Friday, July 16, 2010

Šel jsem do zoo!

That's right- I went to the zoo. Because of various unfortunate circumstances, I was unable to make it to the zoos in London, Berlin, Ljubljana, Wien, Amsterdam... or anywhere else that I have been. But, much to my great joy, I have now made it to the zoo right here in Prague. Obviously, I was really excited, because 1) I love zoos and 2) this is one of the best zoos in the world. Plus the prospect of learning animal names in Czech was super awesome.
So we pretty much picked the hottest day this week to go to the zoo... and the hottest time of day (two pm!). Prague is in the midst of a major heatwave at the moment. Today? 33 degrees Celsius, which is in the nineties. Apparently, heat like this happens in July sometimes... for a day. Then things cool off, and all is well again. Not so for the past week! It has been positively boiling. There's not a fan to be had in the city, and since it is so rarely this warm, air-conditioning is more or less a figment of my imagination. I've come to find that the coolest places are outdoors in the shade, but even that is ridiculously hot. Weather reports say that this should break soon, and by Sunday, we'll be back in the lower seventies again. Keep your fingers crossed! That sounds perfect.
The zoo itself was a ton of fun... I really enjoyed it. Although take that statement with a grain of salt, because I seem to enjoy virtually everything I do these days, and I always adore zoos. It was a really beautiful zoo, and the exhibits were rather nice. A lot of the animals were indoors because of the weather, and those parts weren't quite as nice, but I was still impressed. The animals seemed happy enough with their situation! And the ice cream was delicious, and not unreasonably priced like it seems to be in American zoos, so that was a very pleasant surprise! Despite the insane heat, it was a really wonderful way to spend the day.

That night, I headed up to one of my favorite haunts, Vysehrad, with two sandwiches, two liters of juice, and a strong desire to watch the sunset over Prague. After wandering around in the golden sunlight, I settled myself onto one of the walls along the cliff and enjoyed the view. It was a spectacular sunset if I do say so myself... but I'll let you be the judge of that.

Today was a fairly quiet day. Most of my friends are out of town in Moravia this weekend. Originally, I had wanted to spend this weekend in Poland. I really wanted to visit Auschwitz- a fitting ending to my tour of Europe, I thought, particularly because in the history of so many countries, all roads lead to Auschwitz. It's that place that you can't escape, that you are drawn to precisely because it is so repulsive. On top of that, Krakow is supposed to be a terrific town. I was excited about this prospective weekend! But alas, it just wasn't meant to be. The night train to Krakow is notoriously dangerous- particularly for a teenage girl traveling solo- and so I wasn't willing to go by myself. And since so many people already had plans for the weekend, I couldn't find somebody to go with. It's okay- Auschwitz is supposed to be packed during the summer, and on a Saturday? I can't imagine the crowds. Frankly, that's not the experience I wanted. My desire for real Polish pirogies will have to wait for another trip... one day!
So I am spending this weekend in Prague! That is not such a bad thing. I do love this city. Today, I took a walking tour- I know, I know- who takes a tour after being in the city for two months?! Me, that's who. It's absolutely not normal, but then again, neither am I. I really enjoyed the tour. Yes, I knew a lot of the history, and yes, I had seen a lot of the places. But I was able to see the Jewish Quarter, which is something that I really wanted to do! And you always pick up on new bits of history along the way. Besides, those tours are fantastic ways to meet people. It was a really enjoyable way to spend a significant part of my day. The tour guide offered me a part time job giving tours- if only I wasn't leaving in a week! I would love to do something like that. Maybe I will, sometime (right, because I need more things that I am interested in doing!). She is a med student in Ireland who comes to Prague in the summers to give tours. Um, awesome life. I ate dinner at a little cafe near Old Town that I particularly like- salmon and spinach pasta, tea, and orange cake. So good. It was really quite pleasant. Originally, I was planning on going up to the castle to see the city at night, but I decided to back. My knee was bothering me, had a headache, the rest of the usual business... Turned out to be a good decision, because not long after I got back, it started to rain! It was supposed to rain all day today, and I was quite pleased that it held off. Wonderfully enough, the rain has dropped the temperature a couple of degrees! I'll sleep well tonight! The sound of the rain on the city streets... ahh, it's something wonderful.


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