An interesting weekend in Prague

Trip Start Jan 20, 2005
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Trip End Aug 02, 2005


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Sunday, February 13, 2005

Well despite the rain, cramped buses, "Prague death," having someone thrown off the bus and not speaking a word of Czech we managed to have a great weekend in Prague. We left Thursday after class to catch the Eurolines bus to Prague. Knowing that we were in for a long ride, we all packed accordingly....1.5 liters of Sangria (mmm....delicious), 1 liter of white wine, and one liter of red....and that was just for Heather and I. The bus got delayed by an hour and a half so we all wound up being well on our way to being drunk before the bus even started moving. We killed the bottle of Sangria before we were out of Brussels, and had finished off the first bottle of wine before we hit the German border. Needless to say we were all having an excellent time. There were about 15 AU kids on the trip and we all just sat up and drank and talked and had a great time on the bus. After about an hour or two some of the girls started to get really drunk and annoying, but other than that it was fine. Around 1 or 2 am everyone started passing out....except me because I am terrible at falling asleep on busses so, I being the loser that I am tried reading some of the textbook. Ha ha ha...that was a mistake. The book is way to boring and detail oriented to be reading while on a cramped bus while still a little tipsy. The seats were so close together though that it was impossible to find a comfortable position to sleep in. My knees were being crushed by the seat in front of us so I could not fall asleep at all. It was not too pleasant. At about 6am we arrived at the Czech border and the collected everyone's passports (since despite being in the EU the Czech Republic is still not within the Sheingan Treaty area which allows for free movement of people). Alajandra hands the guy a copy of the picture page of her passport and actually thought that was going to be OK. Can you imagine not bringing your passport with you when you are going to another country???? So anyways, she got kicked off the bus and had to sit in the German checkpoint until the morning. She lost all the money on the bus ticket, the hostel reservations, etc. and had to spend the rest of the weekend trying to get her way back to Brussels where her passport was. I honestly think that the bus driver was happy to kick her off because she was by far the most drunk and loud person on the bus and he was clearly annoyed with her. So this whole process held us up another hour or so. I fell asleep for about 30 minutes but woke up from being so uncomfortable. I just sat there for the rest of the trip staring out the window and occasionally pretending to read. When everyone else was asleep the Flemish guys sitting behind us were making fun of us. It was weird because Flemish is just close enough to English to know that they were talking about us, but not close enough to know what they were saying. Well we arrived in Prague and it was raining and cold. We lugged all of our stuff to the hostel, which was actually quite close to Welceslas Square, but seemed incredibly far away since we were so cold and wet and tired. We couldn't check in right away because we got in too early, so we locked up our bags and tried to forage for food. All of the restaurants were closed because it was still only 10 am so we wound up going to McDonalds (I am proud to say that it was the first McDonald's that I had been to since I got to Europe). It was so funny, the McDonald's had marble tables and was immaculate...ten times nicer than any one in the states. I got a McNew York menu (ha ha ha...they name burgers after states here), which was actually the best thing that I had ever had at a fast food restaurant anywhere. It was delicious... two types of cheese, onions, sauce, extra-large patties on a sub roll....I was impressed. Ha ha ha. So, we finally got to check into the hostel, which was rather nice...one of the better ones that I have stayed in. We just lounged about for a while and showered, before trying to go out and find things to see or do. We were all so tired that it was not really worth it. Heather and I saw one or two things and picked up some necessities. It is odd, but it is actually easier to find basic things like soap and socks in Prague than it is in Brussels...and it is much cheaper. We tried to drag ourselves around to do more, but it was hard to force ourselves considering that it was cold and rainy and we were all so tired. So we went back to the hostel and took a nap for an hour or so before we went and got some dinner. We met up with some other people on the trip (Dan, Katie, and Jessica) and went to this nice restaurant off of one of the main arteries off Welceslas Square. We spent more than I would have liked (about $20), but we got a nice three course meal out of it and had a very good time together. After dinner we went out to some bar that Katie had found that had two for one drinks until midnight. We walked in and it was all like 15 year olds....and as always Europeans can't dance. Ha ha ha. We all sat there like idiots double fisting drinks and talking with the bartender who was actually a grad student from L.A. Some old foggies from Liverpool came in and started talking our ears off, so we split and went to Rocky O'Reilly's pub. It was pretty subdued for an Irish pub...and the crowd was a little older so we just got a table had a drink and headed back to the hostel. The next day I woke up and felt like someone had beaten me with a stick. It was horrible! I had not even drank very much the night before so that was not it...and I had slept rather well once we came back to the hostel. I just felt like I had the flu but without any sneezing or coughing. This was supposed to be our big sightseeing day, since we didn't really see much on Friday so I didn't want to stay in bed, but I was really in bad shape. Heather and I walked all through Old Town Square...saw the astrological clock, and wandered around through all of the winding unorganized streets of Prague. It really is a cool city. Each of the houses and buildings has a different motif and character. I am glad that I am going back to enjoy it in nicer weather with Megan, because I couldn't really appreciate it with how sick I was. Of course it was raining all day...which did not help much. Every single step hurt...it even hurt to breath. By lunch I had gotten a fever and chills and was just miserable. I had to force myself to eat something...but only got about six bites into my pizza before I had to quit. We kept walking... across Charles bridge...up the hill (think about 7 flights of stairs...horrible!!!!) to Prague castle. The scenery was amazing and the views from the top were spectacular, but I just couldn't handle it. I was about to collapse. We walked through the castle (which was a little under-whelming) to