The train to Prague was set to be four hours, but little did I know that I would spend those four hours with my fingers crossed. As it turns out, there is an influx of people at each stop, and they could be holding a ticket for the seat you are currently in which in turn displaces you to the floor or standing in between cars by the bathroom. I’m a tough cookie, but I would really love to not stand for the next four hours. Luckily, I only got displaced once, but a classmate whom I unintentionally found on the train was not so lucky. Once I navigated my way out of the train station that taught me the importance of internationally recognizable symbols (which this station had none of), I found my new travelling companion at the hostel bar happy hour.
We had planned to partake in the free walking tour the next morning, but after sooooomeone had to go back to their room we missed the group leave the hostel. Once outside we thought we found them at the bus stop. Unsure of who exactly we were following, we got on and off with the biggest group of people. After we got off the bus, we stood around the group, staring, waiting for the guide to emerge and start our tour. I had the strange feeling that the group was oddly homogeneous. I even made a comment that they were staring at us. With a double dose of intuition, we realized we had just crashed a school group thinking it was our tour group. So now we are off the bus with no leader, trying to find out where the heck we are. Luckily, we are smart so we decided to look at the handy brochure and head to the first stop. Sadly, this was not the only time we lost the group, but the second time was because of a coffee addiction (Mine, unfortunately).
That day we climbed the clock tower that houses the astronomical clock. Apparently this is a big f*cking deal, and I didn’t even know it existed. *Mental note to pay attention during astronomy lectures.* Every hour on the hour when it rings, there is a little mechanical show which was voted the 2nd most disappointing tourist attraction after the Mona Lisa (Hahahah). We were inspired, feeling like we were on top of the world in the middle of the city, and we made plans to go get cultured that night at the opera. We went to the box office while still on the tour, but there were not two adjacent seats left. We came back before the show to see if we could scalp tickets (like we are teenagers at a country concert). Nada. We headed to the symphony…sold out… then to the philharmonic…. sold out. Now it was 7:30pm, and we are all dressed up with nowhere to go (a girl’s worst nightmare). We started furiously searching on the phone about shows that night. I see in big letters DON GIOVANNI, which rang a bell from the walking tour. I knew that one!! It was famous!! I flashed the screen at Ryan, and at this point he would agree to anything. I bought the tickets right there to pick up at the theater. We headed to the theater and we turned a corner to be greeted by a posse of homeless men, and I caught a glimpse of a poster that didn’t seem quite right. I freeze. We walked a few more feet. I froze again as my brain wrapped around what just happened. This opera was at the Marionette Theater, which as it turns out, is not a name like Marilyn or Marie Antoinette. No, marionette means puppet. I just purchased tickets to the puppet opera. THE PUPPET OPERA. We were standing, jaws on the floor, staring the narrow wooden door in the dark side-street that lead to the puppet theater. I could have peed my pants laughing, and I almost did. “I’ll take the blame on this one.” I say while laughing as I get the funniest look of disbelief mixed with pure entertainment from him. So I tried to think of other things to do, and he stopped me in my tracks. “Well, we already have the tickets.” Now I had the look of astonishment. And we did it. With the help of a subpar langos and four bottles of wine, we watched the puppet opera while surrounded by kids and frequenters of the geriatric ward. It was one of the best nights of my life.
The next day, my shin splints developed as we crossed the Charles Bridge for our day of seemingly endless travel uphill. We visited the Old Royal Palace first, where we unintentionally witnessed the changing of the guards and a funeral for a priest from St. Vitus cathedral. We saw armor, banquet halls, (almost) ancient churches, replicas, and ate a hot dog with a view. After we strolled through the surrounding town and made it to the monastery, we saw a library and cabinet room that transported us to around 1500 A.D. There were books that looked like they would turn to dust if touched, and there were animals of all kind (even shells(!) so I felt at home). What is a trip to a church without a good beer afterwards, right? The monastery brewery provided just what we needed. The air got thinner as we climbed the hill further to get to the Eiffel Tower replica structure thingy we found. We were going to conquer it! The burn in my thighs from the hill wasn’t going to stop me now. There was an elevator, but who needs them (me!). “We’ve got legs… Let’s use ’em.” This was my inner mantra as I was internally screaming while sweating and consequently stripping down while climbing up the seemingly endless stairs. The view from up top was spectacular, but it’s funny how cities fade into roof pixels when you’re so far up and it makes them all kind of look the same. There might be some comfort in the world being so small after all.
The next morning we headed to the Cafe Louvre and sat at the table with a very official looking plaque. There, over an omelet and coffee, I learned how to play chess. After bumping every single table on the way out with my suitcase, I was headed to the airport to come “home.” Copenhagen is home, and the week I was away was too long. It seemed like a different town, it was over twenty degrees Celsius and people had come out of the woodwork filling the tiny metropolis to the gills. This is where I get to live, and that’s pretty damn cool.
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