“It might be that to surrender to happiness was to accept defeat, but it was a defeat better than many victories” by W. Somerset Maugham. I found this quote on the bus back to Mannheim from Prague – I thought it was worth sharing because I thought it was a nice quote. Before I talk about the bus ride home (which isn’t the highlight of the trip), let’s jump into a time machine, go back a week (or two), and see how you can spend a day in Prague.
We were scheduled to depart on Friday and we would be leaving at midnight so we still had time to enjoy the day. It was during the early hours of evening that I got a spontaneous impulse to make reservations to a fancy restaurant called Bootshaus, which is located by the Neckar. My primary reason for the spontaneity was because I never officially asked Judith to a date, elaboration: I never asked, “will you go on a date with me.” Our story is kind of different so I didn’t do that traditional steps of conquistarla; but enough with my justifications. The reservation was made for 8 p.m. and as always, Judith dressed up very nicely, she wore a horizontal stripped dress that looked exquisite on her and for the first time, I wore a dress shirt to a date. Both us enjoyed the dinner, she got a really nice salad (I am strongly against ordering salads at restaurants but this one was worth it), and I can’t remember what I got because the desert was so delicious. The desert is called geschmolzener schokoladenkuchen (molten chocolate cake). Initially, I didn’t think the desert would be great because I didn’t know how the mango compote would turn out and it never occurred to me to serve those two components together but they prepared it very well and it was great until I ruined it by smashing the desert into one – I guess it was best to eat like a civilized person. Despite my failed attempt to improve a dish that was already perfect, we enjoyed our first rendezvous together and we are looking forward to the next one. Midnight was approaching us and we only had 2 hours to pack for the trip so it was time to get on to the 5 tram.
Let’s start with some of the logistics of the trip:
- Travel agency: Mango Tours
- Cost (Total) = 106 € (incl. roundtrip bus & hotel)
- Duration of trip: 1 1/2 days
- Departure from Mannheim: 12:30 a.m.
- Arrival at Prag: 9:45 a.m. (9 hours)
- Hotel: Vitkov Hotel
- Departure from Prague: 12:15 p.m.
- Arrival at Mannheim: 11:00 (10 hours and 45 min.)
This trip had me somewhat nervous due to the fact that we would be on a bus for 9 hours and I was afraid that I wouldn’t have enough energy to enjoy the day, but it turned out to be fine. I slept through most of the bus trip and when we arrived to Prague, the entire group was hungry so we went out looking for breakfast. Someone had recommended a popular café called Café Louvre so we set out to locate this café; I didn’t really do much of the guiding, Paula & Daniel are the ones I had to thank. This café is very popular because of the quality of it’s dishes and it has some historical significances – a lot of influential individuals have sat within these walls; a few worth mentioning is Franz Kafka (writer), Karel Čapek (writer), and Albert Einstein (no explanation needed). The café is located on the famous street of Národní, in which the street is significant for a few reasons, but one of the most prominent is that it is believed that the initiation of the Velvet Revolution begun on this street, which is when a peaceful student demonstration was violently suppressed by the police – this revolution would end the communist regime. Located next to the café is a jazz club called, Reduta, supposedly, the club has a great jazz scene but it is also famous for hosting U.S. President Bill Clinton, he played the saxophone. Note: I am sure we will hear plenty about the Clinton’s in the upcoming years (ElEcTiOn).
I would love to detail every dish of the lunch, but I think we will just skip that part. All that is must be known is that lunch was very good. After lunch, we made our way back to the Hauptbahnhof so we can travel to our hotel. As soon as we arrived, we decided to meet in 1 1/2 hours, the group needed to reenergize but I couldn’t nap so I took a walk and bought some delicious fruit, which I forcefully shared with Judith.
Initially, we didn’t know where we were going to go because we had a tentative schedule that was subject to change every hour. Everybody wanted to go to different places, some people wanted to hit-up the old town, others wanted to go the Jewish area, and everybody wanted to go to the Charles Bridge. Nevertheless, we began walking around the city and as you can image, it was beautiful and glamorous. I have been to few cities around Europe and Prague made it onto my list of “you-really-need-to-see-this-shit”. I can’t really say much about what we did because we just toured the city, took pictures, laughed, and ran into poles. Yeah, so let’s look at some pictures!
The sun was setting and the only replacement for it was Judith’s smile. I hope that wasn’t to cheesy but I just felt like writing a very short poem.
We headed back to the hotel and everybody was pretty much beat…. actually, scratch that! I meant to say that we all went out to dinner and then we went back to the hotel. Dinner was enjoyable, unfortunately, I don’t remember what I ate (as usual) – but that’s because it was not that exotic. We got to play a really fun game around the table, I don’t know what the game is called but this are the rules: you tell 2 things about yourself (have to be true) and then you tell 1 lie about yourself. The participants have to guess which one is the lie. This game was very fun because it was a way to get more familiar with the group and learn things that you didn’t know about the other person.
After dinner we headed back to the hotel and once again, most of us were tired due to uncomfortable sleep on the bus. Frankly, I wasn’t really that motivated to go out to the club – I just wanted to sleep but the whole reason of going to Prague was to celebrate Ersi birthday. Whatever the birthday girl wants, we had to fulfill (with a few exceptions; unfortunately, Niklas didn’t have a choice). I think I should have probably mentioned that earlier, Ersi is Judith’s friend and she was celebrating her 21st birthday ;). Luckily, somehow, I made a good first impression on her so I was invited to celebrate with them.
Fortunately, I got to sleep for about an hour or so and I grew a pair during the meantime and got my ass out of bed; also due to the fact that everyone entered our room and I had a pillow thrown at my face.
The club that we went to was called Karlovy Lazne. The features of the place peaked my interest because it was suppose to have 5 different floors and each one had a different theme; there was one floor that was built out of ice. Once we began our way to the club, which is located next to the Charles Bridge, I began to feel a little bit nervous. This was because I am not the best dancer and I have been told: “The way you dance is equivalent to a walking tree… no rhythm and stiff movements” & “watching you dance scared me mijo, for a moment, I thought you were about punch that girl” & “Eddie, come dance with us, that way, I look like I actually have some moves”. Needless to say, the confidence I never had about my dancing ability was struck down to the floor, spitted on, and buried 10 feet deep. I won’t talk about the night because it is kind of pointless (danced most of the time), but the club was pretty cool and it was what I expected it to be.
We woke up early in the morning because the hotel provided free breakfast and the bus would be taking us to the castle. Fun facts about the castle: largest ancient castle in the world and it is the official residence and office of the current president (Miloš Zeman). The castle was cool because it had a really nice garden and for any flower aficionado’s (my grandpa), each flower/plant had a description of its characteristics and the origins of it. Since we were limited on time, we didn’t really go into any of the buildings so we just walked around the castle.
To end the story short, Prague was awesome and I was excited to come back to this beautiful city because my cousin would be coming to study abroad (for a month) within a few weeks. Until then, it was time to go back to the bus and head back to Mannheim were I would spend 2 1/2 dreadful weeks studying for my finals. Here are some pictures:
Without a doubt, the worst part of the trip was the 10 hour bus ride back to Mannheim. My intent was to try to sleep the entire bus ride but our seat was located where we could not extend our legs and that is a problem for me. I stayed awake for most of the ride and read some nice articles, that is how I stumbled upon that nice quote. It might not have much significance to anything relatable to my life (at least not yet) but it was a way that I can start writing this post. It had taken me some time to write this post because of my finals but better late than never, right? I only got a few weeks left in Germany and I am excited to go back home because I will be reunited with my family but I will miss it terribly – luckily, I’ll be back in September!