Wednesday, July 13, 2011

European Chronicles June 27, 2011

           We’re in PRAGUE! I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Prague, not sure why exactly, but as far back as I can remember it’s been on the ultimate “to do” list. Now, friends, I can put it on the “to done” list. Yeah! But…let me back up a bit first…

            The day did not start in Prague, but in a quiet dog-free house in Budapest. Street worker homeboys woke me up at about 0700 yelling to each other in Hungarian. I quickly shut the window and tried to get a few more minutes of sleep. I believe about thirty to be exact.

            Then I emerged from my room preparing to ready myself for the day. Breakfast, shower, dry hair—uh oh! Problemo!—in the middle of drying my hair I hear a funny sound, smell an awful smell, and look down to see red flames inside the hair dryer. BIG UH OH! I quickly shut it off and unplugged it. I let it cool down for a second and attempted to turn it on again (I know, I know, not a good idea!), but alas, my poor little travel hair dryer had seen its last day—dumb thing was young too! I wasn’t quite sure what to do about the mess of half wet/half dry nastiness on my head, so I concocted a semi-front French braid, scrunched the rest of it, and threw it into a bun—not my best look people, but what could I do?

            Then it was off to the races again (or the European freeways). To drive on the freeways here, you have to buy a pass (in each country!). We went to the Shell station nearest the house, and what do you know?—closed! Awesome. So, we trot on over to another Shell station, purchase some beverages and an autoplayamamateresa (or something like that), and head out.

            The drive wasn’t that bad, but it was LONG! Let’s see….what did we do to occupy our time? Mad libs, magazines, Kindle, the letter game (which is quite hard in different languages), listened to some gnarly music, a few pit stops, a few more freeway passes, lunch on the go, and after about six hours, we finally made it to Prague. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the GPS wanted us to go back to Budapest at one point along the journey—glad we caught that and corrected it before we drove too far in the wrong direction.

           When we got to Prague—three countries in one day is pretty awesome by the way—we were hoping and praying that the GPS had the correct address. The streets here are complicated to say the least, but we were overjoyed when we saw a sign directing us to Hotel Julian. We turned the street and saw the hotel—but where in the world should we park? We were told that there was a lot, but we couldn’t see one anywhere. We circled the block some, pulled in somewhere, and a dude started talking to us in Czech wanting money—guess that wouldn’t work. We circled again, pulled into what we thought was the parking lot, only to be told in broken English that it was not. Hmm… what now? Ok, drop us off Dad and we’ll check in and ask. Good news, bad news: good news, the hotel has a parking lot and she could open the doors for us. Bad news, we didn’t reserve a parking spot. Really? Travel agent lady was supposed to be on top of that! An email will be going out shortly. Good news, there was one spot left. RELIEF!

           Ok, we got checked in, found our room, booked a tour for tomorrow—so excited—and asked about an ATM and a place to eat. We walked a bit, got some cash (or crowns I think they call it here), and ate dinner. At dinner we looked at a map and noticed that there’s an Eiffel Tower replica here. It didn’t look too far from us, so we decided to venture over there after dinner. Bad idea? We headed in what we thought was the right direction, but ended up going up this UBER steep hill, walking toward something tall, not really sure where we were going. We decided that it perhaps looked more like a radio tower than the Eiffel Tower, but what do we know? We did not go any further, but ventured down and enjoyed the immaculate sights of the city! This place is seriously incredible. I’ve never seen such detail on buildings before.

          We then meandered back toward our hotel. Upon arrival, we decided to see what kinds of desserts the restaurant here had. The place was super rustic and had awesome decorations. I had a pancake with fruit and ice cream—which is really more like a crepe. Delicious! The only bad part—it took FOREVER! There was really only one lady doing all the work, and I’m pretty sure they had to go grow the grain to make the wheat to make the crepe. Really.

           After dessert I wandered up to the rooftop terrace—ok, how stinking cool is THAT—and Sam joined me shortly after. They played Whitney Houston and the like and we quite enjoyed the sights of the city below us. I took a few funny photos with a statue up there before retiring back to our room.

           Tomorrow we’ll have breakfast about 0840, be picked up for our tour around 0920, enjoy the three and half hour tour starting at 1000, and then see what other escapades we can get ourselves into. 

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