Prague has my heart. There is no denying it. This is my future home. One day we will move here and it will be the most glorious time of my existence. This is the city where love can only grow stronger, where people never get sick and while people get older, they never age or get boring.
So I’ve been drinking espresso a lot to try to keep my pipes moving (if you catch my drift) which is amazing and feels sooo European to finish dinner with a tee tiny cup of espresso with perfect creme on top….however, it also leaves me wide awake at 2 in the morning. I’m sitting in one of my 3 double windows in Prague which overlooks the most quant street I’ve ever seen listening to French music drift through the window. I want to move here. I think I could seriously just stay here in Prague forever. It might be the best city on the planet.
Even though our journey started with a little adventure, our short time here thus far has been perfect. We got to the hotel we’d booked and they had not only lost our reservation but it was also completely booked! Even though we were willing to search around for another hotel, the lady helping us would here nothing of the sort and spent the next hour calling every hotel they were affiliated with to find us another room (turning 6 customers away in the process telling them they needed to come back later because she was in the middle of fixing a problem). She ended up finding us a far better hotel than our original and gave us the same price. Our room takes up an entire floor of the hotel….ok…which isn’t as huge as that night seem because the buildings here are incredibly narrow (because when they were built, the owners paid taxes on how wide not how tall the buildings were). So wala….we were given then greatest surprise we could hope for.
We basically spent the rest of the day walking around Prague falling in love with the city and more in love with each other. We came across this delightful unassuming park that had pear trees, apple trees, and peacocks!! What?! Enchanting. Then we got dinner gelato and fell more in love (again with the city and each other). Perfect say. Cannot wait for tomorrow.
Paris has been amazing and exhausting. Jeff and I are walking anywhere between 5 and 7 hours a day and coming “home” thoroughly tuckered out. Whoosh.
Day one in Paris, we basically just walked around and saw the city which is most certainly the most magnificent city we have been to yet. Not speaking French is a little daunting but we’ve quickly picked up “Bon jour” “Bon sway” “merci” “du” and “paley vu ongley” (all this is obviously the pheonetic spelling because I clearly do not know how to write in French). This is a city where even the bums speak English although every single person very begrudgingly.
Day two in Paris we desperately needed to do some laundry so we took the first half of the day to tackle that. Jeff had done his research and felt very confident in operating the very-different-from-the-states laundry mat style washers in French but once we got there it was pretty overwhelming. Thankfully there was a delightful although slightly over zealous shop attendant who insisted on rambling the entire time to us in French even though he was well aware we didn’t (really) speak a lick (because really, does repeating MARCI over and over really count for anything). He basicallymdid our laundry for us. Quite the experience. Next we went home and took a nap and that evening we decided to go to a fondue place recommended to us by Josh Toole. First, it was located in Sacre Coure which is, by far, the most delightful suburb of Paris. It’s the Paris you see in the movies. So you walk into this restaurant and the owner takes the hand of the females who come in a beckons them to step up on a chair and step OVER the table to get to the seat in the other side! Not so easy if you’re wearing a dress. Any there are no single tables but rather you are sharing a table with everyone on that side of the restaurant. We had the pleasure of sitting next to a group of London lesbians on one side and a nurse and gynecologist from Boston on the other. It was so so much fun although the Londoners were by far the best company. NOTE never say fanny (even in preference to the pack) to a person from England. It’s basically the “C” word.
Day three we trekked back to city center and saw all the sights again but this time god quite close to the Eiffel Tower and after walking about 7 hours we decided to go home early and watch some Seinfeld. Tomorrow we go to Prague!
Day two in Amsterdam and I still cannot get over how amazing this city is. Even though our hostel is in the very heart of the Red Light District (which means there are mostly-naked girls in windows as we walk out the door…(I guess nothing says “good morning” like a bunch of titties in your face, and there are “coffee shops” everywhere we look so if the tits don’t wake you up, the “wake-up weed” certainly does) I find this city enchanting. I still love the topsy turvy buildings and the bikes everywhere but yesterday I found a new love: the locals.
P.S./FYI: (in Amsterdam) coffee shop = weed shop, cafe= coffee shop or bar.
Jeff and I have found that the very best travel advice is from locals. We met a great young lad from the UK who was our server at one of our favorite places whom we talked to on and off for the better part of 3 hours who recommended we check out a Thai Restaurant called The Bird (don’t start singing the song or you’ll get it stuck in your head the rest of the day, not that I would know), which happened to be incredible and cheap Thai food AND where we met another local who told us to check out the most romantic city we’ve been to yet called Jordaan (every street is named after a flower….how Dutch, right?…Tulip Bubble anyone? Econ majors where are you…) where we met another local who told us some street markets to check out tomorrow. Wow Rick Steves, betcha didn’t know any of that huh?!
Anyways, the thing I love about the locals is that Amsterdam people are conservative and quite friendly. They are not jaded by tourists as much as Londoners and the way they seem to approach life is with the mentality that being ordinary is being prudent. They are not flashy like Dubliners and Londoners but they have a feisty passion for the freedom of legalized weed and prostitutes. Every culture seems to have pointed and bizarre passions surrounding certain freedoms: for the Germans, it’s their right to no speed limit on the Autobahn; for the French, it is their right to sit at a cafe as long as they damn well please; yada yada yada…and for the Amsterdonians, it’s weed, hash and hoes. I guess I love it…
…but one thing I don’t exactly love is that if tourists are cultural beach combers looking for cliches, Asterdam is a sandy beach just after a storm. What I mean is that Amsterdam really plays up the XXX and sex and weed everywhere you freaking go. And I know it can be done tactfully because let me tell you Dublin has just as many cliches they could play off of (leprechaun, four leaf clovers, Vikings) but you really don’t get much of that unless you seek it out on purpose. Good heavens, half the U.S. seems to have roots to Ireland and have a family crest of some sort or a pub named after their family or at least a street and Dublin certainly does not go whoring themselves out to tourist…but then again Amsterdam is the queen of whores.
ok sorry. Tangents. So we did not go to the Corrie Ten Boom house because it was a 4 hour walk and the tattoo museum has apparently been shut down BUT we did go on a canal cruise and go to Jordaan. Pretty delightful day I’d say. Oh and we got Frites which are basically thich cut French fries with sauce poured over them (or if you’re like us you’ll ask for it on the side because jeff doesn’t like as much sauce as I do. I think I basically eat things for the sauce) AND we got Dutch pastries…or maybe I should be calling them Danishes. Nonetheless, I got a wonderful cream filled, whipped cream and chocolate topped croissant thing which blew me (away).
Ok if any of you actually read this, I realize it’s a courtesy (thanks) but what you really want is pictures so here we go…
Morning coffee…as in cafe coffee…
Walking around during the day…
Jeff and I arrived in Amsterdam last night and my, what an unbelievable city this is. Probably the most beautiful city I will ever go to. Amsterdam was never bombed in the war and rumor has it that’s because it was Hitler’s vacation spot. If that’s so, Hitler is one smart man. There are canals everywhere in this city and bikes on every wall, post, and mail box. And while the smell of pot drifts through the streets and prostitutes rock cars in drive thru enjoyment, one can’t help but ponder the complexities of man.
I think my favorite part thus far are the houses that line the canals. They jostle for a river view and look like cripples who have lost their crutches. Oh the wonder of living in one of those houses!
So, today we will probably go to the Tattoo Museum (the best in the world?) and I really want to go to Corrie Tin Boom’s house and see the actual hiding place!! Or maybe we’ll just roll with a prostitute or roll a joint….jk.
Sights from the plane
First looks at Amsterdam