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05:00 pm: Bag Czech
Teddy sat up in the middle of the night, said “CRA!” and went back to sleep... for a few minutes.

Why did we have so many crapulous nights on vacation? Was it the strange setting? The disruption to our routines? The strange food -- and not enough of it for Teddy and too much for me? Too much chocolate? All those injuries? Too much light in our room at Helen’s? Or could it have been the emergence of Teddy's four big honkin’ molars?

* * * * *

We said our goodbyes quickly. For those of us who tend to be overly sentimental (that would be me), quick goodbyes work well.

We had a cheap brunch in Ždár nad Sázavou (50¢ for a salami and cheese sub, paid for by tickets subsidized 60% by my FIL's company, too, which is a common benefit at Czech companies). Peter also had Czech yogurt, which appears to be mixed with Jello, not fruit. Um? ICK.

Teddy slept the 15 minutes in the car to Ždár and the 10 minutes of our brunch, but not on the train to Prague. (We wanted first-class seats again, but the ticket agent wasn't sure if there was a first-class car -- never mind that the picture on the wall showed a first-class car on that train -- then couldn't figure out how to sell us first-class seats. Argh. So we went second class.)

It was hot and Teddy was crabby, so it wasn't a lot of fun. Actually, it was really no fun at all. So it goes. At least it prepared us for the craptastic arrival in the main Prague train station. There, the handicapped ramp (our method of choice, loaded down with all our bags and Teddy's stroller) from the platform to the station was off in East Overshoe, at the very very end of the platform. Nice treatment for people in wheelchairs, eh?

Even better, there's no ramp at all from the station outside. No escalator down. No elevator. Nothing. Nothing we could find, anyway, and we looked. So Peter had to take about 6 trips up and down the stairs with luggage while I kept Teddy, who was miserable staying still, at the top.

Still, it was a bright, sunny, gorgeous day in Prague, and our hotel was very near the train station. Except that we didn't know exactly where. I'd printed copies of our itinerary for everyone, but left mine at home in Boston. I looked up the address, wrote it on a piece of paper (archaic!), and gave it to Peter, who lost it.

I was ready to kill Peter, because he wouldn’t ask for directions. What a man thing! It was positively maddening... until I found out why: people were no help. The police didn’t know our hotel, which turned out to be about 20 meters from where they were standing. It was in sight, and they had no idea where it was. ARGH.

Anyway, we hauled all our luggage (emphasis on LUG) around looking for the hotel until I looked it up in the phonebook in a pay-phone (thank goodness we weren't in, say, NYC, where there would be no phone book). When we got there, we found that the hotel lobby is on the second floor, meaning all that LUGgage had to go up another flight of stairs. :sigh: Fortunately, the bellhop was alert and helpful (and didn't even expect a tip).

* * * * *

We dumped the LUGgage, went to the loo, changed Teddy, and headed into Staré Město (old town), my favorite part of Prague (we also stumbled into the Ungelt section, which was very cool). It was Easter Festival, so the square was filled with kitschy little booths and authentic Czech foods like hot dogs, fried dough (lagoše, with cheese -- and garlic, alas), and beer. Once again, Teddy was totally diggin’ the cobblestones.

He did fall asleep for a while, which he definitely needed.

I'd hoped he would get to see the atomic clock, which I know he would like (when it chimes, all kinds of cool animatronic stuff happens). When we first stood there, we were fine, but then everyone started crowding around and I got very nervous... besides, he could only see people's butts at that point. So we'll go back next time.

We walked for around four hours. Teddy screamed if we stopped, and laughed if we walked. So walking it was. It was nice to shake off the fanny fatigue from the train, too.

We saw some very cool wooden toys, with pulls and wheels and stuff. I love the Eastern European toys... they seem to be well-designed and safe, but don't involve plastic or Barney. I got a couple of cars earlier in the trip, but resisted the truly cool toys at Peter's suggestion. He said we shouldn't buy any, because his folks don’t ever know what to get us... and the toys would be cheaper in NMNM than Prague.

We were disappointed that the Staropramen display didn’t reflect items for sale in a grocery store we passed. Staropramen is Peter's favorite beer, and he would've liked having a glass or beer tray. Oh well.

* * * * *

When we returned to the hotel, Peter went to fetch dinner. Teddy would not have been able to sit still for a real restaurant (or a pub), and I refused to eat McDonald's or KFC in Prague. So Peter got some wretched fries and chicken, then went back out for far-better hotdogs. I love the rolls they use for hotdogs in Eastern Europe: they're not split, but a hole is cut from the end, and the hotdog shoved down the middle (with about a half-cup of mustard). Much less leakage that way.

Teddy had his first bubble bath at Hotel Tulip, which was good fun. He got over his intimidation at the bubbles very quickly and had a grand time.

Current Location: Prague
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: Hold on, I'm Coming (Sam & Dave)
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