Prague: Day 2

This morning started at approximately 8 a.m. with the crying of a 15-month-old little Czech girl, which woke us from our respective dead sleep. To us, the sound was warming because it’s what we’ve grown accustom to with our own cute little brood.

We were welcomed by our hosts in the kitchen and greeted with warm kolache. We were taught that the single pastry is “co-lawch” — more than one pastry is kolache (“co-lawch-eh”) versus our Texan-Bohemian, “hey, y’all wanna gets us some dang ol’ kullochees?” Radek also whipped up a couple lattes with his Nespresso machine (I’m so getting one of those for our kitchen), and after cleaning up and getting dressed, the 5 us were off and headed into Prague.

I wish I could tell you where we drove, but I can’t because I have absolutely zero bearings. After driving through town and through a really long tunnel, we found ourselves at the gate to Radek’s mom’s office. He buzzed from the call box and the car was let in. We parked in the dirt parking lot of what I would have guessed to be just some random building in the ‘burbs of Prague. Radek was on the phone and said, “look up at window in building and wave – it’s my mother.” We exchanged excited waves with Radek’s mom who was in her office and shortly after were exchanging smiles, hellos and handshakes after she’d walked down to meet us in person.

After a minute of pleasantries and Radek’s mom getting to see her granddaughter, Nicole for a minute, we were traipsing downhill and onto the cobblestone streets of Prague. After a refreshing (and cold) hike, we were on the grounds of Pražský hrad (Prague castle). Radek and walked over to a ticket booth and bought two tickets for the small (“maly”) tour of the Prague castle grounds for Elise and me. Radek and Jana stayed back with Nicole as Elise and I took the self-guided foot tour of the St Vitus Cathedral – absolutely stunning and amazing architecture both inside and out. Next we stopped at the Basilica of St. George, not as impressive after bearing witness to the cathedral, but gorgeous nonetheless.

After lots of photos and moseying, we headed back through the cobblestone streets to the car and back to the Janíčeks for a lunch of řízek (schnitzel), goulash and pear and apple juices. After relaxing and letting Nicole nap for an hour or so, we were off again. This time our hosts took us to see Vyšehrad, which is where first settlers came and what eventually became Prague. While here we also toured the basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul and the Vyšehrad cemetery. Again, beautiful architecture and amazingly historic and eclectic cemetery.

We were a little pressed for time because we also needed to get dinner and have time to get back to the Janíčeks, and then back into town for the opera. We went to the local mall and picked up sandwiches (or baquettes) at what seemed to be like a local Subway. Then we headed back to the house and we were soon off again with Radek for him to drop us off at the Prague State Opera. Radek was very generous to buy Elise and me tickets to see Carmen. Again with the architecture, the opera house was amazing. The performance itself… well, it was the opera. Elise enjoyed it. After the first 15 minutes, I had to play a little game of “how long can I hold my breath” with myself just to stay awake. We were finally able to use our first koruna to purchase a glass of wine for Elise and a Coke for me so I could stay awake for the last two scenes.

Radek picked us up outside of the opera house at 10 p.m. and brought us home where we said our goodnights and made plans to visit old town Prague tomorrow. Elise has again beaten me to sleep. Need to get some rest for another big day tomorrow.

Photos from today can be seen here.

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