Czech Republic · Uncategorized

Running Around Prague: Boys vs. Girls

And now comes race day for the boys! We had decided to meet in the lobby and leave by 8:30. The race started at 9:00, and we wanted to see the boys off. We got breakfast upstairs in the executive lounge (I have swanky friends!) as we got up and moving around—and I don’t just mean breakfast… I mean a lovely, sit down meal with people attending to our every need. I’m not ashamed to admit that I get excited about things like that! I’d just spent over a week having to deal with various hostel issues and fending for myself; not that I can’t handle that or I’m above that, it’s just really nice and I appreciate having someone else take care of me for a couple of days!

At any rate, we got our breakfast and met down in the lobby at the appointed time. And off we went into the brisk morning! The temperature and weather were fine for running, but my goodness, it was chilly walking over there!

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I’ve never gone to a marathon before, and I really had no expectation of what it would be like. There was a LOT of energy and even more excitement from volunteers, friends and family who were there to cheer them on, and of course from the runners themselves! I didn’t realize what a huge production a marathon is. The Prague marathon is one of the top 10 in the world, so that’s pretty exciting! Apparently there were people all along the route in costumes with crazy things trying to motivate people, and there were bands and music, along with food, water, and bathrooms for breaks. I can honestly say that there was a fleeting moment when I wanted to run a marathon myself! Maybe I’ll start with a jog around the block first. It definitely made me miss the running I used to do before my hip injury!

At any rate, we left the guys to that, and we ladies went window-shopping around Old Town Prague until time for church (it was a Sunday morning). We saw several cute shops full of marionettes (who knew Prague was known for marionette puppets? Not me!) and other souvenirs, but the thing that caught our attention most was… the pastry shop, of course!

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Marionettes

We smelled it first, then we saw what smelled so wonderful. It’s a traditional Slovakian pastry (that I never saw in Slovakia) called Trdelnik (ter-DEL-nick, for those who wonder how you say all those consonants together). I think the concept of the bakery there is kind of like the taffy and fudge factories in Gatlinburg. You get to watch it being made in a very traditional way, and of course that makes you want to try it! They cover this yummy, thin pastry dough in sugar and/or cinnamon and/or nuts, and then you wrap it around this big cylinder, probably about 3 and a half inches across. Then you roast it on a spit over an open flame until it’s golden and delicious! We were still full from breakfast, but that didn’t stop us.

So now it was time to find the church. We knew (or thought we knew!) where the church met (the YMCA), but when we got there, no one spoke English! We tried to convey to the lady who seemed to be in charge that we were looking for a church that meets there, but we just couldn’t get the right message conveyed either way—to her or to us! She said something about a “Baby Center”, but we had no idea what that had to do with anything. Thank goodness for my friend’s iPhone with GPS. There was a problem with the way we’d been putting in the address—whatever, now we were on the right track! We found out way to the OTHER YMCA in Old Town Prague, just in time to go to the church service! I’d gotten in touch with a woman named Tami, who’s an American married to a Czech, and they live just outside of Prague. She was so sweet, and her husband is the one who translates the service from Czech to English for his wife and a couple of other English speakers in the congregation.

They have two or three men there who take turns preaching, and that day it was one of the Czech men. Everyone was very kind and seemed excited to have visitors! The service lasted a little longer than usual, due to the need to translate everything, but I didn’t think it seemed all that long. I just find it fascinating the way that other Christians worship, and seeing their commitment and devotion in adversity that we as Americans don’t truly understand. We have our own struggles that are different from the ones that other Christians around the world experience. I also enjoyed hearing the whole thing in two languages. It’s intriguing to me!

And then it was lunchtime! On our way to scope out a place, we met a guy standing on the street advertizing for a restaurant. His name is Richard, and since I was the only single girl of us three women, he REALLY liked me! He was quite complimentary, which I admit I appreciated! We did end up going inside that restaurant, and we’re so glad we did! It was just like a medieval tavern inside, peasant/servant uniforms and all! My friends got a potato soup (I think), and I got the old-fashioned pancake with spinach and cheese—which was kind of like a quiche and was delicious!

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The place was really interesting with old wood and rope everywhere, and we were definitely sitting on some kind of animal hide on the benches around the table!

So after lunch, we decided to wait at the finish line. Walking there, we gawked again at the astronomical clock right there in the center of town, which is an interesting piece of machinery—still functioning correctly to this day!

We even stood in front of a tour guide and heard her explanation of a couple of the characters around the clock. And there we were at the finish line, waiting and waiting and waiting, thinking we’d missed already missed our friend. But not to fear, because he came right up to the finish just as we were walking down the tour route. We met up with him and Steve a little bit later at the hotel, and we all just kind of sat there in the lounge for a while, allowing the guys to recover! Steve finished the race under his self-set goal of 4 hours (3:51 hours–not bad for a 40th birthday marathon!), and our friend ran a respectable job of 5:35 hours as well! We ladies were quite proud of our boys!

Suppertime came around, and so four of the five of us went in search of another culinary adventure! We roamed the streets for a while until we found something particularly Czech—another tavern. So many of the places around there have murals painted on the walls of the restaurant, and this was no exception. This place had quite nice little scenes of old Prague. Something about it made the place seem very homey.

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While the place was really cute, the food was just ok. I got Hungarian goulash with bread dumplings, which is the same thing I was disappointed in the other day in Slovakia. It was described differently, so I didn’t realize it was the same thing. Oh well. Live and learn!

When we got back to the room, I called my mom because it was Mother’s Day! I think I woke up my parents from their nap, but they were glad to hear from me, or at least they said so. No worries, I got her some very nice presents while I was away!

Bedtime soon followed for me because we had a full day of touring ahead of us the next day! Please join us in the next post!

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