A Travellerspoint blog

Prague, City of Music

Technically that's not true. I think Vienna is. But that's what Prague was for me! I'll still remember the absolutely gorgeous Altstadt/old town most of all, how could anyone forget that. But coming in a close second were the amazing street performers. Out of the 4 that I watched, 3 were at least of semi professional level, and there were so many of those all around.

On Wednesday night I went back out and had dinner at a completely random faux Italian place. But then I went back to the main square, ostensibly to see the city at night (which I never got round to), but got sidetracked into watching more performers. I watched this guy try for a while, but he wasn't very good, and his mike didn't work, so he gave up and so did I.

Went over to the other side to watch this awesome older dude with a long red beard sing 'rock and roll' and old ballads. He was a born performer. After the young guy I understand now, and I also know that the guy in the afternoon was really good too.

It got darker and darker and on he sang with his guitar, til he was playing redemption song in front of a 9.30pm blue hour, and the crowd continued to gather and to ring around him. In the end he had multiple rows of rings 360 degrees around him. And everyone was just enjoying the warm summer night with the music and the wind, and the beautiful buildings lighted up around us.

And there was a guy with a go pro on a stick, who took a video of the guy and the audience, he said he's upload it to his YouTube account Jojo productions in about a week. Looking forward to that! And one of the last songs that was sung was walking in Memphis, it was stuck in my head for the rest of that wonderful night.

Thursday morning I headed out to the town square again and bought a ticket for the castle tour. 300 crowns, but by that time I just wanted to finish my money. Then I contemplated a decision between toy trains for my bros and I versus a nice lunch. In the end, loving sister that I am, I bought Thomas, percy and James for us, in respective age order. I actually don't know if we still have the original ones, I hope we don't or it will be lame when I give it to them haha.

I was early for the tour so I listened to this awesome band the Bohemian Bards, they were dressed rather appropriately and everything! And the music was so cool, one of them had an instrument that's kind of like a bagpipe but not. I don't know. Google the band, maybe you'll find out (I haven't yet). And I gave them the rest of my money, which was about 80 cents haha. Or was it more? I don't remember.

The castle tour was really interesting, it was a young British couple, an old (like grandparents old) Vietnamese couple, and the young Czech tour guide. About halfway through the Vietnamese couple wandered off for the last time and was never seen by us again, so we shrugged ours shoulders (after searching a short while) and then continued. Lol. But I had fun, the tour guide was cool. He plays the accordion in a band called circus problem (Facebook them) and actually had a gig later that day on a boat. Unfortunately I had a train to bratislava at 3.30pm, otherwise there was a very small chance that I might have gone haha. Very small, but a chance is a chance.

Walked over Charles Bridge, nothing spectacular but I can say I did it. Got my bag from the hostel and trudged to the train station, caught my train. Oh, and had a miserably small free sandwich that the hostel gives as part of breakfast.

Overall I really liked Prague. Absolutely gorgeous, and I think my personal experience with the music made it really special :)

Posted by seaskimmer 13:27 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged prague music czech Comments (0)

The summer wind

sunny 31 °C

I got to Prague at 7.30pm on Tuesday. It was an easy walk to the hostel, and then I ate at a recommended place, Lokal. They were out of pork neck so I had roast beef instead, with bread dumplings which are slices of white, more solid bread. And a dark, sweet Kozel. I think stout or dark beers are more to my taste, even if it makes me seem like an uncle hahaha. Light ones are usually weirdly bitter and taste like piss.

Read for a long while on the windowsill of the dorm, as light turned gold and then blue and then faded. Talked for a while to German guy in my bunk, showered, did exco stuff, and then attempted to sleep. It's so hot! And Europeans don't understand the use of a fan. E told me that even after spending so much time in Asia she still prefers to bear the sweltering heat without a fan. I'm speechless. But I finally got to sleep, it was a toss and turn sleep, I don't know why. And then I had a weird dream that I only remember partly.

Woke up, had a poor cereal breakfast (not even any ham or bread!) and then wandered out into the old city. Met a random Hungarian guy along the way who tagged along as I went for the free tour. He was a little strange though so when he left halfway through (why are they just talking about the Jews... Dude because we're in the Jewish quarter). I wasn't upset haha. Shared one of my stroopwafels with a Mexican girl and her brother. Had a good time but I was so tired and it was madly hot. The guide recommended me a little local cafeteria nearby, and told me he would be in sg for Christmas! Haha. And was jealous when I told him I live near the beach.

