Happy Birthday to Me!

We arrived in prague very late after our train was delayed several times. Apparently, this is not uncommon in the czech republic. No problem because we had a reservation at a hostel (first time for everything), right? Wrong. They forgot to tell us during our rushed phone conversation (watching the time left on your phone card slowly tick away while you finalize a reservation is nerve-racking) that we needed to call the day we were supposed to arrive to CONFIRM our arrival – even though we had reserved our room only the day before. No worries, there is probably somewhere else to stay, right? I mean, it’s not like it’s a holiday or anything.
Easter is apparently a big time for prague. People come from all over europe to sample the cheap beer (around 50 cents US) and thriving nightlife. Now, we’re on the street without a room or any idea where we should try next! Sounds like a good time to start walking, eh? About 100 meters from the hostel was a shining entry-way with marble floors and huge panes of glass looking into an elaborate reception area – in other words, a 5 star hotel. We look at each other an figure what the hell, let’s give it a shot. We walk in – backpacks in tow, sock hats on, clothes that haven’t been washed in who knows how long on, and ask if there are any rooms available. The manager looks us over briefly and replies no just as the girl working the counter chimes in with yes, but only singles. Hmmmm. How much, we ask. They quote the price in deutsch marks and euros, which having recently come from germany makes a little sense but still leaves us slightly puzzled. This is obvious to our lovely receptionist who asks what currency we would like to see the quote in. US dollars, we reply. She punches some stuff into a calculator and returns with – normally, it’s this much but we can give them to you for $120/night per person. After the initial shock wore off, we realized we may not have any choice (we had called over 30 hostels the previous day and only found one that had availability) and stood around thinking for a moment. They offered to show us the room and we figured we could delay our decision a bit if we did. The room was insanely large and had a TV and private bath/shower and toilet! Erik is still getting severence pay and I – well, I had $100 US that my grandparents had given me. So we decided to do it.

So, grandma and grandpa gave me a night at a five star hotel in prague for my birthday – thanks!! The hotel is amazing, as most 5 star hotels are. We had a nice comfortable bed and privacy – ah privacy. It was so nice to just sleep in a room by myself for one night.

We went out with the intention of getting something to eat and hanging out a bit. The hanging out wasn’t going so great and we were about ready to leave when we noticed some guys at the bar getting ready to do a shot of absinthe and we didn’t know the proper procedure so I hopped over and asked if we could watch and learn. The guys were from germany and could speak english in a very limited fashion. They more than welcomed us into the fray and proceeded to show us the procedure. First, you empty sugar into a spoon. You then dip the spoon and sugar into the absinthe shot and pull it back out once all the sugar is soaked in the delightful green drink. The lighter comes out and you light the spoon. Wait until the flame goes out then dip the burnt sugar into the shot and stir…then, do what you do with every other shot in the world. The catch is that you are shooting a 160 proof, mildly hallucinagenic shot…which is bound to burn on the way down! It was fun and we learned the process for the next night where we will take in larger quantities and hopefully explore this alcohol further.

We talked to the germans all night and found out they were thrilled that everyone in the world was learning english! They could now talk to their neighbors in the czech republic, italy, france, spain wherever in europe they are coming from. I thought there might be some ill-feelings towards americans and brits since we were “pushing” our language on them, but quite the contrary – they are just happy to have others to talk to. (a side note – they were quite glad we would let them practice their english…most brits would refuse to talk to them because “their english was too poor.” Go figure) It was an exhausting night for all involved because we were translating broken english and they were translating german into english and we were all drinking and…whew – a taste of prague.

I woke up to a phone call that told me of my massage appointment – thanks erik! I got a well needed massage, got cleaned up, and headed to breakfast. (btw, I only got two hours of sleep in the most comfortable bed of the trip yet…poor planning on my part!!)

It’s off to book a train to munich now. I had a great birthday party in the czech republic! Later!

ryan

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