So, Prague is beautiful. I wasn't even going to come here on my trip. I knew very little about it, but someone mentioned it in passing, and I happened to find a cheap flight from Prague to Stockholm, and so here I am. It reminds me of Krakow, which is not surprising - they're both cities that have been dominated by various empires over the centuries, and both were left surprisingly intact during the second world war. I'm staying in a lovely, big, old apartment that's been converted into a hostel, overlooking the Vltava. I can see the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle from my little balcony.I've mainly wandered around the city and seen all the touristy things. Lots of Gothic architecture, which I love. Actually, this city is amazing for me, on account of the fact that I love things indiscriminately just because they're old. Just ask Koen - his attitude to showing me the sights of Holland was "if it's old and shitty, Liam will like it". I saw the Tyn Cathedral, where Tycho Brahe is buried. He was a revolutionary astronomer who didn't get the credit he deserved. A friend is very fond of him, so much so that he named his cat Tycho. I also enjoyed the Jewish cemetery in the old Jewish quarter. (Man, the Jews really have had a hard time of it. Every city I've visited has had a Jewish ghetto. The jewish quarter of Krakow was originally outside the town walls. Poor Jews. But I suppose that's what you get for murdering Jesus.*) The Jewisj quarter was so small that, when they ran out of room in the cemetery, they just added another level of soil. As such, there are no discernible graves as several headstones clutter each burial spot, and the cemetery rises a good ten feet above street level.
I was chatting with a nice Australian couple on the tour. (I discerned they were Australian because they asked if they could get chocolate powder in their cappucinos. The Europeans just don't do it, which makes me sad. Actually, while we're on the topic of coffee, coffee in Europe has been really bad. I've tried everything: fancy restaurants, international chains, local diners. I've had just one coffee I would call "good". The rest, not so much. I find it really bizarre. They all use UHT milk - gross - and there's no discernible difference between their lattes and cappucinos. I've discovered that most countries I've visited have a drink called a latte macchiatto, which is similar to a latte and completely unlike a macchiatto, but it is similar to a flat white, so I've been drinking those. But moving on.) We were discussing possibly going on a pub crawl tonight organised by the tour company. I showed, they didn't, and I'd been thinking of going on the crawl anyway, but man...these were not my people, I could tell. I love a drink as much as the next twenty-something, but I'm quickly realising how important my friends are to me. Going out is no fun on your own. I enjoy going out because I can dance and laugh and spend time with my friends. So I really don't understand this section of my generation who think that drinking automatically constitutes a good time.
But this is a travel blog, not a generational analysis.
It's getting lonely travelling by myself (as evidenced by my almost going on a pub crawl with strangers, a move that those close to me will realise is totally out of character). So I'm very much looking forward to my time in Scandinavia. I arrive in Stockholm in a couple of days, and my friend Anna and I have booked a studio apartment for the weekend. She's working there as a nanny, and is kind of going crazy from the lack of interaction with English-speaking adults too. It will be great to talk shit and swear (I've been on my best behaviour - I accidentally said "bitches" in front of the aforementioned Australian couple today and they looked a little shocked) and go out with a friend again. Then in Copenhagen, I'm lined up to stay with and meet some friends of a friend, so that will be hopefully awesome. And then, London, where I have many friends, followed by a quick trip to Ireland and Scotland, where I have some friends, before returning to London to find work and bunker down for the winter.
*JOKE. It's called a JOKE, my friends.**
** Speaking of jokes, it has been so hard to not tell all the completely inappropriate Jewish jokes in my reportoire while travelling around this part of Europe, a region that is still too scarred by anti-Semitism to laugh about it.