Sunday, October 28, 2007

Prague Day 2

Now, where did I get to... ahh yes, ring of fire - pub - another pub - bed.

Day two begins fuzzily, with no memories of pub #2. Its not that I had one too many in pub #1 either. I blame it all on ring of fire.

If you are not familiar with this game, then read on - once you can identify the game, it is a lot easier to avoid. Basically, all 52 cards in the pack get laid down, and one by one, are picked up be the unfortunate players. With each number on the card is a special meaning, much like switch, except that pretty much all the meanings associated with the cards involve one or all the players drinking some or all of their current beer.

For example: any player that picks up a 10, initiates a "waterfall". Player starts drinking, followed by players to his left, creating a Mexican wave of drinking. Drinking continues until the initial player stops (which is entirely voluntary, but more often than not, the madness continues until the player finishes his current beverage or passes out).

In summary, everyone drinks. A lot.

After hours of getting ready, we are all ready to investigate Old Town, but first on the agenda is lunch. Being the most picky about what I can and can't have, I jumped at the chance to have my first proper food in a nice vegan-friendly canteen called Country Life.

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Most of the others stuck their noses up at such "healthy" food, and decided to carry on looking for fodder with legs. I had already anticipated having to eat alone to get a half decent meal, but I was still surprised at how quickly it was dismissed. George offered to eat with me, which I was grateful for, so I didn't get completely abandoned.

Enough ranting. Country Life was cheap and the food was nice. It was a shame that me and George saw the salad first and piled it on our plates, only to realize the crowd of people in the corner were busy piling on extremely yummy hot food. We ended up pilling on both, and ended up with a lot of food, although after weighing, it only cost 135 koruna (about £3.50) each.

Big smile from Gee after lots of salad
Gee, outside of the woodcraft shop, next door to Country Life.

After eating, we decided to have a quick look around before meeting the others. I felt compelled to buy myself a cute falling-over zebra from a nearby woodwork shop, which I was convinced had been specially hand-crafted right there in the shop.

Happy Zebra

Drunk Zebra

It didn't take us long to bump into one of the most famous attractions in Prague - the astronomical clock, which neither me nor George could make head or tail of. We stared at it for a good 10 minutes, and it didn't move an inch. Jack later explained that it showed which constellation the sun was in, and we would've had to have waited a month or so before noticing that it did indeed move.

Cobbled alley between Country Life and the Astronomical Clock
Cobbled alley between Country Life and the Astronomical Clock

Astronomical Part of the Astronomical Clock
Astronomical part of the Astronomical Clock, in Old Town Square

Old Town Square's Clock
The clock - it really was that sunny!

We all met up, and had a long walk around, absorbing the culture, and taking in the sights of pointy buildings. We reached Karlov Most and lined up to touch the shiny piece of the center statue like everyone else, although at the time, we had no idea what it meant, or what luck it was supposed to bring us.

Shiny statue

By this time, Chris, the builder of the group, was desperate for a cup of tea, so we made our way to a suitable venue. On the way back towards Old Town, I noticed a sign advertising a classical music performance. I'm not really into my classical, but it is what Prague is famous for, so I asked the others if they fancied it. The response was similar to the one in country life, with the majority eager to get back to the apartment for another round of Ring Of Fire. I was still feeling the effects of the previous game, so that was the last thing I wanted to do! Dave being the sophisticated one of the group, and Jack, who is usually up for anything, were also up for hearing some live classics. After much deliberation, the others decided that seeing a show at the theater would be enough culture for one holiday, and so they went on back to the apartments.

The venue for the string quartet was a large church opposite the bridge. I hadn't really realised this until we were ushered in. The whole place had an uneasy atmosphere of silence, every noise we made echoing around a million times for everyone to hear. We sat down on our creaky pews, and waited. Being surrounded by effigies and murals depicting scenes that didn't look so pleasant, added to the uneasy feeling, but eventually the silence was broken by the appearance of the musicians.

It was worth it though. The performance was amazing and the acoustics of the hall were perfect. I even recognized some of the songs (they were classics after all). I had a pretty sore backside by the end of it though, those hard wooden seats are about as comfortable as sitting on a cold rock. We slowly made our way back, in no particular hurry, (until it started raining of course). We decided not to spend any of our culture points as we passed the Erotic Supermarket, on the way back, and arrived back in our apartments for around 7pm, to find the others drinking away on Czech Pilsner and plum favoured vodka. It was about dinner time, and so we set off to find a restaurant, that was both vegan friendly, but served enormous lumps of meat. It quickly became obvious that the two don't mix, so they chose an authentic Czech steak house to dine at. I was tempted to go and eat alone, but I'd already had my quota of segregation for this day, and decided to stick with everyone else, and just drink beer instead. Rosh made a good effort in communicating to the staff to see if they had something more interesting than "salad" that would be suitable for me, but as nice as the waiter was, he had no clue what we were on about, so I ended up with a salad, with boiled potatoes.

Despite the lack of interesting food, the place was actually really nice. We were sat on an indoor balcony overlooking the rest of the restaurant, and in the next room were a group of girls who spent all night practising their choir singing, which for a while was quite novel, but did get a little irritating! And this was the first time I experienced and fell in love with "pivo tmavĂ˝", a type of dark beer brewed in Czech Republic, which is rich, malty and full of flavour, compared to the regular pilsner which we'd been drinking up until then.

Too much salad?
Too much salad?

Too much meat
Too much meat...!

Afterwards, we made our way back to Wenceslas Square. I wasn't really feeling up to a club, still feeling a bit groggy and tired, so I called it a night, whilst the others went to Duplex Dance Club, which was conveniently opposite our apartments. I'm told it was pretty good...

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