But anyway I had a nice cheap lunch of pork goulash with bread pudding and a light beer (it was gross, I chugged it partly). Relaxed, read a little.

At 3 I set off on a ten minute walk back to the hostel for a nap, but got sidetracked by a street musician at the old town square. I sat down amidst the crowd and just enjoyed it.

I was in the shade, and by that time the clouds had begun to roll in, and it was a little cooler. The warm, sweet summer wind had also arrived, and blew steadily on my skin. We watched the musician play, a pretty church lit by a golden sun rising up behind him, with little golden stars on the spires.

The musician, with his guitar, mike and speakers, was halfway through his set. He wasn't the best, but he was good enough, and it was amazing to just sit there on the cobblestones and know that the time was mine to while away. He played a few original songs, but also the scientist and iris, and ended his set with hallelujah. It was brilliant. I actually gave him money haha. In a really good mood as I walked away from that, summer on my mind.

And then I bought a postcard for myself, of a girl representing summer! She was rather languidly resting as befits a warm beautiful day, but with the blue sky and the fauna exuberant, and the cool water at her feet, it wasn't hard to imagine her suddenly rising from it to caper about in joy.

Back in the dorm, just resting on my bed, doing exco stuff, writing this blog, talked to an English-danish girl.

It's 6pm and much too late, I should go out to wenscelas square soon! For dinner I guess, but I'm so tired and lazy. We shall see. Tomorrow I suppose I'll do the castle tour (I drew too much money) and buy some stuff at the mall lol and then I'm off for my train to bratislava!

Posted by seaskimmer 09:04 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged prague summer music czech Comments (0)

The journey begins

sunny 28 °C

On a bus now from Frankfurt to Prague, with an hour's stopover a Mannheim.

I love that the scenery out the window has changed since March. Not just with regard to the place and climate and particular fauna, but also with regard to the seasons. In March the trees were bare and cobwebby with birds' nests, and the fields were brown and solemn green. In April the trees had fresh young leaves of a peculiarly light green, and the flowers had begun to bloom in profusion. Come may, the flowers had started to fall, but the trees matured. It's finally the end of July, and I see rolled bales of hay dotting flat yellow fields, and crops grown up in their straight rows. All of the trees are a dark thriving green.

I love that the weather has changed too! And this is more a personal preference because I think everyone knows my sensitivity to the cold :D in March I would be freezing in my 3 layers plus winter jacket. Then, I learned to walk quickly outside, both for warming up purposes but also to get back into a warm place sooner. At the end of April, the knob on my heater was turned for the last time. In may the end of 3 layers (the winter jacket was discarded in April). June signalled the gloriousness of single layers and shorts, but also reminded me of the existence of sweat. July has actually been much better, with less days above 30 degrees. Wearing shorts again is the best thing about summer!

On Sunday night I sort of finished packing at 2 am haha. Then, exhausted, I went to sleep, and continued packing in the morning. That entailed throwing a lot of things away, and just stuffing things into both bags. Checked out, will have to pay for the walls which I didn't clean (I forgot), and handed over the keys. But I got tricked, cos I thought I'd get to go in one last time, but she locked the toilet door from my side too so I couldn't even say goodbye! S helped me to bring my stuff down 3 storeys, bringing down my yellow suitcase was the WORST. And after just about managing to get it all the way to E's place in darmstadt, I regret ever thinking I could make it back home by mrt haha. Taxi here I come. Very worried that I've overshot my 23kg, E said she'd try to borrow a weighing scale from her neighbours. Had ice cream with E, then back to Frankfurt to sleep.

Also, I finished Joan yesterday. I lament the end of Joan, more literally than figuratively though. Mark Twain was a little too obsessive about how awesome Joan was, and ended up with a draggy trial section. He did win me over to his perspective that Joan was amazing. Apparently he wrote a fairly accurate account of her life. I think I'll read some non-fiction about her when I get back. Rather interesting.

But now I'm struggling over whether to start on the Neverending Story on my phone (which beguiles me with its fantasy pedigree, and also I really like children's books) or the more non-fictional Seabiscuit (which was there first). Okay, never mind, I've decided on the former since a charger is on hand. K bye

Posted by seaskimmer 04:48 Archived in Germany Tagged bus books weather frankfurt hamburg luggage darmstadt Comments (0)

Harburger Days

Der letzte Tag

sunny 31 °C

It's 10.45pm and I'm sitting here at my desk for what seems like the last time. I'm 90% done with packing, all the rest of the stuff will be thrown into any small available space in half an hour. Tomorrow I check out at 9am, sell my mattress and bed stuff at 10am, run down to Marktkauf to get Ovomaltine for a certain A, and then set off for my bus to Frankfurt at 11am.

