But anyway, language barrier aside, Sam and I arrived somehow at our hostel (Sir Toby's=nicest hostel of all time), grabbed a map, and headed into town. Our plan for the first day was to just head into Old Town, which was where a large clump of the major sites were in the city. The thing about Prague, though, was that you don't really need an agenda. The streets all along the way into wherever you want to go are worth looking at and taking pictures. Anway, so as we slowly made our way into town, somewhat distracted by the fact that Prague may or not have been the most beautiful city I have ever been in, I took plenty of pictures and we saw plenty of tourists. Unlike Vienna, where all the tourists were Asians, Prague was filled with Italians. I have no idea why this is true but they all looked exactly the same: black skinny jeans, black jacket (with our without fur lining), and sunglasses. Guys and girls. I think the reason why I noticed the sunglasses bit was because it was not sunny in Prague. It was rainy and cold. But despite this somewhat important fact, sunglasses were everywhere.
We walked around Old Town some more and saw the famous Tyn Church, the Municipal House (above right), the Jewish Quarter (right), several more churches, and many many more random buildings- all of which were completely different and completely beautiful. Prague was different from Vienna in that every single building was different than the next. In Vienna, I felt like everything was beautiful but everything was white. Well, kind of eggshell. In Prague, though, there would be these long stretches of houses and shops, all connected, but every one would be a different color and style.
Disclaimer: this panoramic shot is horrible. Note to self: do not just slap together one of these things and think it will turn out when you get home. It won't. But anyway, it looks kind of distorted but below is one of the main squares in Prague and you can get a good idea of what the city was like:
We reached Charles Bridge, and the first thing I noticed was all the statues. The bridge had 30 statues, which dated back to the 18th century (according to Lonely Planet). The other major feature of the bridge is the people on it. There were insane amounts of vendors, artists, and street(bridge) musicians. We actually visited the bridge at several points throughout our time there and each time different musicians were entertaining on the bridge. Two of them in particular caught our attention and we watched them for a while. The first was this old-school style Czech band with all kinds of instruments-including this guy with 2 whisks and a washboard. One guy sang (or at least I think he was) sporadically along with the music. Pretty cool. The other guy, though, was the best. By far. Homeboy somehow figured out how to play champagne flutes not only one at a time but all together into songs like Stairway to Heaven, Yesterday, and of course My Heart Will Go On. Classic. Seeing as how all of my entire repertoire of piano playing resides in that one song, I thought it was only fitting to include it as a tribute to Mom and Dad and Laura who I'm sure love hearing it as much as I do:
The next morning, Sam and I met up with this guy who we had met through CouchSurfing and he was so cool. I am not sure if he was a gypsy or just in a hippy cult, but he reminded me and Sam of Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. He was this really serene, calm, peace and love kind of guy with long brown hair who showed us around the city. His friend came and met us, and he was really cool too. I think at one point he had dreads, but all that was left of those days was 1 very long single dread, which kind of stuck out of his head awkwardly. Anyway, those guys were really nice and that morning we had coffee with them and listened to Jack play gypsy music on his accordion. Then, that afternoon the guys took us on a whirlwind tour of Prague where we saw the Prague Castle, climbed the Petřín Tower (a smaller version of the Eiffel Tower- right), walked through one of the parks, had lunch at a hot dog stand, and went out at night to this completely crazy looking industrial music bar called Cross Club. The whole place had this weird green glow to it and everything moved- for example: in the foosball room there was this huge foosball table mounted upside down on the ceiling and all the players were spinning and rotating in slow motion. Crazy but really cool.
The next day, Sam and I made a trip to the
This past Spring Break '08 has been amazing in that we were able to go and do some of the things that I'd been wanting to do for so long and didn't think was possible (ex- the Vienna Boy's Choir). We met some really cool people traveling, especially on the Paddywagon tour, who have made me really think a lot about what it is exactly I'm doing with my life and where I want to go with it. I still really have no idea what my future plans are, but somehow I want traveling and seeing as much of the world as I can to be a part of it.