STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, photographer, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Random Thoughts and Cobble Walks...

Plain "checkerboard" (or Czech-erboard?) strewn with rose petals after a wedding
After being in Prague now for 9 days, here are a few of my observations (and random street photos):
1. There is lots of inspiration here on the streets for quilters. Literally. ON the streets. The cobblestones are laid in patterns that any quilter would recognize.. four patches, square in a square, split ninepatch, etc. People look at me funny when I stand and take a photo of just the sidewalk - see what I do for you?
2. Cobblestones, charming as they sound and pretty as the patterns may be, are not easy to
In Wenceslas Square
walk on. When they tell you to bring sturdy walking shoes, believe it!! Your feet and legs tire so quickly as they are uneven and hard (the cobblestones, not your feet!) They are hard to fall on too. I speak from experience. I fell flat on my face on Wednesday afternoon, coming down from Prague Castle. Both my camera and I smashed to the hard stones with great force. I landed primarily on my forehead, just above my right eyebrow, also my right
Plain old cobble - uneven and dangerous
shoulder and knee. Grazed my forehead, shoulder, chest and
knee, and a lovely goose egg started to immediately swell on my forehead. I made my way to a nearby Wine Bistro and they kindly gave me an icebag which I sat with, held to my forehead for about an hour. Long story short- the grazes are healing, and the forehead did not swell or bruise much at all because of the swift application of ice. My right eye socket however, both above and below my eye is turning all sorts of beautiful shades of purple, burgundy, and I'm sure the blues, greens and yellows will follow. I am wearing large
 sunglasses as much as possible because people are staring, assuming, I'm sure, that I've been abused or beaten up... I've never had a black eye before, so I guess Prague is as good a place as any to try it out... At least I don't know anyone here... And I am saving time and money - only have to apply liner and mascara to one eye! You can bet I am walking very carefully now (not that I wasn't before!) Slowly and with each step carefully placed. That's my plan.... I cannot see how  the Czech women can wear high heels and not break their necks! And I've been told they are even more treacherous in the winter as they get very slippery.
3. Speaking of walking, walk lights are not long enough. No dawdling on crosswalks in this city if you value your life... It's only been a few years that laws have protected the pedestrians and drivers must stop at the white crossing lines, but many of them seem to delight in seeing how close they can come to those white lines... NOT a good place to jaywalk either.... Even the Czechs are very careful crossing streets....
At the Castle Gates

4. Czechs love their dogs. We see many on the streets, being walked by their owners, or riding on the trams, carried in appropriate sized totebags. Smaller dogs seem more common, with the favourites seeming to be Yorkies, Llaso Apsos and Dashchunds, but we have also seen large dogs with their muzzles caged. I have not seen ONE cat (and I've been looking!)  Miss you Ollie!!

Stars and Crosses!

5. European toilet paper has not improved since I was last in Europe many years ago.The hotel stuff isn't bad, but what you find in a public toilet borders on a cross between our lowest grade of commercial paper towel and perhaps a fine sand paper. Dreadful stuff. Good to always have a Kleenex or two in your pocket....
6. Overall, the Czechs are very nice people. They are helpful if you ask a question, particularly if you make an effort to speak even a word or two in Czech. At least knowing how to say Hello, Please and Thank you goes a long way and they are willing to use their basic English (which is always far better than our Czech!) even though they will tell you they only speak a little English.
Here is one example of their kindness - On Friday night I sat alone in a restaurant (haven't had many meals this week with Laura). I was so hot and tired, (temps have been in the 30's all week) and was just sitting with my head down, waiting for my meal to arrive. I suppose
my black eye was visible. There was a middle aged couple at the next table and they must have overheard me speaking English with the waitress. The lady came over and said I looked "all alone" and asked if I would like to join them for a drink at their table. I felt bad saying "No thank you", but I was just too tired and hot to make pleasant conversation. I thanked her and assured her I was alright. But how kind of her... I'm sure she thought I was an abused wife...
7. It seems most people here smoke. What a shame... Let's hope they get a handle on that soon. There are cigarette butts on the streets everywhere. They lodge nicely between those cobblestones...
8. The heat has been constant with temps climbing each day. It is currently 3 p.m. and 37C (98F) with only 35% humidity and 2km/hour "winds". Uhhh, that's non-existent "winds"... It's supposed to be 39C by 5pm, but I guess that's better than the 40C they were predicting yesterday.... I am not complaining as we have had sunshine each day, and I know those at home are suffering through way too much rain, and even flooding. But I'm now sure I could never live in a place where the heat is constant for weeks or months. It is just sapping
You can even see the patterns from above.... taken from Old Town Hall Tower
my energy and sucking me dry... Bottled water here is more pricey than beer, and is never really cold, only cool at best. After you've carried it for 15 or 20 minutes it's as warm as you are. Hardly thirst-quenching....
9. They say "Absence makes the heart grow fonder", and "A trip away always makes you appreciate home more".. well I'd say Yes both of those are true, and although I have loved every minute of being here in Prague (well, except for that short time on Wednesday afternoon), I must say I AM looking forward to smooth pavement, free cold water and a good tall glass of real cold milk!!
And yes, the AC will be nice too...

Crazy Patch! Okay, this wasn't on the street, but in a Mall.


"Who lives, sees. But who travels, sees more."
~ Unknown


Pamela Gordon said...

It's all so interesting Linda, even the event of your face plant on the cobblestoned street. Ouch! That must have hurt. What colour is your eye now? :) I like the photos of the different street patterns and the shot from the tower is beautiful. Take care, watch your step, and enjoy!

Sandy said...

Sorry to hear about your fall Linda... Great pictures of the street patterns. All of your pictures have been fantastic. Hope your camera survived the fall as well.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

You've taken such amazing photos and seen so many interesting things there. I'm very sorry that you fell. I know it makes you hurt all over when that happens. And I know how the heat can sap your energy. I've always heard that warm temp water is better for quenching your the long run. Doesn't taste quite as refreshing though! ENJOY your trip! Sweet hugs!

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