Ahhh, the homeland. For those of you who don’t know (which I’m assuming is a majority), I am 37.5% Czech. When I texted my dad that we had arrived he said to tell our family we all said hello. Here’s, the thing, no one really knows anything about what little extended family we have still in the motherland. In my head I had an image of myself wandering around the streets of Prague yelling, “HELLO! ANY MACHAS AROUND HERE?”. That made me chuckle.
On our first evening there we wandered to Charles Bridge and found a restaurant that John, Laura’s second cousin who lives in Prague, recommended to us. I don’t remember it’s Czech name, but I know the English translation is Clear Head. It was a vegetarian place, which concerned me at first, but when we ordered, it did not disappoint. We shared the best hummus I have ever had. For my entree, I requested the age old, traditional Czech dish, a cheese quesadilla. Laura and I both ordered some coffee and split a small dessert-we needed the energy to make the mile and a half walk back to our Airbnb.
If it hasn’t already become apparent, I am a coffee person. Laura and I don’t really share words in the morning until we each have had our respective cups. This morning, we stumbled upon One Sip Coffee, and it became my favorite. We chatted a bit with the barista who made intricate designs in our lattes.
From there, we, shockingly, wandered to Old Town to see the Astronomical Clock Tower and again, it appeared we were up before half of the city. We meandered our way back down to the riverfront and found the detour that passed through the Jewish Cemetery and Synagogue district. You could see the history and hurt from World War II and prior in the cracks and moss that covered the area. There is a rumor that Hitler believed Prague was too beautiful of a city to bomb, but the city, particularly its Jewish population still experienced the war in every other facet.
The bridge next to The Charles Bridge tended to be most convenient for us, so we crossed it and headed up towards what we figured was the most efficient route to the castle. Not only were we wrong, but we got side tracked by a beautiful garden and building that we guessed was Senate or Parliament based on the Czech words outside that looked like Senate and Parliament. After cross checking with John, we really have no idea what the immaculately manicured garden's purpose was.
Then we began our real trek up the hill. We climbed step after step after step and eventually realized we were, of course, not heading up the steps that would get us to where we wanted to go. Whoops. After retracing our steps and finding the correct (none the less daunting) staircase, we plodded up and up to one of the most spectacular views of the city.
At the top of the hill we wandered past hoards and hoards of tour groups and tourists, past the changing of some guards or something official like that and finally got to the castle. The line was horrendous and we were to meet John in an hour or so so we marveled at the castle's exterior. Let me show you how spectacular it is.
When it was time to meet up with John, we received a message from him that his partner, Honza, may have ruptured his appendix. We obviously reiterated to him that showing us around the city was not a priority, but he ended up joining us a few hours later and reassured us the hospital said it was just kidney stones and sent Honza home.
It was a lot of fun to interact for a long period of time with someone other than Laura or Timo. Not that I could ever get sick of Laura, but ya know, John just mixed things up. He showed us how to use public transit and even had an extra ticket for the two of us. We went back to the top of the city (this time via tram... much more efficient) and wandered around there for a time. Then went back down through this gorgeous park and John's favorite coffee shop back in Old Town. It was the hottest day of the summer and Laura's and my shoulders fried in the sun. We were revitalized by the most refreshing tea (and I had some more coffee thinking we still had to walk home). The three of us got vietnamese take out and John gave us clear instructions and another set of tram tickets before we parted ways. Laura and I welcomed such a relaxing end to a busy day.
Overall, our day in Prague was packed and we didn't even really plan anything. We were surrounded by constant beauty and compelling architecture that we didn't realize how far we walked- over 14 miles according to Laura's Apple Watch. Hopefully that made up for the pastries and the burger and the coffees and the pho.