Czech Republic: Prancing in Prague
The first order of business in Prague was again a restroom to change clothes and an ATM to withdraw Czech Koruna. At this point we were going on two nights with no real sleep and approximately 48 hours without a shower. Thank god for deodorant and toothpaste, amiright?
We found a little chain bakery that we later noticed all over the city called Paneria and immediately dubbed it the Czech version of Panera. We took advantage of their outlets and Wifi as we planned to attack Prague.
We learned from our Brazilian friends that they were heading to Prague the same day as us and they mentioned the hostel they were staying at. We were in the market for a place to sleep so we decided to Czech it out after we explored. No, I never stopped making Czech puns.
After consulting the paper map and the Google map we decided we had some semblance of direction and traipsed off under the weight of our god-awful packs.
The first thing we found was an open market filled with trinkets and fruit. We bought fresh jahody (strawberries) and munched as we perused the other offerings. I ended up buying some chocolate and earrings before we moved on to the astronomical clock and Old Town Square.
We bought tickets to the top of the clock tower for the equivalent of 3 USD (gosh I miss Prague prices) and LDL (Laura) and I dragged Gibby (Kylie) up the stairs. The views were incredible. The town stretched out before us in a mesmerizing panorama. We squeezed around people as best as we could with our giant packs and soaked in the sunshine and the scenery.
At that point it had been almost 30 minutes since we had last eaten something, which was tragic, so we ducked into a chocolate store where I bought dark chocolate dipped grapes on a stick. Things on a stick tend to just taste better sometimes.
We found a restaurant for lunch and frantically tried to do the exchange rate in our heads (apps are the best). I got a Caesar salad because I knew my vegetable days were limited and I should take advantage while I had the chance.
Once we were comfortably full and there was no chance of hanger setting upon our squad, we set off in search of The Mad House, the hostel the boys had recommended to us and where they were staying. After walking for ages and sweating through our old sweat (remember we hadn't showered since leaving Scotland?), we finally found it. And they were completely booked.
We wistfully went back down the stairs, because the place looked AWESOME. And I've heard it was incredible. So if you go to Prague, go to The Mad House. Just do it. Let me live vicariously through you.
Defeated, we searched for nearby hostels and found Chili Hostel about 5 minutes away. They had a 6-bed room available so we filled 3 beds in it and ended up with no roommates. It was in a decent location, but the bathroom wasn't too great. Only one shower/toilet combination for the entire floor. There was always a line.
We immediately showered and vowed to plan better for the next city, at least where hostels were concerned. I went into the trip trying to be flexible and spontaneous, but when a bed is at stake I've learned I need to know exactly when I get to be in it and where I need to be. We found a triple room for a decent price in Vienna, our next destination, and booked it with our Prague hostel Wifi.
LDL was the only one of us traveling without a Eurail pass so she had to buy her ticket before every train we took so we had a minor scare when she went online to book her ticket with us to Vienna the following day and found she had to do it 3 days in advance. She thought she was about to be stranded in Prague alone!
We immediately went to the station to remedy the situation where she was able to purchase her ticket and quit having a heart attack.
Along the way to the station we passed under a busy traffic road through a dark tunnel where I instantly got the heebie-jeebies and picked up the pace. On our way back it began to rain and we tried to take the tunnel again and found it blocked by at least three policemen. Oh.
We never did find out why.
We were still waiting on the Brazilians to get in and be ready to go out with us so we ventured to the other side of the city, across Charles Bridge. We saw Karlovy Lazne, central Europe's largest dance club, and I saw THIS, central Europe's cutest leather wallet. After some agonizing over exchange rates, I decided it was absolutely worth it and carried it around with me for the rest of trip at the bottom of my pack. It was almost a surprise to find it again when I got home!
LDL agonized with me in the leather store, lusting over a beautiful purse. By the time she decided she would treat herself, another lady had already snatched it up. So she looked around some more before deciding another style. The purse became a running joke in cadet squad, for that very same night it got rained on and she spilled beer on it. More happened to it in Italy, but I won't ruin it. Essentially, she could tell the story of her trip from the stains on her purse.
We wandered some more before snagging a spot on a bench outside of the "James Dean" restaurant and stealing their Wifi while we watched an incredible lightning show in the sky.
We finally heard from the Brazilians and went to meet them. It was really good to see them after nearly a week and a half! They started their European journey way before us. Unfortunately we honestly only saw most of them for 15 minutes maximum because all of our communication sucked and before we knew it the gang had left us and Gustavo playing cards in the kitchen while they went on a pub crawl. REAL COOL, YALL.
We tried to catch up with the rest of them, but ended up hanging out at the first bar instead. This is when LDL spilled beer on her new purse. She had only had it for a few hours. Gibby and I couldn't control the giggles.
We stayed there for nearly two hours, just talking and laughing and listening to some live music. It was really fun, especially since cadet squad honestly didn't go out and party very much during our trip. We felt much safer since a guy we trusted was with us, and he even walked us home like a true gentleman!
We fell into bed that night and reveled in the fact that we even had a bed. The simple things in life...