Phil really wanted to write up the CZ leg of our trip, but I think you'll all forgive him for being swamped with secondary applications.
We took a later train to Prague than we had meant to, so poor Ivana Mikšik was pretty worried about us by the time we showed up. But we made it, at least, and Phil had no trouble remembering the way from the subway station to her house. It was a wonderful reunion (as far as I could tell, not speaking Czech), and she showed us upstairs to a nice little apartment--a comfortable bed, our own bathroom, and a fridge full of food. We had a short visit with Ivana before heading over to the Jiraseks' house for a dinner appointment.
Marketa had prepared a beautiful meal for us--no surprise there--and we had an excellent visit. Phil had fun practicing his Czech, and I had fun trying to figure out what was going on. I could understand a little, because of Czech's resemblance to Russian, but only about enough to know what was being discussed--family, food, even politics--but not what anyone thought of it. Anyway, the Jiraseks have two adorable dogs who understood my English perfectly. We looked through Zuza's wedding album over a delicious plum crisp and headed for the subway station so we could take a night stroll around the city. Thanks, Jiraseks!
Downtown Prague is INCREDIBLE. The moon and clouds were so dramatic that I took about a billion pictures. Here are just a few:
The National Museum
The next day we hit the town again to see it in the light of day. We caught the apostles at the Orloj (Prague's Astronomical Clock)...
took another stroll on the Charles Bridge (there's Prague Castle behind us)...
and got the obligatory castle guard photo.
Ooh, a tower!
Let's climb it.
Wait, why are we doing this again?
Oh yeah. We had a beautiful view of the city, the Vltava, and the bridges. So naturally, the first thing I said when we got to the top was "Cool chicken." Phil laughed at me, but I stand by my assessment. We took some model shots of Phil and then headed back down.
We walked through all these tiny streets Prague is so famous for.
It's sort of pretty, I guess.
When we got back down to the river, we found the hospital where Mrs. Čechova (Phil's mother's "second mom") is staying. Luckily, it was visiting hours, and Phil got to give her the gift we had brought her and chat for a while. He dominated the arm-wrestling contest.
We made our way back to Ivana's house to get ready for the opera, and Ivana had made the MOST SCRUMPTIOUS blueberry dumplings.
These were the fluffiest, meltiest, smotheredest, most perfect dumplings I have ever eaten. I almost wanted to stay and eat more instead of going to the opera. But off we went...
La Traviata was amazing. Phil stayed awake through the whole thing (not counting intermission, because, come on; let's be realistic). We turned in early so we could catch an early bus to Česky Krumlov.
The bus ride was comfortable--we even had a stewardess (a ride attendant?) and free cocoa. My only complaint was the in-ride movie, a Christmas movie (in August) about a bunch of obnoxious adolescents rampaging through an airport, and probably a career low for Lewis Black. Phil tried to sleep and I concentrated on not poking my eyes out. Success on both counts.
A climb up to the castle seemed like a good way to stretch our legs.
We munched on sandwiches and strolled up to the castle gardens.
The gardens were so pretty.
Here's how I felt about how pretty they were:
And here's how I felt about this log:
On our way back down to the village, Phil saw this thing, and he was like, "wow, look at this cool thing!" And I was like, "Uh, okay. Show me how cool it is." This is how cool it is:
I tore Phil away from his cool thing so we could eat lunch by the river. Deer goulash, yum!
This is what this wasp gets for trying to eat my food. Get your own food!
sleeping repenting for killing that wasp:
By this point, our early bus ride had caught up with us, as evidenced by the remainder of our photos from that day.
Jessie: "Let me take a picture of you in front of the castle." Result:
"I love this flower. Phil, take a picture of me with this flower. I love it."
Phil was thrilled to climb to the top of the castle.
After a long, lazy, fun day, we moseyed back to the bus stop. Our bus ride back was with a different company. And by "company," I mean "guy with a bus, a mullet, and a stuffed animal collection." We snuck a photo of him using Phil as a decoy.
We made it back to Prague in one piece, despite our seatmate's powerful body odor and blasting Russian techno and my nearly catastrophic peemergency. All's well that ends well.
Tune in next week for Vienna!