Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A disclaimer

I hope I don't come across as complaining in my posts about Europe; I just like to emphasize the unfortunate things that happen because they make good stories. :)

Part of Prague

It was cool driving through Germany and the Czech Republic on the way to Prague.  It was funny, there would be all these signs/ads in German or Czech and then randomly one in English.  Germany had lots of pine forests, France had lots of fields, and when we reached Prague I found that it had lots of cool buildings.  The bus station wasn't in the best shape, though.  Because it had been hard to sleep on the bus, when we arrived at the station, a little before 6am, I was exhausted and couldn't wait to get to Nora's friend's house, where we were staying.  But that wouldn't happen for over an hour.  For one thing, the bus had gotten in a little early.  Worse than that, though, I had told Nora's friend the wrong time to meet us at the bus station.  I had assumed there was a time difference between Paris and Prague, and I didn't find out otherwise until right before the trip.  Consequently, I'd had Nora tell her friend the bus would get in at 7:15, when it was actually supposed to arrive at 6:15.  We had no way to contact her, so we just had to wait.

We sat inside the bus station, but it was still cold.  Around 7 the bus station food shops began to open.  I kept watching the people who came in, wondering if each woman was Lucie, Nora's friend.  At 7:30 the real Lucie came, and we took the Prague metro to her apartment (which was on the other side of the city from the bus station).  Once there we ate breakfast; I was so tired I ate with my eyes closed, practically sleep-eating.  Afterward I took a much-needed nap.  A few hours later Nora woke me up so we could go into the city center.  I was still pretty tired, but the sleep had definitely helped.

Lucie had the day off from work, so she took us around, which was good because I at least wasn't up to navigating a new city by myself (Nora was much more awake that day than I was).  Now that the sun was up it was really hot out.  First we went to the castle area, which was a complex of buildings (like a palace and a huge cathedral) and not an actual castle.  It was on a hill, so we had a good view of the city.  Later on we walked across Charles Bridge, which has lots of statues of saints on it.

I don't really remember a lot about that day except walking a lot and being tired, hot, hungry, and thirsty.  Besides Czech Lucie spoke Swedish and English, and since her Swedish was the better of the two, she mostly talked to Nora in that language.  Because I know absolutely no Swedish, I couldn't really follow the conversation, so I didn't always know what we were seeing or where we were headed.  Eventually we went to a pizzeria for lunch.  I was so looking forward to drinking a glass of water--but when the water came, it was fizzy water, which was pretty disappointing.  Apparently that's the norm there, and regular water is pretty expensive.  I swished it around to take some of the fizz out, and that helped, but it still wasn't the same.

After lunch we rode around on trams some and got gelato at one point (I had peach, which was awesome) and later got citronada, which was like lemonade.  At 5-something we headed back to Lucie's apartment.  We got back to her neighborhood after the long metro ride and went to the grocery store.  Although Lucie only got a few things, we were there for a while because the checkout line was so long.  When we finally made it out we went to the post office to buy stamps for the postcards Nora and I had bought in Paris.  Again, we had to wait a really long time, although there we at least got to sit down.  At last we got the stamps and went back to the apartment, around 6:30, and Nora and I both lay down and went right to sleep.

I woke up several times while it was still evening, once because there was a thunderstorm, but I always fell back asleep quickly.  I also woke up a few times overnight and early in the morning, but I ended up sleeping past 10am, and the only reason I woke up then was because there were lots of noisy kids outside (there was a school next door).  I must've gotten over 12 hours of sleep, maybe as many as 13 or 14.  I felt really weird when I woke up, but that wore off, and I felt so much more awake and alive than the day before.