2:27 pm

Little Brother’s Visit, Days 1 and 2: The Orientation

Arrival and First Day

So, Little Brother arrived on Wednesday the 17th for a one-week visit: his first overseas flight! (Way to go, Little Brother! Yay!). I went out to Prague Airport to meet him. As is typical in our family, he couldn’t sleep on the flight over, so he was dead on his feet. I had already told him, though, that I was going to make sure that he stayed up until at least 7, if not 8, PM to help him adjust more quickly to the time difference.

By the time we left the metro at Náměstí Míru, though, the adrenalin of his new surroundings was starting to kick in, and he was fascinated by the architecture.

As luck would have it, there was a vacant room in the flat where I’m living, and my landlord agreed to let LB have it for the week (Thanks, Jarda!). One of our first stops, after we had gotten him settled into his room, was the local Albert’s to pick up some of the basic necessities (Coke and beer mainly). LB was particularly taken with the sight of Budvar Super Strong, Budvar being, of course, the real Budweiser:

The concept of bacon-flavored Lays also caught his attention, and he had to get a bag of chips as well:

Lays also comes in a roasted chicken with thyme flavor in France, I told him. (For some reason, neither flavor can be found on the Frito-Lay website; I’m not sure what to make of that.)

After our shopping trip and walking around the neighborhood, we came back to the flat and sat up talking and watching xXx, which, since it’s largely set in Prague, seemed like a good way to introduce LB to the city.

Second Day: The Walking Tour

The next morning, LB was up by about 10:30 and at about noon we set off on a walking tour of central Prague. Our first stop was the National Museum, at the top of Václavské Náměstí. Because of the current exhibition commemorating the 40th anniversary of Prague Spring, there is a Russian tank parked in front of the Museum. Needless to say, that caught LB’s attention.

We moved on down the Square, pausing to admire the equestrian statue of King Václav. I also took LB into the Lucerna so that he could get a look at the inverted statue of Václav. Wandering in and out of a few stores on the way, we meandered on down to Staroměstské náměstí, stopping briefly at the Sex Machines Museum ("the first museum in the world devoted to sexual gadgets").

From Staroměstské náměstí, we wandered down Pařižká, the high-end shopping district. From there, on to the Rudolfinum to stroll down the bank of the Vltava to cross Karlův Most (the Charles Bridge).

Crossing the bridge, we paused to listen to a Dixieland Jazz Band play; a little ways down, a violinist was playing Dvořak.

Arriving in Malá Strana, we stopped to visit Vrtbovská zahrada (Vrtba Garden). We walked in on the preparation for a wedding, but they didn’t try to keep us out, so we were able to wander through the garden and admire the view from the top.
The lowest terrace:

One of the fountains:

LB on the second terrace:

We also made a brief detour by Panny Marie Vítězné (Our Lady Victorious; home of the statue of the Infant of Prague). My goal in Malá Strana, though, was the Lanova Draha (funicula) up Petřin Hill to get to the Observation Tower (Prague’s answer to the Eiffel Tower). There is no elevator in the Observation Tower: just 299 stairs, so we decided not to climb up the Tower to admire the view.

From Petřin Hill, we hiked more or less cross-country to Hradčany, which is a lot harder than it appears from just looking at a map. But once there, we were able to wander through the castle complex and visit St. Vitus Cathedral.

By this time, we had been walking for about five hours, so it was time to head down the hill to catch the tram home. After dinner (tomato soup and pizza at Matylda), we went home to rest up for a planned Friday trip to Karlštejn.

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