the Cathedral (which was neat). At the top we ran into AJ and Tiffany and all of them. AJ was making fun of me because I looked like death (the illness is now affectionately know as "Prague death"). We couldn't get in, so we wandered around to the back and walked down Golden Lane where Franz Kafka lived. By the time we got to the bottom of the hill I could not go any further, so we found a metro and went back to the hostel. For how sick I felt, I am surprised that I lasted for six and a half hours walking around in the rain. As soon as we got back to the hostel I fell into bed and was asleep instantaneously. I slept until about 9pm or so when everyone was getting ready to go out. They had met some Irish guys staying in the next room and had started drinking with them. I had a fever and just felt awful when I woke up, but at least I was rested. I went in and everyone was taking shots...which was about the last thing in the world I wanted to do, so I just had a soda. Eventually we went back to Rock O'Reilly's and I had one Strongbow (strong cider) which made me feel even worse. The Irish guys were a lot of fun though and I actually had a surprisingly good time. Dad...the one guy Noel reminded me of you...he came up with this whole crazy life story very reminiscent of the ones you love to invent for people. They thought it was great that I had red hair and was named Maureen. They actually thought I was kidding at first when I told them my name because it sounded too Irish to be from America. Anyways...I kept on turning down drinks because I still felt horrible but I couldn't really justify going home because I was having such a good time with Heather and all of them...such a good time that I stayed until the pub closed and then went out to a club across the street...which was not the greatest. It was absolutely dead and we had lost a lot of people along the way...and some more while we were there...(ie. Katie) ha ha ha. After Katie and Jessica had to go home, it was just Heather me and all of the Irish guys so we convinced them to go to another club where all the rest of the AU kids had gone to, the Karlovy. I am not a big club person, because I really don't like dancing much, but we had a really good time. I started feeling better once we were there, but I still didn't feel well enough to drink. We met up with everyone else from our group and just hung out until about 5:30 in the morning. The guy Heather had been flirting with mysteriously disappeared right before we left so we stood around outside freezing to death while we made fun of her for being the "kiss of death" and having thrown him in the river. After about 30 minutes of this, still without any sign of Darren, we caught a cab home. Apparently we were about the third group for whom the door wouldn't open, so the people in the first room were really grouchy when we rolled up at 6am to go to sleep. We found the guy that Heather had "killed" curled up in his bed fast asleep. We hid in the bathroom (so that the girls in the front room wouldn't kill us) and listened to Darren give us the worst excuse ever as to why he came back without us and left us waiting. It was hilarious. The whole night was just a lot of fun and we all enjoyed ourselves a lot. I fell asleep just as the sun was coming up... The next morning we had to wake up at 9:30 so we could pack up and check out by 10:30. We were all dragging from only 3 and a half hours of sleep, but we managed to get everything packed up. I felt 110% better than the day before...apparently "Prague death" is a 24 hour bug type thing. We locked up our bags and then went back to Prague Castle to see if it was open. It was bitterly cold, but sunny and we were all in good spirits. We climbed the tower on Charles Bridge and then made our way back to the Castle. The boys were complaining the whole way that they were so tired...but when we got to the steps they decided that it would be an excellent idea to race to the top. They ran up all seven flights of stairs and collapsed at the top. From that point on they couldn't walk more than 10 minutes without taking another break (wimps!). We went inside the Cathedral which was beautiful, and then back down the hill to get some lunch. I had the Bohemian platter, which was roast duck, ham, and something else with what looked like dumplings. Mine was delicious, but I think I had the best cuts because the other people's plates did not look so appetizing. The "dumplings" or whatever they were, were not that good and the gang was not too happy overall. My meal was good though so I had nothing to complain about. (It probably also had something to do with the fact that I had not eaten anything aside from a piece of bread since lunch the day before..."Prague death" really takes it out of you!) We wandered back to the hostel...relaxed for a while in the kitchen area and then made our way back to the bus station. Apparently a lot of the other people on the trip had not wound up having as good of a time in Prague as we did, so the general mood was pretty grumpy. We loaded everything onto the bus and began the lovely 13 hour journey home. We knew we were in trouble when the guy in front of us sat down and lifted his arms to stretch and both Heather and I were overcome by the horrible stench. Then, about 30 minutes after the bus started moving, a little kid 4 seats ahead of us threw up in the aisle. So...we sat for the next 13 hours in a cramped bus gagging from the BO of the guy in front of us and the smell of vomit....does it get much worse than that?? Heather at least passed out pretty quickly, but I, as usual, could not sleep. I think I managed to pull off 2 hours before we pulled into Brussels. We stumbled back to the metro with our bags and dragged ourselves to bed so that we could catch an hour or so of sleep before we had to be at class. I was too tired to pay much attention, but at least we didn't have EU Seminar I, which is quickly becoming the bane of my existence. Dr. Shea gave a very interesting seminar as always so that was good. He is giving another special class on Terrorism tonight so that should be good. Well that about wraps up my weekend in Prague. Regardless of any setbacks I had an awesome time and can't wait to go there again with Megan in May! ...and to go drinking with all our new friends in March! Below are some of the highlights...and lowlights....

Dan's Three Strikes
1. Not drinking with me
2. Reading on the bus
3. Not chewing the cookie I gave him because he just brushed his teeth

"Welcome to Prague...can I buy a vowel."

"Child Sized" beers

"I can tell you are trouble..." - Guy from Liverpool

Beware of "Prague Death"

My four Irish children: Michael, Shamus (a girl), Ichabod, and Kermit

Trying to get the Irish guys to dance... ha ha ha

The English-Irish dictionary that we are starting
Can anyone translate...
"That cathedral is cracker"

Heather starring as The Kiss of Death

and many, many more....
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