Prague: like a huge cake full of tiny tables (2)

Now that I had a map, and was back to the initial lone traveler condition, and took around 15 looong minutes to find the exit at the tricky train station, I found the city.

Here is important to notice a very curious strategy. Every time I travel, I don’t feel like exposing to everyone that I’m not a local. It’s very foolish and an annoying resquice of pride that I keep, but don’t worry because things like taking the longest time to find a simple exit from the simplest public place is one part of the punishment. Another part is being asked all the time for directions in languages I don’t really understand: it’s the greatest deal of disappointment for me, not being able to help the person and also not being able to speak their language. Yet.

So like I said, I finally found the outer world and a pleasant mid-afternoon sunlight waiting for me outside. I must have felt really confident striding out there, as 5 seconds later a german lady stopped me and asked if I knew some crazy address, and I had to disappoint both her and myself with a smile. But no problem, I kept walking and, while moving, took my great little map out of the backpack and started my old-fashioned GPS positioning system.

Rule number one: you don’t really get to know a city/place, if you don’t take your time to wander around and get lost, without caring at all about finding the optimal way. It’s a great opportunity to think a lot of people and stuff you shoudn’t think of, or of those you should or want to. Depends on how much mind control you were able to develop in your past winters.

That means that I refused to take the subway or bus or tram or taxi. I just worried about walking in the fairly right direction to the hostel. After taking the completely wrong way and noticing only 10 minutes later, of course.

National MuseumWalking up and down a pretty big avenue, I happened to see the city museum, local kids, local old people, local tourists in packs of 20 or more blocking my way (I walk quite fast with my short legs). Stopping to take a bad picture or two, watching the sad scene of a white-bearded man in his sixties looking for food and, unfortunately for me, actually having some, in a trash cart, and walking through an old monastery which luckily had informative signs in English, I managed to get the first special surprise from the city: I found a precipice, and the bridge or whatsoever which took to the other side was for cars only. And I needed to get there, I think. No, worse: I needed to go down there, and there were no stairs. Or elevators. Or spider man.

That ruined my day and I got so upset that I turned the camera on and started shooting pictures frenetically. Damn it. At least I wasn’t that tired yet, after walking 4 or 5 kilometers. Damn backpack. Thank god I had a 2 gigabyte memory card and freshly recharged batteries. Wise decision was to… go back a little bit, near the monastery. There were a few streets with negative slope there, which would hopefully take me down inside the abyss of defeat.

I reduced the pace a little bit in order to extend my life span, and dove in those streets. Was actually very pleasant, to see lots of old buildings, mothers scolding children near the porches, ladies washing the sidewalk as if time had stopped. Maybe it really had. Was an old neighborhood, and the bricked, narrow roads reminded me of Rome. Silence… a deep sigh.

No human being could understand how, but I found the hostel. No matter how lost I get, I always manage to find my way. Well, I find some way. By that time I was a little bored and tried some small talk with the owner of the hostel. She opened her eyes in astonishment when I showed (appoximately) what I did to get there, “dear lord you could have taken the tram, you know?”. I knew, I knew, but I wasn’t in the mood to explain everything. After I said my name, a guy who was climbing the stairs halted and said something to me. Ok, deep breath, what was that? Took me some tense moments and killed maybe 1 of my 2 neurons to switch to Spanish and greet the guy properly, he was from Barcelona (they never say they’re from Spain) and thought I was an hermano after hearing my name. Happens a lot.

I felt like a bird, walking around with no backpack. I felt so energetic I could run a marathon, I swear. This time I took the tram to downtown, and walked around there. As the sun went down in the horizon, the city became more colorful. Streets were getting piled with people, more and more by the minute, and when I got to the main square I figured what was happening: Russia was about to teach Netherlands how to play soccer, only that by that time nobody knew it was going to happen. Point was only to go out and drink and shout. And be happy. Was a different atmosphere than the one I expected, there at the main square, but I liked it. I liked even to discuss with some criminal looking bastard that wanted me to exchange euros with him. I could really beat the crap out of him, but I gave him the right of bothering me unharmed.

Russia vs NetherlandsThe game began, streets got a bit emptier, and I felt like having dinner. You feel very stupid when you have dinner alone, specially when you have dinner alone while traveling alone. When you’re walking, you’re busy looking at people, discovering new things and taking pictures. But when you sit down you feel lonely to the point of making small talk with the waiter. To the point of drinking to stop your head from spinning. It’s just awful to eat alone together with people you can’t talk to: be they passionate couples (the worst), or small families, or just a mid-aged englishman travelling along with his son, who is already grown up enough to drink beer and discuss grown up matters, like a real englishman.

This is getting too long. And I feel strange… Geez… so many things I still would like to write about this one trip. Please be patient and wait a bit more! Perhaps get even more curious?? Who knows… I don’t.


0 Responses to “Prague: like a huge cake full of tiny tables (2)”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


September 2008
    Oct »



%d bloggers like this: