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.

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