Sunday, September 26, 2010

Prague log #4

We have been lucky with the weather so far; every day the temperature has been around and above 20 degrees at lunchtime, starting at a more modest 10 degrees in the morning. The weather forecast showed that Saturday would be cooler, with a 40% chance of precipitation. In other words, Saturday was a wash out (in more ways than one).

The day started well by me going out early and filming more alleys, streets and courtyards; places that we had discovered the day before when they were full of tourists eating a late lunch. At 8:30am, the streets were almost empty and I could film undisturbed. This was also the first time that I could see properly through the lens what I was filming - in all previous days, the sunlight had been so strong that I couldn't really see.

My wife had been nagging all the time that she wanted to go to a market in Prague; after extensive research, I discovered that there was a market held on the last Saturday of each month - which fortunately was yesterday. The market is held near Namesti Miru, an easy metro journey. She also wanted me to find a laundromat in order that we might wash our clothes, and ironically the only walk-in place that I could find was also near Namesti Miru. Thus we could kill two birds with one stone.

When we arrived at NM metro station - the deepest in Prague at 55m, with the longest escalator in Europe - the weather had turned to drizzle. We decided that I would stay with the laundry whilst my wife went to the market and that I would telephone her when the laundry was ready. With this plan in action, I sat down to read "Thirteen reasons why", a powerful 'teen' novel which I can heartily recommend.

By the time the laundry was supposedly dry, my wife had returned, disappointed at the market which was composed mainly of bits and pieces with nothing really interesting. Most of the laundry was not yet dry, so we had to to give it another 40 minutes in the dryer. Here I must put in an excellent word for the laudromat, which is open every day from 8am till 8pm (I think). Unlike other laundromats which I have visited around the world (and unfortunately there have been too many), this one has, along with its laundry area, two lounges with comfortable seats, a rack of books and four computers for browsing. I thought that the place also doubled as a cafe, for we had a pleasant cup of tea. To my surprise, when we came to pay for the tea, the operator said that it was free.

If one should ever need to wash one's clothes in Prague, then go to this laundromat (Korunni 14, five minutes walk from Namesti Miru metro station); one will be in a friendly atmosphere and one will not be disappointed. The clothes will be clean as well!

On the way back, the drizzle was now constant, so there wasn't much that we could do except head for the hotel, unpack the clean clothes and return once more to the Palladium shopping centre, this time to eat pizza. I didn't mention that after returning from Terezin, we ate Chinese again in Palladium; this time we tried the sushi! First up was what we consider to be 'standard' sushi - six of those little rice balls with salmon, coated with seaweed (makizushi). Whilst this was definitely edible, it wasn't stellar. So I tried another piece, a larger slice of salmon placed upon rice. If I may be excused, this was a waste of good salmon! I doubt that I will be trying this again. My wife played safe with the conventional sweet and sour chicken, which was prepared this time with big pieces of chicken in a dumpling sheath, as opposed to the more normal small pieces of chicken.

I am writing these words at 6:30 on Sunday morning; it is raining heavily outside and I am coughing away merrily inside (the viral infection which I had before leaving has come back). I do not know what we are going to do today: I can't face another day in the shopping centre, but conventional tourism seems unwise. Tomorrow we pack and fly to Malta, so at least we can be thankful that only one day was totally disrupted by the weather.

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