First Steps & Getting Lost

I have to say that I am extremely thankful that my parents and sister’s family came to visit Prague when we landed….otherwise, Walter and I would have probably stayed in our apartment the whole weekend.
We walked into the apartment, quickly put everything away and then took a nap. 36 hours with only occasional one hour naps made us very tired. We were actually planning on sleeping from 5pm until 11am or later the next day…but my family wanted to meet for dinner.
So….we dragged ourselves out of bed, hand-wrote the directions to their hotel, and then got lost. VERY lost. Everything looked the same…all of the street names were longer than the alphabet…so many consonants next to each other! ….Vinohradaska, Pariszka, Platnerska, Melantrichova… Eventually we found my “landmark” that I had mentally marked – The Museum of Medieval Torture Devices, which was just down the street from my family’s hotel. Unfortunately, they weren’t there and I had to piggyback the hotel’s wifi to check my email and see that they were at a restaurant another 5 blocks away….yeah, we got lost again.
There are no grids to the city – at all. It’s just this giant mass of five-story buildings, weird one-way streets, dead-ends, and circles. Well, we did eventually find them…and then they wanted to walk us home…and we got lost. Noticing a trend?
My Dad’s phone GPS was telling us to walk along the river – totally insane and in the opposite direction of where we were supposed to be going. That GPS brought us through the Jewish Quarter and all around Prague 1 and half of Prague 2…and then we stood at this one intersection for 10 minutes. My Dad talking to the GPS lady…I was looking at Google Maps on my iPad.
Finally, I said, “Where is this lady taking us, Dad?”
No response.
“Look, I know where we are. We should go this way.”
And then I just started walking…but then it started raining. And unfortunately, my nephew (sister’s son) is seriously afraid of rain (which is totally funny in this horribly cruel way since he lives in an area with a literal monsoon season…I suppose more ironic than funny). And literally no one had umbrellas or rain jackets. And we were all way too stubborn and determined to turn around or call a cab. It started pouring, and my poor little nephew was on my sister’s shoulders crying and crying – weeping. He said he prayed for the rain to stop…and then it did stop. And he got so happy and excited. It was adorable.
Then, we walked through this super creepy park…I have to say, I am really dissapointed it is creepy. There is this awesome statue of Winston Churchill there that I love…but every neighborhood has one of those “creepy homeless, junkie hang-out spots”. Poor Winston Churchill.

The next day, we overslept again. But we were only 15 minutes late instead of 30 – bit of an improvement. Remedy for overcoming jet lag – have your determined and action-oriented family members visit at the same time and they’ll make you get over your jet lag.
We went to breakfast at this cute shop off of Old Town Square called Au Gaurmond.  They had really delicious sandwiches and pastries…and that morning, Walter and I realized something – food is cheap, water is expensive. For a 12 ounce glass bottle of water (just one – no refills), it cost almost as much as our sandwich – our delicious Prague Ham and Cheese on fresh baguette sandwich. Ridiculous. As much as we don’t like beer….we decided to take up drinking. It is literally so much cheaper.
With that same realization came the notion of buying a backpack with a camel bag or “bladder” to fill with water from the sink. The man at the sporting goods store was very informative….but then he laughed at me.
“Do you all sell bladders?”
“Those plastic containers that holds water?” (I made hand motions)
He literally laughs in my face. “Is that what you call it over there?” It was literally as if he was pointing at America. “I thought you meant bladder.” And he pointed to his own bladder and made a face. “We call it a camel bag.”
Yup. That does make sense. And that is what I had called it earlier that day…but I was corrected. Never again will I ever say the word bladder.
We then made our way to the infamous Charles Bridge and about an hour later, we got across and decided to climb this really old tower. I know I probably shouldn’t but I am going to tease my Mom a bit – she is so cute because all she kept on saying was how she wish there was an elevator in this 1,000 year old building and at any time the stairs could collapse and every time a stair creaked, she froze in place, her eyes wide in absolute terror. She would get to the top of a flight of stairs  literally crawling. Anyway, this tower had great views. The first photo on the left is the view across the river of the Charles Bridge and the photo on the right is an interior courtyard of my family’s hotel. The rest? Beautiful views at the top of a thousand year old tower.
Once we got down the tower, we wandered around for about another hour before we found this cave of a restaurant. Literally cave-like. It echoed so well that when my sister was in the bathroom (across the restaurant on another floor), she could hear our conversation as if she were sitting at the table with us. I ordered poppy with pasta – looks better than it was. Walter ordered schnitzel with potato dumplings (AMAZING!).
We did notice, upon receiving the bill, that the saran-wrapped nuts were apparently “on the menu”. The cost? More than my meal. Word to the wise for anyone that travels overseas: there are no free refills. Anything extra costs extra. Honey mustard? Costs. Nuts on the table? Costs. Little pretzels hanging on hooks on the table? Definitely Costs.

More to come soon-ish!!


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