Friday, August 10, 2007

Pounding Pavement in Prague

This old communist-era apartment is being rennovated, so after 8am, all the hot water is turned off for the day. Yesterday, I had a shower by boiling water on the stove and having Karen pour it over my head. Today, I woke up early enough to have a proper shower, and had a nice quiet hour before everone else woke up.

We made our way with Vera, Emil and Raja to the main historical centre of Prague, the Prague Castle. We took the metro and then a tram. The trams were cool, runing quietly along the streets, and up the big hill to the castle. We got out and approached the castle, seeing the crowds of tourists getting thicker and thicker. We got past the formally dressed castle guards (evidently, it is still the official residence of the Czech president), and the crowds of tourists were completely overwhelming. There were hours long wait to get into the nice old gothic church. there were exorbidant fees to walk along the medieval streets filled with tourists shops.

Before getting too caught up in it, we decided to descend down the hill through the castle gardens (not too expensive a fee) and have a quiet respite for lunch at a little german-czech restaurant. The onion soup was very good. In the gardens, the kids picked grapes growing there (not intended for tourists to eat im sure), which they liked very much.

We then walked across the historic Charles Bridge, which is the main pedestrian bridge across the river in Prague. There are many massive statues of bishops and historic figures, like this one pointing up to the Prague Castle. The bridge was completely choked with tourists again, and we made our way off, into another historic square. Elwyn found a little gift for his grandmother in a Czech crystal shop, but the crowds and long walk had pretty much worn us all out.

We went for a quick coffee and snacks before heading to another park, well-outfitted with the same play things as found in most of the parks of Ladysmith. We met Radim, who got off work, and went back to the mall near their house for supper of gnocci. Radim and Vera took all the kids back to their appartment, giving karen and I a couple hours in the evening to shop by ourselves. Karen found a few nice things in the mall before it closed and we came home. Elwyn and Alden are really enjoying their new friends, all falling asleep together, though I fear they might all have picked up some kind of runny nose.

Spend the night talking about life, the future, and the past, looking through all of the architectural drawings Radim and Vera have had drawn up for the house in the countryside that they will be having built this year. It will be wonderful for them to make the change to this new place, i think the kids will love it.

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