Saturday, 6 June 2009

Prague Part 2.

Day 12.

Today we went to the church that had the infamous arm – the Church of the Severed Arm as we fondly call it but St Jacob’s Church to everyone else. It was just around the corner from our hostel and I wondered if the arm got down from its little post and walked about the town at night – like Thing from the Addams Family. I’m getting off track – what’s new – so we went inside and – wow – this church is incredible! How has it gone this long with so little recognition? I mean it was ornate and there was gold, statues, carvings, candles, paintings and the works! It was amazing but, sadly, you can’t take photos inside so you’ll just have to imagine. Then we walked to the entrance of the church and saw the arm. Way up high on this little pike was this twiglike thing and there is no way you would know what it was if you didn’t know the story. It seems strange... all these people coming to pray here, tourists doing their touristy thing – meanwhile there is a severed, embalmed and really old arm literally hanging to one side. Weird. It was up really high on the wall too – we needed a hand seeing it! Ba ha! Get it? Puns... they’re great.

This hostel denied breakfast so we decided to go to Starbucks (don’t you judge) and give the serving staff false and hilarious names. Miranda then became Ableth and I was Wendlah. I went second and the girl asked “where are you guys from? Canada?” and I was like “errr...” think damn you, think! “no, I’m from Australia my mother just really hates me...” we grabbed our hot chocolates and bagels and ran! Laughing all the way.

We then walked to Prague castle (yes, walked... we do a serious amount of walking and then at the end of the day admit that “our dawgs are barkin’” – sore feet). In case you didn’t know – Prague castle is on a really big and steep hill. Sigh. I remember this from last time though the walk this time was a lot easier... I guess because I’m taller, my legs are longer and therefore less steps... Makes sense in my mind.
So we got to the top and saw the lovely view of the city – have a look this time.
Off in the distance there is this building which looks remarkably like the Eiffel Tower which is NOT possible given that we were nowhere near Paris... I think they built it as a joke for dumb tourists... There was a changing of the guards ceremony going on and people excitedly crowded around watching the soldiers doing their thing – it was no Buckingham Palace send off – I mean they didn’t even play “that’s the way, uh huh uh huh, she likes it” so you know... inferior.
We bought tickets to the castle and were kind of bemused by the money tricks the ticket booth tries on you. They try to make you rent an audio guide because the whole castle has no signs or descriptions! How ridiculous is that! Not only that but the audio guide itself was double the price of the ticket! We didn’t rent one and decided that we would make our own history.
We queued up for St Vitus Church and while we were doing so we were sort in the middle of this tour group consisting of loads of younger teenage girls. Miranda was looking at her map of the castle when this map just leant over and pulled it away from her, had a look and gave it back. Meanwhile, the gaggle of girls giggled away and Miranda and I were most confused. So we decided to get our own back by coughing and saying “man, that swine flu is really catching up on me” “oh I know, Mexico was lovely, but the diseases! My oh my...” At this point one of the girls right in front of us slowly turned and stared at us. It was brilliant. Eventually we got inside the church and I got to see this stained glass window which was made by one of my favourite artists – Alphonse Mucha. It’s pretty darn beautiful. Also featured in the church was the grave of Good King Wenceslas. “Wenceslas” then became our codeword if people were staring at us (which they do A LOT). So if someone is staring we say “Wenceslas”. Oh we also had a codeword when we were in our hostels. To alert the other person if someone was in our hostel room with us we said “code”. Creative – I KNOW.

We then walked around the old palace and because the rooms were bare and dull we mostly just kept going to the window and looking out at the view. Given that there were no signs and nothing of interest aesthetically the palace was pretty lame. There are crown jewels you can go and look at but Miranda and I were pretty turned off by this point and saw a picture of the jewels and were like “well... there they are...” and left. Next up was the jail – you would think the jail/torture chamber would be a touch more interesting – but no – it really wasn’t. There was a story about some guy who was captured and locked in there who could supposedly fiddle really well and people would come from miles around to hear him – fiddle. When I say fiddle you think I mean on a violin – this is the myth – by ‘fiddling’ they actually mean confessing and after being whipped and locked in a cage you would fiddle pretty well too.
There were these tourists taking photos everywhere around the castle so we thought it would be funny if we took a photo of nothing special and see how many people do the same, thinking that’s something important. Here is a photo of me with a random cracked wall. It was holy in my mind...

We walked back down the hill and over the bridge and on the way we saw some nuns and had to really resist the urge to start singing “Climb every mountain” to them. I’ve noticed that there are a lot of beggars in Europe which is kind of sad...
Saw Gelato Bastard again and did our whole muttering profanities under our breath until we passed him. We caught the underground and when we were getting off it was really packed and this guy came up to us and kept saying something and showing something he was holding to us. We assumed he was trying to sell something and were trying to ignore him when he went “tickets?” He was the ticket inspector – oops. No problems apart from us feeling a bit sheepish. This underground had one of the largest and longest escalators I've ever seen so it waranted a photo... Ignore the foolish girl ruining the shot...She's blocking the moving stairway which could possibly be going to heaven... hmm...

This huge storm started showing itself so we hid in this shopping centre which made us feel like we were back in London again given that it had a Marks & Spencer, Topshop and H & M. It seems that our streak of good weather is coming to an end... lame. Similarly, it’s really warm and sunny back in London right now! Grrrr...We then had dinner which consisted of delicious noodles with chicken – they were SO GOOD. I was most impressed. We then went back to the hostel for a little rest because we were getting seriously worn down by this point and wanting to wait for the rain to die down.

We headed out again a little while later so we could dispose of our remaining Czech money given that changing it again would just lose us money. We found some great souvenirs but still had money remaining. We joked that we would just go into a glass shop, put our money on the table and ask how much glass we could guy for that and then smash them then and there in the store. Would have been great. The walk back was pretty funny because we were just giggling at everything because we were so tired. On the walk we spotted this random piece of Czech public art... yeah that’s a statue so don’t worry too much...
And now we have a photo of me doing what I do best – play Mario Kart. This is what our evenings before we went to bed consisted of... Good times all round.

And, yes, those are indeed Elmo pajamas... Off to Salzburg tomorrow!

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