Online Journal: Prague Day 1 (05/10/2013)
First off, I finally get to type on a computer! The other entries were all via iPhone (it’s magical, remember) but today I get to utilize a nice little laptop supplied by our Bled Hostel (Bled is the best, FYI). Notes about European keyboards: 1) the z and y are switched and I am yet to successfully type either a y or z without first pressing the other, 2) they have all these fake characters lie č and ć or ž, 3) it has button labeled “Alt Gr” which is used like a shift key for the letters. So if I hit “Alt Gr” and then “E” this is the result: €. Let’s move on, shallst we? We shallst! The first thing I heard upon waking up in our sleeper car was my dad moan, “Dad hates the stupid sleeper car”. The night was a rough one for everyone because it was like sleeping on some plywood with the most unsubstantial sheet one could concoct in his or her mind. We staggered off the train into Hlavani, the main train station at Prague. A little disclaimer about Prague: it never stops raining…ever…let us continue. Our first night was to be spent in the Holiday Inn (originally, the evening of the 9th and the 10th were to be spent in Krakow, Poland but a lack of trains and the Prague Marathon forced our hand and we spent an extra day in Budapest (the 9th) and arrived a day early into Prague (the 10th). We arrived at the Holiday Inn circa 8 in the morning. Unfortunately, the rooms were not meant to be ready until 2 pm…but we were allowed to eat at the breakfast buffet! Teddy, Dan, and I slayed so much breakfast, my dad could only sit with his mouth agape. Eventually, the night on the sleeper train caught up with me…so this is about 9:30…and I fell asleep on our table in the dining area of the hotel lobby. I was woken a about 10:30 because we were heading out to pick up our Marathon supplies. My dad and I were signed up for the relay as a “four-man” team (consisting of Adam, Ted, Theodore, and Addy Bross). We received all our Marathon necessities and it was time to get psyched! Except I was still exhausted. We returned to the Holiday Inn for more exhilarating lobby nothingness. I fell asleep at a different table, which was fun. Finally, our rooms were ready…except the hotel had only marked us down for one room…with two twin beds. The four of us–all grown ass men, I remind you–walked to the room and couldn’t resist laughing as we contemplated what we were going to do. Teddy and Dan considered finding a hostel to sleep at for the evening and my dad phoned a few hotels, but everything was booked. We would have to improvise. Despite our desperate need for a few zzz’s, we decided the pit in our stomachs was far more urgent. The Holiday Inn suggested Rocky O’Reilly’s Irish Pub for our early dinner and we followed their advice because we were still assuming the hotel was not trying to sabotage our visit. The pub was actually pretty nice and they had a very interesting beer called “Velvet” which I ordered instead of tar (Guinness). We ordered the pub’s giant platter which consisted of some absolutely delicious brisket and a massive pile of fried food. We obliterated the platter in a manner the staff had never seen and actually considered ordering more food (the platter was for 4-6 people). In the end, we left without furthering our gluttony and headed for the castle. As is customary, the castle was on top of a gigantic hill which we had to walk up because the medieval period was a cruel time. We ventured through the expansive “castle” area which included some castle like features, the state house of the Czech Republic, a cathedral (which was having construction done as is also demanded by European law), and a really interesting looking tree among other things. There were a few photo opportunities, but the bulk of the picture taking would be done later in the trip. We sauntered back down the hill and crossed over the world famous Charles Bridge with its statue lined span. The crowd was unfathomable for the weather, but I suppose braving the rain in Prague is necessary if you want to see anything. After the Charles Bridge we miraculously found a subway station which brought us back to the Holiday Inn. We retreated to our room where we decided we’d make it a four bedroom suite by taking the mattresses off and using the box-springs as beds. Teddy and I volunteered to sleep on the springs and Dan and Big Ted took the mattresses. We absolutely crashed.