But now, now all I have is a sense of loss, or maybe it's the feeling of leaving the familiar and stepping into the unknown. I have two weeks of somewhat planned exploration, a kind of transition period before I head back home. And once I would have thought that going home would relieve me of all this awkward uncertainty and nebulousness. I think now I know better, and will prepare myself accordingly.

Home, defined as my room, will always be my ground zero. But I understand that home, defined as Singapore, has changed, in the same way I suppose I have changed. Coming back I'll have to deal with that, all relationships will be sort of the same and yet imperceptibly different. The conversations I've missed out on, climbs, popcorn prayer! And that's not necessarily bad. Change is the only constant, and no matter how annoying, discomforting, and downright wrong it can be, I guess I've come to terms with the need for adaptability. If that means accepting that things can never go back to the way they were before, so be it. I will survive. After all, I've managed the past 5 months!

Okay, enough emoness for now. Today I did sort of attempt to drink Hamburg in, to remember these 5 brief months. I woke up a little earlier and had breakfast at the fish market with S, which is apparently the thing to do, especially if you've been out all night partying at Reeperbahn (but obviously I just joined the morning crowd). The food was kind of whatever, maybe I didn't get the best haha. There was this old-ish band playing old rock and roll in front of a crowd, they were awesomeeee. I also had a nice time just sitting outside in the sun, eating my crab sandwich in front of vegetarian S hahaha. Going back with the S-bahn, I'll miss crossing the rivers twice to get to Hamburg, and once to Wilhelmsburg. I see my old Nordwandhalle everytime on S3 and S31, and I'm kind of sad that I didn't get to go in the past month. Ughhh. I'll miss my gym. I didn't even finish all the blacks and purples. And as we were walking back through the station, I told her I was smelling the pee smell again for the sake of remembrance hahaha.

I packed for most of the day. That involved La Sera, UB40, Big Mountain, Coldplay, Muse, John Mayer, Norah Jones, and not much packing. I was doing random exco stuff (another big deal, things will never be the same), doing my laundry, cooking a mountain of sambal fried rice, cleaning my room, throwing out the trash, borrowing a vacuum cleaner, and attempting to borrow a weighing scale. Oh yeah, and then watching Rushmore with S over my sambal fried rice dinner. (it's really good) (the movie, but the rice wasn't bad)

I guess I should go finish packing. Writing this has helped to reduce the magnitude of the end of Harburg! I don't know how I'll feel when my room becomes clean and white again (only possible when it's empty, aka none of my stuff in there hahahahah) and it becomes just another room, not my room. Emoness begone.

I'm looking forward to a dramatically nondescript return to sg actually. I really want to walk through the gates at Changi Airport, just me and my bags, and get to the MRT or the taxi stand. Like it's been for the past few months. Sort of. Exercising my poetic license to depart from sg with a huge bunch of people, and return with none. Besides the symbolism, it's also a chance for me to reflect and say hello again to sg on my own terms. No need for a rush of words, it's just me seeing home again :)

Posted by seaskimmer 13:45 Archived in Germany Tagged germany reflection hamburg harburg Comments (0)

Brawn and Brain

rain

Brawn although it's so mental too

We got in to wimby just slightly earlier than Friday, at about 7am. We were directed to k10, a row down from Friday though, and it seemed more crowded. I was already fearful that my Murray hopes would be dashed; nonetheless there was nothing to do at that point but wait. So we slept under a beautifully burning morning sun for several hours til we were called in at 11.10, which was actually earlier than Friday.

We got through security and the ticketing counters and rushed over to the resale ticket line. It was just before 12 and the line was about 20m long. We parked ourselves at the end and had a chat with the guy regulating it, he said we would probably be able to get center court tickets, but only at about 5 or 6 :( on the other hand, court 1 tickets might be gotten at 3 plus.

At that point my hopes of seeing Murray in the flesh were dashed. Sigh. Well I knew it had been a possibility, I'd discussed what to do with K for like a hour the night before. Sucks but what can I do? So the new plan was to try for Sharapova on court 1.

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Queuing rules for resale are much more relaxed than for entry, so K went off to try for Lopez and isner on court 3, while I walked over a few metres to court 18 to watch safarova own her opponent, and then to enjoy the first bit of chardy vs cilic!

