Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Day After New Years

My short-lived hiatus from recounting my Prague adventures is due to a serious addiction to television drama. The two culprits being LOST and Entourage. But now that I have my fix and am caught up to date with both shows I can pick up where I left off.

Immediately upon waking up I felt what I assume the majority of people feel after a great New Year's Eve, hungover. We manned up though and got ready for our delicious breakfast at the hotel. This was my favorite breakfast because the old man who owns the hotel taught me a valuable lesson. When he was clearing my plate he told me to keep my knife. I didn't quite understand, but he explained that in Czech there is a saying that, for your own defense, you must never sit at a table with a woman without a knife. I just chalked it up to one of those cultural differences that just doesn't make sense directly translated and continued with my breakfast after he entered the kitchen. What happened next had me laughing to tears. The old man comes roaring out of the kitchen with a GIANT butcher knife, about as long as my forearm, saying, "See!? I work with wife so need much bigger knife for respect!" And then his wife comes chasing after him out of the kitchen with a big meat tenderizer with a jokingly fierce look on her face. It was one of those experiences that feels half dreamed, thanks to the hangover and just having woken up. They were great people though and I'm glad we had the pleasure of staying with them.

We took a short nap after breakfast because we knew facing another day of tourists and cold would just be miserable hungover and tired. Since it was our last full day in Prague we went souvenir shopping and found some ok deals at the big street market. Feeling hungry not too long after we shared a medium pizza at this sketchy Greek restaurant. I think we were both just tired of the people and all the hustle and bustle, so we took the tram over to the Little Quarter for a much needed escape from the big city feel. This quarter of town I imagine would be perfect in spring or summer. There are plenty of parks and you can walk along the water admiring the beautiful buildings of the Old Town from a distance. It was too cold to really enjoy the outside but it was a very mellow atmosphere, as if this part of town was recovering from a collective hangover. It was a good change of pace. We saw the Charles Bridge (the opposite end from where we were molested) and decided to try our luck. It was awesome. The statues are impressive, there are way fewer people, and the stroll was just great. We walked up the the castle again to take some more pictures before stepping into a tiny restaurant for dinner. As it turned out we were once again surrounded by Germans, but this place ended up being very worth it. We had some good dark beer (to cure the hangover of course), and I had rabbit with spinach and some potato dumplings. The food was so good, and we had a total of four beers, an appetizer, two entrees, and desert for less than $30.

After saying goodbye to Prague and one more night at our hotel we took a taxi to the airport the next day for our early morning flight back to France. When we arrived, guess who was parked right next to us in the taxi station... the crazy cab driver from New Year's Eve! There is no way we could have mistaken him, just a small world.

Before we left our hotel, our gracious host told us about life under communism and gave a stern warning. He said we have to be careful and watch out for China before they move in, take control of the US, and make us all communist! I know they own a large portion of our national debt, but if China takes over I'm moving to Prague, where all I need to command respect is a giant knife.

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