15 – 17 May
We cross the border into Czech Republic and hit its world-famous capital, Prague. It is yet another place that I have been to before (by means of a graduation school-trip more than ten years ago) but that I have hardly any memories of. Our expectations are high and we are very excited to start exploring this beautiful city by foot after we park the car in a residential neighborhood near our couchsurf-host, who we are supposed to meet in the end of the day. It is a springy day and the atmosphere gets more and more lively the closer we get to the old city center. Once we arrive at the river’s edge we find ourselves surrounded by countless of other tourists as well as musicians performing in the streets. We take a stroll down to one of the most picturesque bridges out there – the romantic Charles Bridge with its many statues along both sides and its beautiful views of the city. Since we are in the “beer-country” we obviously do not get around trying some of the local beers while watching the sun disappear behind the little towers of the gate in the end of the bridge.
On the way back we drift around the old city center and get wonderfully lost in its cute little narrow streets. Next to Czech beer another must-try is a sweet treat called Trdelnik, some sort of sweet bread roll topped with sugar or chocolate sauce. The touristy old town center is the perfect place to enjoy one of these things so this is exactly what we do. While decorating our faces and shirts with chocolate sauce we witness a little spectacle: there is a very old and famous astronomical clock located right on the main square which attracts hundreds of people every full hour when the little figures next to the clock start moving. As the actual “show” is not exactly spectacular we are more amazed by the amount of people waiting for and watching this little show then by the performance itself.
Our host Dominik gave us a heads-up concerning his apartment but since he did not mention any details we are curious to find out what he referred to. When we step into his flat it becomes quite obvious right away though. As he studies in Prague while living elsewhere and only spends a couple of days per week here in the city he does not mind how the place looks like and thus did not change anything since he took it over from his great-grandmother. In other words, we find ourselves right in the middle of an antique shop, at least that’s how it feels like. It is a strange but certainly authentic experience sleeping in the original living room of a lady who would be something like 120 years old by now and even though we have to share the place with plenty of dust and moths the entire situation is kind of funny. Furthermore, the cold, homemade apple-juice Dominik welcomes us with makes totally up for these unique circumstances. With a bit of creativity and improvisation we manage to prepare some dinner before heading to bed to recharge our batteries after this long day and all these kilometers we have walked.
During the following days in Prague we explore more of the other side of the river Vltava (Moldau) with its castle located high above the roofs of the city. In addition to that, we join a free walking tour covering and providing information about the city center as well as the Jewish neighborhood.
Since Dominik leaves the city we are prepared to spend our final night in the car, however, when we get to our vehicle we find a ticket on the windshield. Apparently, we were not supposed to park here so it is clearly not the best idea to stay overnight. A little frustrated and tiered as we are we do not have any other choice but to hit the road until we find a roadhouse where we spend a very short and uncomfortable night in the car together with a bunch of trucks right next to the noisy highway…