Thursday, June 30, 2011


We were so tired from our sleeplessness and excursions that we didn't wake up until 1 o'clock in the afternoon following the night of the 2006 year-end music mashups. Fortunately, our host was just waking up himself, and invited us out to collect pastries with him, his girlfriend, and another houseguest. The five of us strolled a few blocks to the nearest cafe and purchased various croissants and breads, before stopping by the local Russian delicatessen for some more unusual fare. From there, we set off for Malostranksa to explore a separate corner of Prague, on the other side of the Vltava river this time. On the whole it was an uneventful day, punctuated by our incessant meandering and aimlessness. However, we did stumble upon some beautiful sights, and will leave you with the following images:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Our First CouchSurfing Experience

After our mini-coma, we descended into the basement and raided the breakfast buffet for as much food as would fit in our stomachs. Satisfied, we decided to check our CouchSurfing profile for any answered requests, and were very excited to see that one man had offered to put us up for the next few nights. We shot a response his way before setting off for Old Town to deal with some passport issues at the Embassy. Upon finding it, we realized it was actually closed, so we decided to get a cappuccino at a nearby storefront and check up with our CouchSurfing host. We borrowed a phone from the friendly store owner and called our host. He told us to come over then as he was home at the time, so we rushed to the nearest Metro at Staromestska. Along the way, we were discussing the lack of interesting street art when Catherine spotted the remains of a piece by her beloved Swoon.

Upon retrieving our backpacks from the luggage room at Aparthotel GEO, we walked the two blocks to our host's apartment and ran into him just as he was about to leave for the farmer's market. We labored up the six floors of stairs to his dwelling and left our bags to join him, only to discover that the farmer's market was wrapping up. We bought some saffron pasta from one of the remaining vendors and walked back to the apartment to get acquainted. We talked with our eccentric host for a few hours, then left for the nearest park to enjoy the coming evening while he attended to some business. The park was spacious and offered a nice view, as well as some good trees for climbing, but what we found most interesting was the facade of a building along its perimeter. It told the tale of a spider and its prey in the usual Art Nouveau aesthetic.

We made it all the way to Old Town in our exploring, taking in the Eraserhead-esque image of Prague's central train station along the way. We quickly discovered that Old Town's center square was beautiful but also filled with tourists and attractions, and after having been warned it was a pickpocket's paradise, we held our bags close. We rested in the picturesque square for a while before making our way back to Vinohradska. It was a nice night, so we stopped in the park for a while. Despite the time, the park was frequented by walkers, some with dogs. As we chatted on a park bench, the serenity of it all was broken as a pair of dogs began fighting in the fountain near us. Their blackened silhouettes and the violence of water crashing and the sounds of their snarls, made for an odd exclamation on our day. We decided to cut for our host's apartment to call it a night, where we sat watching a mixture of top hit music videos from 2006 projected on the living room wall, ate cookies and edamame, and were lulled to sleep by our host and his friends conversing in Russian.

Our Introduction to Prague

We arrived in Prague at 10:50 in the morning on the 24th of June, after two nights without sleep and over twenty hours of seated travel. Despite the exhausting circumstances, we were energized at the prospect of having reached a new field for exploration. We were hardly even disheartened upon realizing that one of our bags was still in Copenhagen and we were without a place to sleep as our CouchSurfing host canceled our reservation due to unforeseen complications. Undaunted, we waited patiently in the airport for the next plane from Denmark to arrive with our bag, and eagerly began our search for a bed using the airport's tricky (and costly) wifi trap.
After obtaining our bag, we gathered our gear and ventured into town by bus, all the while marveling at Prague's landscape and the presence of graffiti on every vacant wall. We spent the remainder of the day wandering aimlessly in search of accommodation and stopping at every street corner to stare at yet another beautiful and well-preserved Art Nouveau facade. Striking images of medusas, or ladies with ribbons and flowers gracing their flowing hair were nearly commonplace on the buildings in Old Town. Unfortunately, our search was not successful - so we took turns sleeping on a cozy bench in a quiet corner of the airport.

Only slightly rested from our airport naps, we made our way back into town and straight to our first confirmed room at the somewhat shabby Aparthotel GEO. We arrived too early to check-in, so we left our burdensome bags in their luggage room and set off to wander the neighborhood and find some food. We were elated to stumble upon a beautiful little organic market a few blocks from the hotel, where we purchased some green tea aloe juice, a delicious almond and custard pastry, and some apricot goat-milk yogurt. We took our findings and beelined to a nearby park to eat, accompanied by oxidized statues and a storybook Czech lady with her ambling bear-boar dogs. After checking in, we took much needed showers and collapsed for the remainder of the day and the entire night.