praha ha ha ha

What adventures, Fannie! I envy any trip to see the Fallises, naturally, and it’s always good to remember that the real Napoli was a disappointment, anyway. Terrible pizza at the ferry station.

I, on the other hand, spent my Valentine’s Day in the Russian Cemetery in Prague looking for Franz Kafka, who is buried at the Jewish Cemetery next door. How I went a full hour and a half without figuring out that I was in the wrong Czechoslovakian graveyard is a fantastical mystery and a striking blow to my intelligence, as the Russian’s is a cross-laden grave culture and their names are about as unlike Franz Kafka as Amanda Sims is unlike Boris Schwarzwald. The Russian cemetery was just wonderfully lush and gnarled and so after redundantly retracing the steps I’d found on the internet to locate Kafka’s exact grave (right directions, wrong cemetery) in chronic and bewildered failure, I sort of just wandered around reading names taking pictures and, dare I say it, enjoying myself. Walking in circles. In the wrong cemetery. In suburban Prague on Valentine’s Day 2010. In hindsight, this is a bit of a low point.

The Russian Cemetery: not to be confused with the Jewish Cemetery

i highly recommend the russian cemetery in all its glorious oddness

Kafka is buried in Jewish Plot 21 right near the main entrance to the Jewish Cemetery (if that was previously unclear), and let me just say that no one who buried a loved one in the Russian Plot 21 has visited them since it snowed a foot or two this winter. I had to make the trails myself through the snow. Picture me – camera around neck, map in hand, alone on Valentine’s Day – my every fiber practically screaming I’M AN AMERICAN TOURIST – is it not outrageous?  I took a Kafka class in college and I think the whole escapade would not appear out of place in a collection of his short stories: The Wrong Graveyard. But the afternoon sun was wonderfully orange and I was disturbingly happy and I did not wake up as a bug the next morning. I did find some plastic roses and a wickless candle on Kafka’s actual grave (when I was rerouted by a patronizing Russian lady) and felt that nothing in the whole day was out of place.

the sign i had been looking for

it was just like being on a date

It is worth mentioning, of course, that I spent the entire weekend in Prague – 3 full days and nights! – with two dear friends from school (Caroline and Katie) and that in literally every way it was an incredible trip. Prague, unlike Berlin I might say, is a fantastic city to wander around in, as each little crooked street backs into another and they are all lined with multicolored pastel facades that look as bizarrely plastic as they do authentically old. Also, I think it is called “The Golden City of Spires” and has plenty of fairy-tale-looking churches perched on the side of a busy marketed plaza.

not an unusal paint color in Praha

looking down on old town - we hiked up here!

Useless Facts: Unlike most of Europe, the Czech Republic has not switched over to the Euro and maintains their local currency of Crowns and Hellers which are so inflated that hellers, the “cents,” do not actually circulate or exist in everyday exchanges. 1 Euro coverts to 25 crowns, and on top of that, it’s arguably a cheaper city to visit than Berlin. My first meal (coffee, soup, side) was about 4 euros in total and at one of the nicer restaurants we would eat in. Though it feels like a game of Monopoly to be carrying around 1000 anything in bills, it was absolutely shocking how much we got to experience for what we paid. And then I bought a new pair of high-waisted/cuffed denim shorts to rock with black tights and a stripey shirt back in Paris and totally spoiled my budgeting. I will say, however, that besides the red winter hat/beret thingy, this is my FIRST clothing purchase in Europe. And, yes, it was at the H&M in Prague. Classy.

Our hostel is also worth mentioning, one that I took from recommendation of a friend’s friend and that we really liked, especially for its prime location next to an English bookstore/coffeeshop/brunchplace/winebar (all one lethal establishment) called the Globe where we not only did homework but also recovered from an evening of sampling the, er, local liquers… For 20 euros per person in total, we slept 3 nights in an 8-person dorm-style room with 3 Spanish girls our age and one very sweaty awkward Greek Man who made and ate salami + butter sandwiches in the room and, unsurprisingly, occupied the bottom bunk of the bunk bed set of which I had claimed the top. Of course! How typical! Happy Valentine’s Day weekend to me. He turned out to be aloof and non-english speaking (pff) so we locked up our belongings during the day and just trekked everywhere on foot without him (no loss). Prague is for walkers, and we only stopped for hot wine (“sustenance”) and local fare (read: sauerkraut, pork, horseradish, mustard and one fantastic dish of spicy pad thai) as needed.

the Vltava (say that 10 times fast)

mistletoe: always in season in prague on Valentine's Day weekend

And then we got up at 3:30 am to catch our flight back to Paris THIS MORNING so that Katie and I could do A PRESENTATION in class at 9:30. I actually didn’t get out of class today (minus a 1 hour break) until 5:00 pm, at which point I went straight to La Grande Epicerie and stocked up on glutenless rice noodles (thank you, Asia) and the ingredients for peanut sauce.  I shall sleep well tonight.  In the next 5 minutes.

PS: I have recieved 3 of the collage puzzle pieces from Annie so far…

PPS: I just stabbed a cockroach with a knife while wearing my new jean shorts. Jorts. Missing East Tennessee.

xoxo

Fred

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~ by soleilsphere on February 15, 2010.

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