Bagel Shop, Petrin Hill, Carmen... a really incredible day
Prague Travel Blog› entry 5 of 6 › view all entries
June 3rd, 2007 – by: Maureenie
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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