Down the River
Trip Start Dec 27, 2010
105Trip End Aug 15, 2011
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Not having too much in the way of "good clothes," we did our best to look our best before leaving the apartment, then we set out to enjoy the afternoon in the old town, before hopping on the boat at 8:30. It was a lovely day again, and we took our time wandering across the bridge and along the water on the other side. There are so many places to stop for a drink and snack, and we took advantage of the opportunities and had a few breaks along the way. We happened on the "John Lennon Wall," where Czechs have been writing Lennon-inspired messages since the 80's, when this "subversive" behaviour was punishable by jail time imposed by the ruling communists. Now, this monument to Lennon is encouraged to live on, and paint and brushes are left out for people to add their messges. Our kids were all keen to take part and left their marks on the wall.
After this, it looked like we might have just enough time to do something Jack had been lobbying to do, and that was to take a paddle boat out on the river. We crossed the bridge onto one of the two beautiful park-like islands in the river to reach the paddle boat rental place. Luckily, there was a boat big enough to hold our crew, and we pushed offt. There was a bit of a learning curve, but we were soon on our way in the right direction. There were two paddling positions, at which Mark and the kids happily took turns, while I was quite content to just sit and glide along. There were lots of other paddlers out on the water on this beautiful evening, and we all did a similar route of going under the bridge and then taking a turn around the little island. It was a nice outing.
Near the end of our rental hour, the wind came up quickly and it got chilly. The crew paddled back to the dock, and we made our way along the river to the other dock where we were to board the Jazz Boat. It was quite windy and cold by this time, and we were really glad that our tables for dinner were inside (some people had rooftop tables and the prospect for a warm ride didn't look good).
It was a very nice setting in the dining room of the boat, and we sat down at our table with a young couple from Canada! Mark and I had a good time chatting with them, while the kids enjoyed the special surroundings, the music, and their fancy drinks. They also dazzled us by rising to the occasion with impecable behaviour and table manners (Granny would have been proud).
The band was great and played so many of the classic dixieland jazz songs. At one point, Mark and I were in the middle of a conversation, and Kate got our attention to say, "They're playing Alexander's Ragtime Band!" We all stopped and listened and had an overwhelming collective memory of Dad/Grandad -- it was a very special moment. Later in the evening, they played "In the Mood" which is Harold's favorite song, and we all thought of Harold/Dad/Grampa too.
The boat went through the lock on the river (which was a neat experience) in both directions during the course of the cruse, and we enjoyed all the other views along the way. The food was delicious and the music was delightful, and it was a really fun evening all around.
When we returned to the dock, it was 11 pm, and we were all quite tired. A couple, who also came off the boat, approached us as Mark was looking at the map to get our bearings for the nearest tram station. The man was dressed in a kilt and had a strong Scottish accent, and the woman was Czech, and they both spoke English. They suggested a better route for us to get home via the metro. As they were on their way there too, we walked together and had a nice talk about Prague. We caught the metro to a tram stop closer to our apartment and there we waited. We waited for over 1/2 hour at the sign where we were to pick up our tram, and then Mark asked a driver from another tram why it wasn't coming. Unfortunately, at some point in the night, it stops. The driver directed us to a different stop for a different tram, and we relocated. After about 20 minutes there, the tram came and took us to our neighbourhood. We walked into the apartment at 12:30 and were so glad to be home.
It was a full, fun day!