Where We're Going

Where We're Going

Friday, 18 July 2008

A Door of Heads, Goose in a Beret & Tramp on a Scooter

We slept in, then after a breakfast of toast and jam (fruit! Yippee!) we caught a train to Karlstejn, where we saw a woman and her son who we had seen the previous day in Kutna Hora! The train took only 35 minutes and the sun was shining when we left the train. The roads leading towards the castle were lined with souvenir shops, mainly the same old stuff we'd seen in Prague. There were a couple of Karlstejn snowstorms but they looked a bit too tacky and I was still more than happy with my Holy Infant one. One of the few things we saw that we hadn't seen in Prague were some clothes peg animals, giraffes and kangaroos, that I can't describe very well but were very cool. We walked up to the castle and found that we could only see it if we were on a tour group with a guide, so we joined an English speaking tour group full of, you guessed it, bloody tourists! The girl leading the tour was the youngest guide imaginable, she must've been no older than 21, but she was very good and kept saying what we thought were funny things in a complete deadpan voice, it was hilarious and other people looked at us when we giggled. We were sure to restrain ourselves while she was actually talking though, mainly because the history was very interesting, but also because we weren't as rude as all the other pepole who just decided to talk over her whenever they wanted.

The castle is huge and grand and magnificent and awesome. We saw lots of bits and pieces from the 14th Century, including some old playing cards, one depicting a unicorn! In one of the rooms was a lute player with the largest instrument I have ever seen. I didn't ask, but I think his must have been an angelica, a type of Baroque lute. He played for us as we looked around and it was lovely. In one of the rooms were lots of portraits and a 14th Century statue of St Catherine of Alexandria standing on top of a King. Michaela, the guide, told us the story: the King wanted to marry Catherine but she refused because he was a Pagan, so she was condemned to death on the breaking wheel. When the time came, the wheels broke and she was beheaded instead and became a martyr. The statue is supposed to represent the defeat of paganism by Christianity, but it's a bit of a weird one. The castle shop had lots of desirable things, but we had to be sensible so John bought a map and I bought a postcard.

On our walk back through town we saw a stall selling a "Bohemian Speciality" called Trdelník consisting of sweet dough wrapped around a metal cylinder and then grilled over a flame and rolled in a mix of sugar, cinnamon and almonds. It was delicious, and the wasps swarmed around us getting high on the sugar scent. On the train back to Prague there was some graffiti saying "Bear Grog" and we imagined what that could possibly taste like. Later on the Metro we saw a guy with a feather stuck on his head (it wasn't supposed to be there) and were reminded of the silly pigeons we had seen with fluffy white feathers on their heads in the park. We Metroed to Muzeum, where we saw the National Museum and walked up Wenceslas Square, which is actually a long stretch of road, then headed north to the market that had been closed the other day. It was completely full of crap, like being in East London again - stalls of t-shirts, pants, weapons (including shuriken) and bits of tat. We passed a shop sign in neon Comic Sans (shudder) and walked for the last time past "The Brick Project". It is a charity "sculpture" made up of lots of thin white bricks which have been bought for a few Euros then decorated and laid in a circle then built upwards in layers, kind of like a chimney. The notice on it says: "The proceeds in this years collection will be used for extension of a work centre to reconstruct a social-therapeutical centre producing marinated cheese and pickled sausages". Nice.

We stopped at Billa to pick up some mushrooms (surprisingly hard to find!) and some eggs for an omelette we had promised to make Ben, then headed back to the hostel for our last night in Prague. When we got into our dorm there was a note on my bed and a little box - Ben had bought us some chocolate kitten tongues! I had only ever seen them in Germany and Austria so it was quite a treat having Czech ones as well. We ate some then napped until Ben got in an hour later. He told me all the things he had learned at language school while John was still sleeping, and I learned a new phrase: "Moja jeptiska!" We chatted about lots of things, including British biscuits (he'd never heard of a Jaffa Cake!), and I made our omelette. It wasn't as good as it would have been at home, but it was OK. Two guys from Plymouth, Max and Joe, have been at the hostel for the last couple of days and we have watched in amazement each dinnertime as they've been making grilled chicken with fresh pesto sauce and sausage casseroles and other culinary delights. It turns out they are not "travelling" but just on a break for a few days, which explains it. After 2 months the only things we can afford to do are pasta, soup and omelette. We have stopped doing the bread-for-every-meal thing after our bellies complained. We ate our omelette and Joe made a big playing card tower on the table next to us. After we'd all eaten we decided to play card games and were taught two by Ben, Ten and Egyptian Ratscrew which were lots of fun. A couple of Canadian girls joined the table and we played poker with the huge jar of sweets which is kept at the front desk as chips. After many, many rounds (most of which ended in us going all in) John and I eventually won! Hurrah! We played until past midnight and it turned out to be our favourite night in Prague.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, it was great to meet you guys in Prague! Jixie is great fun! I tried to send a postcard to you, you didn't give me your address but I looked in Vixie's diary when she was in the toilet, hope you don't mind! Would it be possible to stay with you guys in England? I'd like to come soon please!!?!