Awww….wordpress has a cute little rainbow on the top of their webpage to celebrate the SCOTUS ruling today. How nice of them.
Yesterday was a long day, but I guess the traveling part of vacationing usually is. I hiked about 4km in the hot sun to a McDonald’s by Ober St. Wein, where my next BlaBla ride was picking me up. For only 20 Euro I was finally on my way to Prague! And also four other people. And the driver. It a tiny sedan. And I feel the guy I was sitting next to was hiking in the hot sun for much longer than myself. At least he smelled like he did. Luckily, the driver was a bit crazy, sometimes pushing 180km/hr on two-lane roads. He got us there in record time!
I arrived at yet another McDonald’s in Prague, at a stop on the red line train station. Usually this would be just a few stops down and a tranfer and a few stops more, but without thinking ahead I found myself in Prague with no currency. Yes, they are a member of the European Union, but they refuse to switch currencies. So I stopped by a bankomat and withdrew about 4000 crowns, and the machine gives me three bills. Well the ticket machine for the train only takes coins (a single ticket being 24 crowns). So then I had to stop into a nearby supermarket for change. Being late at night, about 2200, only one lane was still open. After waiting in line the cashier told me, I assumed, that I needed to make a purchase in order to receive change. So I grabbed the nearest candy bar, made the transaction, and headed for the train.
The transportation system in Prague is pretty sraight-forward, even with the crazy Slavic language. This is in stark contrast to Italy, which was so confusing I spend an absurd amount of time in the information offices across the country. After transferring to the green line I waited two stops and exited. My next couchsurfing host was waiting in a bar across the street for me. We each had a beer then walked two blocks to a bar with an open kitchen and I ordered a chicken breast stuffed with cheese and spinach…and a few more beers.
The next morning he gave me a quick tour of the city, then left to go about his business. I basically just wandered around for several hours on my own. I found the Old Town Square, with the astonishing astronomical clock. I found several churches and cathedrals and such and made my way to the Legii and Charles Bridges. I’d like to visit them both again – once at sunrise and once at sunset. They are supposed to be beautiful in their own way at those times.
From Charles Bridge I made my way around to Letenske Sady (Park) to meet a friend of a friend. We met at a popular beer park overlooking the entire city. A few friends of his met us, and we all sat there for about five hours just talking and drinking beer. It made for quite the enjoyable afternoon.
On the walk back I stopped by the Palladium, a giant mall, for dinner. All the restaurants were on the top floor, and I walked around three times before I settled for some Indian food. Good food, and not any of the four American fast food diners there, but I was hoping for some authentic Czech food. Well, maybe tomorrow.
After that I had a difficult time find my host. He wasn’t home, wasn’t in the bar he said he would probably be, and my phone was having a difficult time sending text messages. Finally we were able to exchange one and he told me he was at another bar chatting up a girl and wouldn’t be done for awhile. Look, hosting is appreciated greatly, but you still have a certain level of responsibility when you agree to host. And one of those is not locking out your surfer for an undisclosed period of time because you want to get drunk. I couldn’t even get my stuff and go to a hostel. I’m exhausted, I have to be up early, and paying $20 to sleep (even in a room with 14 other people) is still better than sleeping in a nearby park waiting for the bars to close.
From now on I’m only going to surf with people that have TWO sets of keys. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Erik, my friend’s friend here in town, and I are going to tour the castle. His girlfriend is a tour guide so he gets free tickets. Should be fun!