First impressions

It’s 6:30 pm. The sun won’t set for almost three hours, and it will rise just before 6 am tomorrow morning. Grateful for block-out curtains.

We’ve had a great first day and a bit in Prague. I’m going to go into tedious detail, so feel 11707718_10153231664684279_6889747352499223112_ofree to skip!

It feels as if I’ve spent more time thinking about Lola the mini schnauzer than anything else so far on this trip. She was our major consideration in transit. I’m very proud of her. She knew exactly how to use each section of her specially designed mansion en route. I bought a shag-pile mat and duct-taped the edges down in the front part of her kennel, and then constructed a loo in the rear from an old Ikea chopping board, a puppy training mat, and part of the grate from her regular loo. Good job, duct tape. I also switched her to raw meat (BARF) a couple of days before our flight to minimize her number twos. I told you I was going to go into too much detail. She had a special bottle that rabbits normally drink from attached to the front of the kennel. Her success in its use proves that she is at least as intelligent as a rabbit.

I was unclear about her entrance into the EU customs-wise. After a little confusion about whether she was to be ‘processed’ in Zurich or Prague, it was all very simple. In Prague, it took us about sixty seconds for a couple of customs officers to look at her vet records, and off we went.

I had a little scare at the airport in Prague. I hadn’t been able to buy any Czech crowns in Hong Kong, and I didn’t like the idea of coming to a foreign, unknown country with zero local currency. Imagine my concern when three ATM attempts failed at the Prague airport. Fortunately, we were met by a lovely guy sent by my school, who took us to Dolce Villa Hotel in Prague 6. If I’d had to pay for any other kind of transport, we’d have been doomed. I’d read somewhere that there was an ATM in a supermarket near the hotel. That was my first trip after we checked in. First attempt: nothing but an error message. The second and subsequent attempts were successful. Phew. We bought some Czech treats including what I thought was juice for Hugo, but it turned out to be cordial. Just like in Australia!

IMG_3298Our Real Estate guy, Jason Cahill, picked Hugo, Lola, and me up after lunch. He’s been fantastic, sending me apartments to look at online for a couple of months. He was so helpful! I didn’t love either of the apartments we looked at yesterday, and we agreed to meet this morning. Hugo and I went to a pet store to get Lola a bed, and then we took a taxi home. It was rather expensive, and we vowed to person up and take public transport this morning. We had dinner at the burger restaurant in the hotel last night. I had one of the most delicious vegetarian patties I’ve ever had. I can’t tell you how much I love mushrooms. We were so tired, and we made it to about 8 pm and then went to bed. We slept for 11 hours, which was bliss. Lola apparently had jet lag and wanted some company at about 3am. She spent the remainder of the night on her luxurious new bed in the very large bathroom.

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This morning, we had breakfast downstairs, and Hugo said he had one of the best patisseries he’d ever tasted. I walked Lola and tried to buy some scissors at the supermarket, where they don’t sell hair conditioner or deodorant. I will not say any more about this. The poor cashier tried to explain to me that the scissors were only available if I had a sheet full of stickers. Doh! It’s the same everywhere! I came home and made do. The street our hotel (and also my new school) is on is very green. We’re out in the ‘burbs. A couple of houses down, a cherry tree hangs over the footpath, dripping the reddest fruits. There are other berries and citrus along the footpath. In the other direction is the supermarket, still with lovely trees. Lola is fascinated by the grass everywhere. Me too! Love it!

We bought 24-hour public transport tickets for 110kzc each. This is $4.50USD. Prague is cheap. The fruit and vegies at the local supermarket were so much cheaper than in Hong Kong or Qld. I’d googled the transport (great wifi in the hotel) and talked to the very helpful guy in reception, and we had a fair idea of what to do in order to take the bus and metro into town.

I do admit that I very ungraciously snickered in my head when we passed a couple of newbs at the front desk on our way out. They were asking about taxis. Sheesh. Suckers. We took a bus to the metro, and then stayed on the A line until Jiřího z Poděbrad (Of course I can’t pronounce it. Don’t be silly!). As soon as we came up out of the metro, I knew I’d found my neighbourhood. So many treIMG_3311es. So many lovely old buildings. We strolled around for a bit, and came upon a fabulous cake and sandwich shop (they’re everywhere!). In a pet shop, we bought Lola a muzzle. Because she’s dangerous. Actually, dogs are allowed on all public transport so long as they’re wearing muzzles. We got her the cutest one we could. We met Jason, the Real Estate agent, and went to took at the first apartment.

No need to talk about the others. We went to see them, but my heart was already won. The building is gorgeous. Movie company trailers were parked across the street. Apparently this is a popular area for filming. The apartment is large, but only has one bedroom. There is already a fold-out in the lounge room, so if you come to stay, that’s where you’ll sleep! I really wanted a 2-bedroom, but this was irresistible.

The owner is a builder who has painstakingly used authentic Czech fittings where possible. It’s spacious, light, airy, and gorgeous. Did I say Prague was cheap? Enough said. It’s slightly over my budget, but it’s furnished and I don’t have to buy any appliances, so it’s a great deal! This pic is the building from the outside. So pretty, n’est-ce pas? We sign the contract tomorrow and can hopefully move in on Friday. Lola is not really digging the hotel experience, so it will be great for her, too.

After our meeting with Jason, we walked up to Namesti Miru, a square/park/church/metro station. We listened to a school band from Copenhagen, Hugo ate a hot dog (with drink cost less than $2USD), and we sat on the most beautiful green grass. The first pic here is the inside of the metro. This is a new station, the first one we used.

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Yeah, I haven’t quite got the knack of photo layout on wordpress. But you get the picture….

We might go to the Charles Bridge tonight. The light isn’t fading, but we are. Great second day!

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