Prague/Dresden, Day 1: Prague

It hadn’t occurred to me when I booked our plane flights to Prague that we were leaving on a Friday the 13th. Dan is completely dismissive of such superstitions, and I generally don’t lend them very much credence myself. However, the lore surrounding that date may help explain the travel shenanigans we encountered on the outbound voyage.

For whatever reason, our Delta flight had us going from Flint -> Atlanta, Atlanta -> JFK, then JFK -> Prague. Whatever, airline gods — we can deal with your complete lack of direction as long as you are getting us to Prague eventually. Fine.

Except.

The actual sequence of events doesn’t much matter — suffice to say that the Atlanta to JFK leg of that trip did not go to plan. Needless to say, we missed our connection in JFK, and had to be rebooked via Amsterdam, which added six hours to our (already long) trip.

So we arrived into Prague around 4:30 pm, about six hours later than we intended, completely drained — and with all of our electronics also almost completely drained (of battery). But we wanted to stay up to try to defeat the jetlag, and to spend what time we had remaining in Prague, so we ventured out without cameras.

We went to a lovely sausage house / beer hall called Lokal, where you can have any beer you want as long as it’s Pilsner Urquell. But you can have a LOT of them. Seriously, there’s a guy whose job it is to walk around with a tray full of beers, and they just keep giving them to you unless you catch them and tell them not to. Then five minutes later they will try again, and look at you funny when you turn them down again. They obviously expect you to have a lot of beers, because they count how many you have had by marking off icons on a small sheet that they leave on your table. Here’s a picture of the sheet, which I stole er, borrowed for documentation purposes:

I feel slightly ashamed that I was only able to knock off one of those beer icons, since they clearly were expecting far more out of me.

We started walking back to our hotel, and happened to come across throngs of people milling about in a neighborhood. We realized that it was a huge special event called Museum Night — museums all across Prague were open from 7 pm until 1 am, and there were free buses shuttling you from one museum-ridden area to the next. We did a quick survey of the museums on offer and realized we were close to the Smetana museum, so we headed down there. There was a concert just about to start when we arrived, so it was packed and HOT. We looked at a few exhibits (I know nothing about Smetana, by the way) and decided it was too stuffy to stay for the concert. We pressed on, our next museum destination (the Czech Museum of Music) determined by a flyer Dan picked up with a picture of a quarter-tone piano built by August Förster, the company who made our (decidedly and disappointingly tonal) grand piano.

This museum also had live music in the atrium, which meant that we were free to walk through the exhibits. Lots of fabulous old instruments, including four things called sediphones, which Dan decided he wanted. The quarter-tone piano did not disappoint; it looked wacky (picture forthcoming from the brochure) and sounded even wackier; the museum had listening stations where you could listen to the different instruments being played. Dan had to pull me away from that one, as well as from the station with the recordings of the mechanical instruments.

More wandering ensued, and we wanted to go to more museums, but at that point we were exhausted. We walked back across the Charles Bridge (more about that in tomorrow’s post), returned to our hotel in Staré Mesto (old town), and collapsed. More Prague adventures tomorrow.

Statistics:
Flights: 4 (one more than intended)
Movies on flight: 1 (Muppets Most Wanted)
Sausages: 3
Beer: 1
Geocaches found: 4
Language fail: all of them. Czech is impenetrable.

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