taking a good long look at the window of the Defenestration of Prague. Then, leaving the others to enjoy the Lobkowicz Palace (which absolutely rocks) we struck out to find the teeny, tiny KGB museum.
Run by one small, rambunctious Russian man, every surface, wall, shelf and hook was covered in KGB paraphernalia. Weapons, outfits and other gadgets were eagerly shoved into our hands with the encouragement to pose and take pictures. This guy just bounced around giving us terrific little morsels of information. However, with no assistant, and no organized “tour” times, our energetic leader had to leave and attend to any arriving visitors, then race back to us to try and pick back up on gulags. The guy really needs an assistant.
We learned about female KGB snipers, prisoners tattooing Stalin on their chests (hoping their captors would be less willing to shoot Stalin’s face-they weren’t), and Stalin’s scarf-a small piece of barbed wire made to easily saw off an enemy’s head, leg whatever. With a few tweaks, the museum could really become a special little attraction, but it needs another employee and a tighter tour itinerary.
We met back up with the others for some food and an evening excursion.
I really wanted to go full-on tourist mode and try Absinthe prepared the Czech way. A flaming sugar cube on a slotted spoon balanced atop the glass dripping caramelized sugar into the spirit below. We were told that the sugar would take the edge off of the absinthe. We took a sip…
It was easily the most unpleasant thing I’ve ever drunk.
How is this a mass produced beverage? What does it taste like without caramelized sugar? Why God why would anyone drink this for pleasure??? Each of us decided that while we were glad to have tried it, we would be quite happy to live out our lives without tasting it ever again.
After that fairly harrowing experience, we continued our ramble through the town enjoying the open streets, and steering clear of any rowdy pub crawlers. We wound up at the Charles Bridge in all its sparkly, nighttime glory.
The next day, more strolling and enjoying a bit of sun on a chilly day.
After gawking at the Fred and Ginger building, we found the Lennon Wall.
The story goes that during communist times, somebody painted John Lennon’s face on the wall. Then more young people wrote Beatles lyrics, and critiques of the state on the wall. When the secret police, and the authorities painted over it, the young people quickly flocked again to reapply their messages of discontent and hope.
Then we went on a little spree at Marks&Spencer filling our backpack with sausage rolls, chocolate ginger biscuits and salsa verde while getting rid of our last few Czech Korunas.
Till next time Prague. Oh, I can’t wait till next time.