Published: July 5th 2011July 4th 2011
Day 017, Monday July 4
WORST SLEEP EVER! I thought the Krakow beds were bad, No. The train beds were just some stiff plank of material I guess they figured people would be fine sleeping on. NO! And the constant rocking of the train which I figured would put me to sleep. NO!!! kept me awake, and it made ^plenty of stops with more people getting on and noisily settling in, then for some unknown reason we stopped somewhere for the sole purpose of keeping us all awake with a single constant tone of horror, a loud never ending banshee scream!
But we arrived in Prague around 8amand I couldn't be happier! Prague is easily the most beautiful place I've ever seen! You turn a corner and find yourself assaulted with stunning beauty in each direction, on more than one occasion you literally are at a loss of which direction to travel, not because you’re lost, (Though the ever constant theme of a lack of proper street signs don’t help the weary traveller everywhere we go), but rather because you don’t know what to go see next. More than once I found myself stopping, and going onto a picture snapping trance, frenzied, taking photos in all directions with Alyssa calling to me to keep up because she settled on a direction but I’m still spinning in circles.
We had initial difficulty finding our hostel as it was situated in a park, with no labelled pathways, we settled on the only building we could find, and even then saw no signs of life. It was the first day this hostel was opening so it turned out we were too early, thankfully someone eventually arrived after waiting only 30 minutes. Unfortunately he wasn't prepared to check anyone in yet, but he was fantastic and offered to keep our bags for us while we sightsee. We left our massive turtle shells and took off into the city, armed with a map and directions from our host (including the best scenic route to see everything we wanted to). From 9am to 5pm we walked, through a park, past some tower, past a lengthy castle wall, and into the castle itself, happened to arrive precisely at the changing of the guard, (who put on a much better show than the ones at Buckingham Palace). We continued to see churches, cathedrals, museums, concert halls, statues all very old and beautiful, The best of which was the astrological clock, a highly decorative and all around impressive clock which, at each hour, would chime with a fun display of wood carved apostles passing windows up above, finishing with a real man, dressed in a medieval costume, played a trumpet. Also we saw Mozart’s house, man that guy lived in up, beautiful area too, plenty of inspiration to write incredible music.
P.S. I finally saw a Mr. Bean car, 3 wheeled little thing puttering its way down the cobble stone streets, I missed getting a picture of it unfortunately, but I found there are no bike lanes in Prague, and much MUCH more traffic, a strange departure from the rest of Europe we’ve seen so far (U.K. Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark) all a strong single recurring theme I've seen, green initiatives and alternative energy practices, even advertisements of the steps being taken to “Go green”. I've seen an entire field stretching beyond the horizon filled with solar panels, and on almost every train ride, we pass fields of wind power farms, giant 3 pronged windmills. Also many houses with their roofs outfitted with solar panels, I know the technology if far from perfected, and the best I've seen back home are tiny panels attached to street lamps to help in powering them, but it's nice to see such larger and more drastic steps being taken elsewhere.
But my point is, not in Prague. The air quality is horrible, and their rush hour is as intense as Toronto.
Also I continue to feel like Daniel Jackson, from the Stargate film, sneezing every new place we arrive in, I fill my pockets with tissues at each city (mostly from train bathrooms) and have to refill by the end of the day from hostel bathrooms. And why are toilets signified with a WC? Alyssa says it’s “Water Closet” and that it is a U.K. term for bathroom, which is all well and good if we were in London, but everywhere we’ve been they have signs that say “WC” ... odd.