On our arrival in Prague, Lins and I floundered as usual in our efforts to get to the hostel while navigating the new language, transportation network and culture- BUT - this time with the very reassuring knowledge that our dear (now especially dear) friend and eloquent Czech speaker Joel would be waiting to meet us back at the ranch. Though jet-lagged and modest, he came through with the mad language skillz we'd been looking forward to, and made it all a breeze. Even the rrrzzz's and trrch's. Prague is as lovely as everyone says. It has a kind of classic, genuine feel, due to the fact that so many of its historical buildings have survived the years and European wars unscathed.
However, my Czech Republic city of choice for this trip was definitely Cesky Krumlov. The architecture of the whole town was medieval to an extent that I didn't dare dream still existed outside of fantasy novels. And speaking of which, I got to try hot mead! It was always my favourite imagined fictional drink, and the reality didn't disappoint. Truthfully I'm kind of glad it's not all that common around here or I'm sure on my return I'd have become Toronto's most idiosyncratic drunk.
I'll leave it to Lins to tell her Prague tales-of-woe-that-are-actually-quite-funny-in retrospect, and there was a certain "picnic" that ended with our backs against a stone wall trying to edge our way down a steep hill in the pelting rain, but overall it was a blast and a half. Watching Jaws from the loft section of the hip Globe Bookstore cafe, camera wars to nab the best shots of the obsession-worthy scenery, ice-cream-based desserts with random garlic... and for the rest, let's get on with the pics.
Czech crystal. I think? I know Czech crystal is famous but I confess that I never totally figured out what it is.
Lins and Joel surprised me with this adorable marzipan pig. It was extra-special because I remembered my mom telling me a strikingly similar story of her friends surprising her with a Marzipan pig on her birthday during a trip to Provence. I was so tickled by the coincidence- until mom told me that none of that ever happened. So one or both of the mother-daughter team are a little loopy. Or forgetful. Or both. So no surprises there. Good thing this one's been documented. You see it, right? Right?!
The Golem... he's the robot-monster of Jewish lore you definitely want on your side. I like that he's brought to life by a word (usually one of the names of God, or truth) that I think in this case is inscribed in the middle of his forehead.
This was during our spook-tastic ghost walk, which turned out to a personal tour for the three of us. (In other news, sorry about the underlining, its a random blogger bug. )
We sat down here and our guide Carmilla proceeded to tell us of Ulrich, the over-zealous ghost whisperer who was murdered in this very alley by a horde of spirits who'd been inconvenienced by his conjurings over the years.
We'd been such a good audience for her tales that Carmilla brought us through a series of courtyards and passageways to her local watering hole. As you can see, it was single-naked-bulb authentic.
The night wore on, and I was confronted with that question every traveller must someday face while drinking in exotic locales: Should I try the flaming absinthe? But- Did You Know That- the flame is actually involved to make the whole experience less hardcore? While absinthe isn't made with wormwood anymore, it is 80 proof, which for someone like me means it might as well be. So, you burn some of it off to make for a refreshing anise-flavoured nightcap. Now You Know!
Flame in spoon
Flame in glass
The ossuary of Kutna Hora. It was OK I guess, but there wasn't really enough crazy bone furnishing for my taste.
For future reference, this isn't how I would prefer to be immortalized.
This must have been that time we ran into a hookah-smoking caterpillar and Lins ate some of his mushroom. Oh, she was bumping her head and out-growing rooms all day. Good times.
This is what my old Oxford Street band apartment looks like now that I'm not around to take care of it.
It looks like I was using a fish-eye lens. Seussian.
Cruisin' the Vltava
Sometimes it's the simple things.. Paddle-boating is so cheap and easy to do, but this time the view was so stunning and the ride so relaxing that it was way more memorable than many of the pricier things we did.
Lins of Arabia