Tonight, after 7 hours of lone wandering around the city, was the first time I thought, “I don’t want to go back to the flat yet, I want to stay out.” But my back and feet were killing me, and I had too much crap I was carrying. I couldn’t get the keys they gave me to their flat to work (as they weren’t home either) and feared being trapped outside with an exploding bladder. Luckily another tenant in their building was coming in, and he let me in. Then I couldn’t get the door to their actual flat open, but luckily their neighbors across the hall were just coming out of their flat, saw me standing there looking peeved with cell phone in hand and said that they should be home. I explained that they weren’t, and I was their guest and couldn’t get the door unlocked… they got it open for me. Gosh, these people sure are trusting! So, today I:
- Bought a pair of really cool brown lace-up boots that look kind of Nordic. I also had a gorgeous coat in my hand that was on sale but I didn’t have enough on me to pay for it. So I asked her to hold it while I ran to the autobank and in that amount of time decided I shouldn’t spend the money on the coat. I didn’t NEED it… but it was SUCH a nice coat… sigh.
- Did another 7 hours of walking on my own and developed moderate lower back pain. My feet hurt, too, but I’m used to that by now.
- Took two rolls of pictures (I’m praying the night shots turned out).
- Went into a touristy souvenir shop to buy a “CZ” sticker for my car back home where I chatted with a rather handsome & flirtatious Bulgarian guy. A girl, all alone in Europe… of course, the attention was nice. He acted impressed with my (extremely) limited Czech. He then told me that his Czech was ok but his English was perfect (to his credit, I could find no fault) and he laughed over-exuberantly when I said “good night” in Czech and then added a “good bye!”
- Found a gigantic bookstore where I bought three books – two by Czech authors and one by an Italian who lived in Prague all about the magic, history, and allure of Prague.
- Went to the Museum Cafe at Vaclavske Namesti to drink coffee and read one of my new books. I successfully ordered a macchiato and water in Czech, and continued the success by asking for the bill, then paying in Czech. Here, you don’t really tip. You just round up the bill (if it’s 65, leave 70 crowns). They don’t work for tips here. (Currently the Czech Krown is about 1 to 28 US dollars.) When you ask for the bill, they come over and calculate it at your table, show you how much it is, then you tell them how much to take (if you give them an amount that will require change.) For example, my bill was 64 Krowns. She showed me my bill and then was very patient with me as I pulled out a 100 Krown note and carefully pronounced “Seventy” in Czech. I felt shitty for leaving such a small tip, but it’s the local way, I suppose. She nodded, smiled, and gave me back 30 Krowns. To stay on this Czech roll I was on, I said Good Night! in Czech and continued on my way.
- Realizing I was starving, I stopped in for dinner at a Chinese restaurant. The waiter didn’t seem to understand much Czech OR English, but I muddled through.
- I saw a real, live model. She was down towards the divadlo (theater) – I only noticed her because she was autographing a man’s Cosmopolitan magazine. I recognized her then, but don’t remember her name. She was American, blonde, and thin as paper. I know a lot of celebrities come through this magic city. It was an interesting moment, but I didn’t care to get her picture or anything. (Speaking of models, my “hosts” are at a fashion show tonight, and hobnobbing with the likes of Eva Herzigova. The nature of the work they do, dealing with films that are done here, they occasionally bump into/hang with celebrities.)
- I passed a tattoo/piercing shop and couldn’t resist going in. The only Czech i used here was to ask if they spoke English – and magically, the number two (dva) popped into my head when I was telling the piercer how many I wanted. I also asked “how much” (kolik to stoji) (and p.s. don’t count on my spellings of Czech words here. I can pronounce them, but my spelling isn’t so trustworthy. Also, I can’t do international characters on this keyboard and so my words are missing many little symbols. Mostly I’m writing them out for myself to remember.) I got two more silver hoops on my right ear. He treated me with kidgloves at first, but when he saw I wasn’t flinching (really, I’m a pro at this piercing stuff. I have an unmentionable pierced. There’s no making me flinch) he relaxed a bit. I was pleased to see that the tattoo artist that was inking someone up behind me was female. Rock on. I took pictures of the shop outside.
- Pray for me that my night shots turn out ok… because most of the pictures I’m taking are at night.
I didn’t get any pastries today… so I just might have to go back out. I fear being locked out again, so I’ll wait until my gracious hosts return. I’m really needing some European pastry right about now.
If I haven’t told you this already: this city is absolutely amazing. Beyond words. Prague has this majesty about her. She is larger than life. I’ll be very pained to have to leave.
You really should try to get here.