Bagel Shop, Petrin Hill, Carmen... a really incredible day

Prague Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 6 › view all entries
Prague in the rain
    Today was another purposeful day alone.  It rained.
    I walked through the town center to the Charles Bridge to cross some things off my to-do list. This city looks SOOO different in the rain. I almost think it looks better... more mysterious, and yet serene.
    I trekked through the increasing amounts of rain to the Kafka Museum, which was very long, but a very modern, interesting, well taken care of establishment. Another recommendation to prospective Prague visitors. Quite informative. Interactive. Refreshingly full of written English. Inspired me to write, in general (what else is new...). He wrote a lot about one’s location being suffocating and oppressive, which is something I feel strongly about.
Me in the rain, on the Charles Bridge

    Then I had to make a stop at the Bohemia Bagel, between the Bridge and Prague Castle. I planned this place into my day’s agenda because I had a card from the hostel I was staying at for 10% off food from there. Free and/or cheap things must be taken advantage of. When I got inside I ordered a bagel sandwich thing, and went to go find a seat. I sat in the last available table, which happened to be set for four. I got out a book and began to read, map the rest of my day, relax, etc. It was nice to have a break in all the chaos of traveling. This place had a very pleasant, safe, warm atmosphere. A few minutes later, something very cool happened.
Yep. (outside the Kafka Museum)
One of the waitresses came up and asked me in broken English if I would be ok if someone else sat with me, since I was alone at such a large table. I was uncertain of what she was asking at first, but did the usual smile-and-nod, and was greeted by a smiling girl about my age who sat down across from me. We sat separately minding one’s business for a while, until exchanges with the staff there caused us to realize that we were both American, and both students. We started chatting about how we both ended up in Prague, and I learned that she was studying abroad there for the summer. So cool. I told her that I’d been studying abroad as well in London, but that instead, I was at the end of my trip, and that I was going back to America in only six days.
Vojanovy Sady
“A whole year?!” she said. “Wow, I don’t think I could go away for a whole year!” Then she asked me who I had come to Prague with, and I told her, “Myself.”
    “Oh wow,” she said, again seemingly impressed. “You’re so brave.” Everything I said seemed to impress her. She couldn’t get over how independent and confident I apparently was. We talked for a little while longer, and then I decided to get going with the rest of my day’s plans.
    It turned out that I had lost my free bagel card, but I didn’t even care. Finally, at the end of my year away, I had this amazing feeling of accomplishment. Walking away from the cafe I realized how interesting it was for this to happen at the END of my trip.
The John Lennon Wall
In the first few months of being in London, I traveled to Dublin by myself (for which I made a separate blog). I was scared, and upset, and lonely. About eight months later with only four days left in Europe, I am in Prague, by myself, having an awesome time, and not at all concerned about the fact that I am by myself. This event had such a great impact on me, and made me realize how much I had grown, and I can only chalk it up to fate that this happened when it did.

    Pushing through Mala Strana in the rain, I went through a very lovely park called Vojanovy Sady, which ages back to the 13th century. I’m sure that it would have looked nicer NOT in the rain, but, whatev. It was still lovely, just like something out of a European romance film.
Some kind of festival
I also walked by the John Lennon Wall, which apparently had become the result of some conflicts between the secret police and the hippies. Sweet.
    Later I fell upon some sort of artsy children’s festival (falling upon things is the best). People were selling little arts and craft things and lots of kids were running around in rain jackets. I must say I have no idea what was being celebrated here, but the communal festiveness was fun all the same.
    I headed east to the gigantic Petrin Hill. After reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being, going to Petrin Hill was definitely of some intrigue to me. It took me a while to find the “funicular” to get me up there. The funicular is this elevator thing that takes you up the hill so you don’t have to walk all the way up.
The mirror maze that looks like a castle
This seemed to be widely recommended. It was pretty cool, and I got to see some really awesome views of the city on the way up. After I got to the top I didn’t really know where to go, so I followed groups of people to this castle. It turned out that it was not a castle at all, but a mirror maze that included diorama of scenes from the 30 years war. Short, but cool. Not sure if it was worth the money.
    Back outside I could see the Observation Tower, which looks just like a mini Eiffel Tower. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I found a lovely little garden to sit in, which I enjoyed for about half an hour. I was trying to take advice from the quote that keeps floating around here when you upload your pictures about how the best travel memories are those of sitting.
View of the city from Petrin Hill
So I sat. And absorbed. And it was extremely satisfying and peaceful.
    The eventual walk down to the bottom of the hill was quite an adventure. I figured that if I just kept heading down that I’d be doing the right thing. So, I took my time, sitting at benches along the way to enjoy the views. I know there is a great religious/ritualistic history in this place, but even without knowledge of that, this area is very obviously something very enchanting about it. I thought a lot about Tereza being sent up here by her lover to be executed by a tree. I became quite pensive about the trials and tribulations of my own life as well. I was probably walking and sitting and thinking and carrying on for several hours.
    Unfortunately when I reached the bottom of Petrin Hill and all of my thoughts and woes, I got very, very lost.
The funicular
Sure, I had a map, but I had no idea which side of the giant hill I had wandered down. I tried looking for street signs that I could find on my tiny map, but that was no help. It started to rain again. Naturally I began to grow frustrated, and ran around the streets trying to find the river for a rather long time. About an hour later the Vltava appeared to me, seemingly out of nowhere, and I regained some of my lost travel sensibility. I had a long walk back through drizzling rain to Old Town, and on the way encountered another festival on the islandish thing inside the river. These people like their festivals.  
    By the time I finally made it back to Old Town, I was completely starving. I went to a place called The Country Life that is vegetarian and organic (feels like home!).
Entrance to a pretty garden I sat in
It had really delicious, really healthy food that you pay for by weight. It gets good marks for being a place to feel comfortable eating alone. Well, either that, or I’ve been doing so much traveling and adventuring on my own that I don’t seem to care as much about being alone.

    In the evening I did something REALLY awesome!: The girls and I had bought tickets several days earlier to see Carmen at the National Theatre, and it was AMAZING. It was definitely one of the best musical performances I’ve seen since I’ve been away. Or at all, frankly. The performers, especially Carmen herself, were spot on. It was such a transcendence of art through language barriers. It was incredible to see Czech actors singing in French about a story set in Spain to me and my American, English-speaking friends, and yet, the story and the emotions were all there. I couldn’t think of a more fantastic way to end this day. 
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Prague in the rain
Prague in the rain
Me in the rain, on the Charles Bri…
Me in the rain, on the Charles Br…
Yep. 
(outside the Kafka Museum)
Yep. (outside the Kafka Museum)
Vojanovy Sady
Vojanovy Sady
The John Lennon Wall
The John Lennon Wall
Some kind of festival
Some kind of festival
The mirror maze that looks like a …
The mirror maze that looks like a…
View of the city from Petrin Hill
View of the city from Petrin Hill
The funicular
The funicular
Entrance to a pretty garden I sat …
Entrance to a pretty garden I sat…
Inside
Inside
The rose garden
The rose garden
A physical representation of my me…
A physical representation of my m…
Walking back-- Petrin Hill from ac…
Walking back-- Petrin Hill from a…
The National Theatre
The National Theatre
National Theatre Orchestra
National Theatre Orchestra
Blurry Prague at night
Blurry Prague at night
Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge
National Theatre
National Theatre
Prague Castle
Prague Castle
Bridge again
Bridge again
Prague
photo by: vulindlela