Our European Odyssey

This blog covered our month-long trip to Eastern Europe -- specifically the countries of Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria and Slovakia.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

You know you've done a lot of walking when...

You know you've done a lot of walking when sitting down at the end of the day is one of the best feelings you've had for a while. We've done quite a bit of walking today, although that wasn't our intention.

We started out by visiting a grocery store to buy some food for a picnic lunch. While we were analyzing the yogurt, a strange thing happened: A man walked up to us and said, "Do you have a washing machine here?" Our first thought was "Why would anyone have a washing machine in a grocery store?" One look at the guy revealed he was American. If the accent didn't give it away, then the cowboy hat sure did. (It's the first one we've seen in Europe. Well, that's not entirely true; we did see the waiters in Krakow's Cowboy Steakhouse wearing them.)

From what we gathered from the brief conversation that followed, he is staying in Prague and can't figure out how to operate the washer. So what do you do when you're in a foreign country and you don't know how to use an appliance? You randomly ask two 20-somethings in the grocery store. But seriously, he must have heard our English and hoped some fellow Americans could help. Unfortunately, we have been doing our laundry in a sink, so we were of no use.

After leaving the grocery store, we proceeded to Petrin Hill and took the funicular to the top. Petrin is a large city park with many trails and gardens. Except for the nice views of the city, it is easy to forget that you are in a crowded urban area. We were also able to enjoy the sunny and relatively hot weather (hot meaning a high of 66 Fahrenheit.)

After Petrin, we wandered down to Wallenstein Gardens, which date back to the 17th century. These gardens contain semi-tame peacocks, ducks and other birds that roam the grounds.

As we enjoyed our lunch, we were joined by several peacocks with appetites. We had to be careful not to turn away while holding our bread or else they would take a bite. After our meal (which we shared a bit of), one of the males decided to show off by opening his plumage. He seemed to be modeling as he turned from side to side so everyone could see.

After lunch, we recrossed the Vltava and walked through Prague's Jewish Quarter. Most sights were closed because it was Saturday, but we were able to see the cemetery from outside the fence.

We finished our day's sightseeing by visiting the Mucha Museum, which is dedicated to Alfons Mucha, a Czech who helped found the Art Nouveau movement. Turns out we really like Art Nouveau and Mucha's works (like the one below.). We bought a set of four reprints that are allegorical of the seasons. We're excited about hanging them up in our new place.

We finished the day by attempting to find an Internet cafe. Easier said than done. We didn't have much trouble elsewhere, but Prague has been difficult. We have tried eight different places here and haven't liked any of them. (Actually, the one with no lights on worked out well, but it was slightly creepy ...) Also, rates are much higher here ($6 to $7 an hour) than they have been elsewhere, but real bloggers don't give up. Our search for a decent Internet cafe is when a lot of our walking happened, as two were closed and one couldn't handle uploading pictures.

We are heading to Kutna Hora for the day to see the Sedlec Ossuary. (See previous post.) We also hope to catch Mass (in Czech) at the town's cathedral.


At 12:24 PM, June 04, 2006, Anonymous Millie said...

How are your shoes holding up? Is it possible to wear out a pair of shoes in just 4 weeks? With all the walking you have done, you don't have to worry about weight control. Going to a Chech mass should be interesting. When I was younger "all" masses everywhere in the world were in Latin. One of the reasons was that you could participate wherever you were. But I imagine that the Chech Latin did not sound much like American Latin.

Grandpa, Colleen and Jack just left. It was so nice having them here. Grandpa did not seem to be too worn out.

Take care. I love you.

At 9:42 AM, June 05, 2006, Anonymous ginger said...

The pictures of the peacocks are gorgeous, and it cracks me up that they were trying to eat your lunch.



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