It’s raining in Prague. Bummer for us, but a relief for everyone else, as it has been a hot, dry summer, threatening even the hops yield. This has been a running conversation we’ve had as we’ve traveled this last month in Europe. Everywhere we go, people are concerned about the changing climate and are keenly feeling the effects in their daily lives. Needless to say, they’re a bit dumbfounded by the current US president’s stance on climate change and the Paris Agreement. TBH, many people here seem a bit dumbfounded by the current US president, period.
We arrived Saturday to yet another AirBnB apartment, this time in Prague 9. It’s outside the city center, and right across from a playground and near a large (huge!) grocery store, so it’s perfect for us. For my Seattle friends, Kaufland – the grocery store – is like Fred Meyer, but everything is in Czech and there are way more yogurt and beer choices.
The kids have taken up renaming everything, I think partly in reaction to being surrounded by languages they can’t read. So Škoda cars have become “chicken cars” and Kaufland is “Pneumonia city”. They think they’re hilarious.
Our first night, we went to a park nearby that was hosting a multicultural festival. As we walked through the park, we happened upon a Strongman competition. The boys enjoyed watching the tire flipping, but we didn’t stay for the part where they pull a semi tractor.
The festival wasn’t very crowded, I’m guessing because of the rain. We listened to Shahab Tolouie play for a set – he combines Persian and Flamenco music, and plays a three-necked guitar. We ate Ethiopian and Congolese food from various vendors, drank guava Jumex from Mexico, and then wandered over to another stage where a jazz quintet was playing Duke Ellington. Not a very Czech evening, but fun.
On Sunday we took the tram into the old town and had lunch at Lokál Dlouhááá where I had svíčková and bread dumplings, a very Czech dish, and a Pilsner Urquell, a very Czech beer. Kyle ordered the goulash and Henry looked startled. “They serve Soviet prison camps here?” he asked – which led to an interesting conversation about Communism, the Iron Curtain, and difference between goulash and gulag.
After lunch we walked along the river and across the Charles Bridge, wandered a bit, happened upon some interesting art, had a coffee on Shooter’s Island, and checked out the Dancing House.
Yesterday we decided to drive into town instead of taking the tram. Parking was a pain. The tram seems to go everywhere here and is pretty easy to navigate, so I think we’ll skip driving to the center anymore.
Once we parked, our first order of business was to find trdelník, a tunnel cake cooked over a grill, covered with cinnamon sugar, and, in our case, filled with chocolate ice cream and fresh raspberries. It’s very popular with the tourists, and apparently looked down upon by the locals. Its inauthenticity as a true Czech tradition mattered not to Max and Henry, who devoured every last sugary bite.
We did some more wandering through town, and climbed up to the metronome in Letná Park.
It was late afternoon and the square around the metronome was filled with skateboarders. Max watched them for a while and you could tell he wished he had his board with him. We’re having some unforgettable experiences on this trip, but sometimes little reminders of our daily life back in California creep in and make us a little homesick.