I have officially been gone for two months! Who misses me!? ....... *crickets* ........ As this very helpful website likes to point out, my readership is way down! So clearly you all are tired of me and don't want me to post anymore...
I have greatly enjoyed my weekend in Prague with Shelley. It may have been the strangest mixture of events and random giggles that I have had since the end of my Contiki tour. Czech people are not boring, to say the least. I arrived on the evening of the 10th, and checked into Hostel Ananas. The reason for the name escaped me entirely. And in the morning, I made my way to the airport and received a big hug from a travel-weary Shelley. One cab ride with a swift-speaking Czech man later, we were at the hotel and more than happy to drop our bags and go for a walk to Old Town Square.
Obviously the square itself hadn't changed since I was there seven weeks ago, but it was furnished entirely differently. Where before there was a snow-covered open space around the giant statue, there were now dozens of wooden stalls set up for what I assume is an Easter market, considering the trees all had coloured eggs hanging from them. While there were lots of stalls, they all seemed to be selling the same things: meat, creepy witch puppets, cheesy souvenirs, and Trdelnik - a classic Prague street dessert. Trust me, it's delicious. However, i was able to give a quick tour of the square before we headed back to get our room keys and have a rest. That evening we decided to do a dinner cruise down the river, with a tour guide whose English was good, but who did not quite understand what she was saying, on one of many boats with BOATS4U in neon lights along the top. It was an amusing, very touristy evening. The highlight I think was when the tour guide was describing the architecture of the Presidential and Intercontinental hotels.. We think she was trying to say that they were examples of Soviet architecture, but instead she told everyone that they were "communist hotels". Personally, I doubt that is how they would like to be advertised. (However, apparently in Prague, some hotels do try and differentiate themselves while advertising, as one of them boasted about their very own fallout shelter!)
The next day we accidentally slept until 10:45am and missed breakfast. Oops. So instead, we walked back towards the square, decided against eating pork knuckle or goulash, and found a place to get some quiche and coffee. Then, it was back to the hotel spa for our Thai massages It was a bit of a decadent weekend.. Other than when the massage women randomly hit you (is that a common part of Thai massages?!), it was lovely, and I left feeling a bit noodley. A hot tub sounded perfect right about then, but when we were taken there we discovered it was barely lukewarm. But there was a sauna, so warmth was achieved. After that, dinner and the opera! "Turandot", the Chinese princess with a very high voice who wants to kill all men but ends up happily married twenty minutes later. It's a wild ride.
On Sunday morning we awoke in time for breakfast, and then headed for the chocolate museum. Now that is an entertaining way to kill an hour. First of all, free chocolate, which is always a welcome bonus. Then combine what would have been decently interesting, informative posters with horrendous spelling and grammar (don't roll your eyes at me, I've been trained to notice these things), and you get me giggling my way through the chocolate-making process. At the end of the museum section, there was a praline-filling demonstration, which is where I could not keep it together. Not only did the demonstrator forget to turn the machine on, he also dropped his gloves on the floor (which were cloth, not even plastic) and then put them on anyway and kept going... It doesn't really sound that funny now but at the time I could not stop laughing. The pralines were delicious though. After the chocolate museum was our walking tour from our hotel up to the castle and the monastery, and back down to Old Town Square. The highlight of that for me was definitely the libraries at the monastery. They were absolutely gorgeous, and I just wanted to go lay on the floor in the middle of them. Unfortunately that was not allowed, so I settled for pictures.
After the walking tour we had a snack in a rooftop restaurant overlooking the astronomical clock, and then went back to the hotel for a quick internet fix. That evening we went to the Bed Lounge, which was suggested by my Contiki manager last time I was there. It is exactly what it sounds like - a bar where there are big, comfy, bed-couch things instead of chairs. And they had a very extensive drink menu. At dinner afterwards, we learned our last lesson from Prague: always get the suggested side with your meal. Neither of us did, and while our mains were delicious, the sides were really really not. I'm not sure how it's possible to mess up corn on the cob that badly, but there you go. We decided that the chef was insulted by our flouting of his suggestions, and wanted to punish us. Oh well.
This morning I flew to London, where it was delightfully sunny. I made it to my hostel after another 4km walk carrying my backpack, and then went and sat in the nearby park and read my book. It was lovely. Tomorrow I am going to the Harry Potter studio tour, which might warrant its own post on here, who knows. But I am very excited. You're welcome for spoiling you with what could be my longest blog post ever!
Hugs all around. I miss you guys!