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It's really quite fun to watch a live tennis match because there are so many things to see. The match, of course, but also the ball kids, professional and precise as clockwork, the line judges switching seats as the players switch serves, the spectators' heads whipping from left to right to left to right, TV presenters with their camera crews on the balcony, Rod Laver being interviewed 20m away... And things you don't notice on TV because of replays, like how picky cilic is about the balls he gets.

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Wimby strawberries and cream! Woohoo! Tradition fulfilled

It rained for 45min at 1.30, but after that it was back to being bright and sunny. Thank God for the good weather, seriously, I was so afraid that it would turn out miserably again like Saturday. While it rained we sat in our ponchos on the grass, and I stuck my head and arms inside so I could blog lolol. We managed to get Court 1 tickets at about 4pm, and we skipped happily to our seats. Sat beside this lovely old couple from Yorkshire, and watched Dimitrov vs Mayer. Or we tried, because it started pouring at 4.30 and they had to stop play. It was great though that we were seated high enough to be sheltered and to not have to vacate!

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Nonetheless there was no hope to really watch anything, so we left our 5 pound resale tickets with the security guard (to be passed on to some lucky people - we regretted and wished we'd sold it to someone still queueing outside for like 30 pounds lol) and made our way to Queen's Theatre.

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Brain or ears? Heart?

We collected our tickets with ease (we were all freaking out cos I'd bought them with my dad's credit card, which obviously I didn't have on me) and then ran over to Four Seasons for some 6.5 pound (14 sgd???) duck rice. Yes it was great but so overpriced. We ate on the red gate hahahaha where i dropped my food, lucky my box landed right side up and I only lost a drumstick, which I seriously considered eating, but then my bro ate it for me and gave me some of his hahahahhaa. Again, this only happens to me.

Went into Queen's Theatre, had a bit of drama when one of our food boxes didn't go into the bin right and we were scrambling on our knees to clean the fallen rice up. Hahahaha. But the musical was starting so one of the attendants told us not to bother (we were almost done anyway) and rushed us to our seats.

And it started, and it was awesome, I teared when I dreamed a dream came on. Eponine was awesome, she's so much cooler than that pansy Cosette. Okay strong words, Cosette can't help being so sheltered, but dude, don't fall in love with someone based on 5s of looking into his face, okay? That goes for you too, Marius, even if you are droolingly cute. You should've gone with Eponine.

And then, just as one of my favourite songs On my own began, the mikes went out and the stage lights went out, and a murmur broke out among the crowd. After a moment, the curtains came down and a technical fault was announced. It took them about 15min to rectify the issue, and the song restarted. Eponine! They still went on to have the intermission though. I almost cried when Gavroche died :( sho shad.

Overall, the songs were well done, loved them. They also made really good use of the revolving platform on the stage, like making it look like people are walking faster than they are, and for scene changes. Javert's fall was really cool too, he basically waved himself about weirdly in slow motion on the spot and then on the floor, while wavy lights danced around him. And the huge blood red flag was present three or four times times, once in the background moving eerily in and out of the fog, and later under Enjolras as he sprawls dead on the barricade. I also love how they use the fog machine, for the flag (as mentioned) and also to make people fade in or out just by walking forward or backward on the stage. Very very cool.

Eventually it was over, and I was a little sad because it was my last night in London, and my last night outside Hamburg before my July trip. Oh well.

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All the poetry of the evening manifested in the window of the bus back. Red poppies behind a black iron fence, a man's face half lit by a streetlight, the twitch of a mouth, the stories of the people passed on London streets. I think I need to read more.

I'm still sad that I didn't get to see Murray. Sigh. Maybe USO? (: kidding, where got money? I did manage to watch some men and women's singles and sit in Court 1, so that's not too bad. And anyway Murray lost in the next round to the very same guy I watched in Court 1 haha. I really believe that Murray has it in him to win big, but I also know how inconsistent he can be. That's why I didn't even expect him to win this year's Wimby. But we shall see what Mauresmo does for him, maybe he'll win USO hmmmmmm.

Also, this will probably be my last post for the next three weeks while I study for exams, except maybe one on Amsterdam which I still have yet to write!!! Boohoo, grounded for 3 weeks. Haven't stayed in the same place for so long since April hahaha. Wow, I've gotten spoiled.

Posted by seaskimmer 10:06 Archived in England Tagged london england murray wimby lesmis Comments (0)

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