All Along the Clock Tower

Prague, Czech Republic
May 2, 2022

Our group finished our morning tour by walking across the Vltava river over the Charles Bridge towards old town. I’m sure we passed various ABC’s ( another bloody church) but I can’t remember my thoughts were already on how to take the #17 tram back to our hotel and take a nap.

There was one thing that interested me and that was a library that is claimed to be the most beautiful library in the world. I had seen photos of the Strahov library on my Instagram feed posted by travel junkies. We would have to navigate a tram or two but my feet were killing me and Marla had a couple aches and pains too.

The tour guide marched on to the astronomical clock with the hordes of Sunday afternoon tourists and drunken wedding parties. The astronomical clock is very popular with newlyweds for good luck. But, what was that we just passed? Hmmm, shall we, we did in Greece, Singapore and we did it twice in Rome. The Hard Rock Cafe was off the main square and had a marquee that read “ Marla and Allan we have big diet cokes with unlimited refills”, so we didn’t want to be rude and headed in.

It was 11:30 and we were the first customers of the day, when we left it was packed with mostly American tourists getting their fix of Americana. We sat in the corner underneath a framed pair of Elvis Presley’s trousers and a Barbie sized doll of “ Comeback Special Elvis”, we had to pinch ourselves to make sure we weren’t dreaming. For those Yanks who travel Europe, you will know how special it is to get not a tiny 6 oz glass bottle, not a 8 oz bottle but a big 16 oz glass with lots of ice and Diet Coke. Ahhh, it hit the spot and after her third refill it hit my delicate wife in another way. The wait staff was attentive and used to this quirky American indulgence, our pulled pork and chicken sandwiches arrived with what we now refer to as “ Czech Fries” or French Fires with so much salt on them they appear to have been dusted like a pastry with granulated sugar. You could feel the salt crunch in your mouth.

Travel Tip- This was our second time getting Czech Fries and we have made a note to order fries without salt next time.

Anywho, after lunch the carbs were kicking in and a 2.5 mile walk back to the hotel didn’t seem like fun so after walking about 1 mile we decided to take the #17 tram.

Before we got on the tram we admired our favorite melting clock artist, Salvador Dali and his statue of a unicorn thrusting his horn through a heart shaped hole in a brick wall as a symbol of virility. Hmmm….Dali also had a nakid golden lady to make it interesting and that made me think of a scene from the James Bond movie Goldfinger.

Taking a tram is so easy it makes you feel stupid to be an American and our lack of easy transportation in cities. The electric tram is on the honor system, no one checks your 30 cent ticket and people over 65 are free! Easy Peezy and they haul ass when not stopping for red lights. There is always a slight if not significant anxiety of using foreign public transportation for the first time. In our earlier travels we were briefly paralyzed in London before descending into the Underground and enjoying the color coded ease of The Tube. Mind the Gap y’all.

Remember that third soda refill I mentioned? Well, it does not only increase bladder volume but speeds up your walking pace back to the hotel.

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About Allan

Family, travel, drums and watches. Marla and I have been traveling together for over 40 years. I love going somewhere new experiencing that wonderful feeling of the unknown, getting uncomfortable and having an adventure. As Anthony Bourdain said, “… travel leaves a mark on you and you leave a mark on it…”

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