Thursday, October 25, 2007

Prague

Despite our best intentions to absorb all of the culture, history and art of a destination, our trip has sometimes devolved into a tour of the world’s ice cream. This is not a bad thing. When I took Jack and Charlie to Paris several years ago, we did a self designed “hot chocolate tour” of the city of lights. (The best is at Café’ Flore En Ille across from Notre Dame Cathedral). I think it gave them an appreciation for the culinary delights of Paris. Even for 9 and 12 year olds.

Still, there is a pressure not to waste a single second of this trip, to be constantly learning, experiencing or researching. It gets exhausting for all of us. This is why it has been so nice to have friends meet us along the way. They change the dynamics of the trip with their excitement for and knowledge of a new destination. Our friend Adrienne Granger met us in Belize for the kickoff of the trip, and now was meeting us in Prague and traveling on to Dublin for the end.

Adrienne had been to Prague many times and has friends (Kristine and David) who live there. I totally depended on her to make all of the arrangements and teach us about Prague. It was a smart decision.

Prague was a whirlwind. It is such a beautiful city, a lovely little jewel box of gorgeous buildings, bridges, statues and fountains. Kristine and David took us to a castle and on a hiking tour of the countryside our first day there. The kids got to hold a live owl and see an old local woman bundling wheat sheaves (by hand) in the field.

Kristine, a professor at the University, invited Mike to guest lecture in her business class. He loved it!

We tried Becherovka (a spicey – think cloves and cinnamon – local liquor) and Gambrinus (yummy, local beer) and thanks to Kristine and David’s talent with the language we were able to eat at local pubs and not accidentally order brain sausage.

Another friend of Adrienne’s (Jeff Jordan) also joined us for a few nights. He was lots of fun – waking Mike up with “You Say It’s Your Birthday” musical medley complete with dancing and singing early on the morning of Mike’s 43rd Birthday.

And per usual, we met a local man (Andrew) in a café and spent the night trailing him around to the best jazz club in Prague. He also bought us shots of Absinthe (that scary green liquor that is rumored to cause hallucinations and is illegal in the USA) which Mike and I successfully avoided drinking. When your real life is this interesting who needs to hallucinate?

Oh, and the Italian gelato, flavors pistachio and green apple, were the hands down favorites.

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