A billboard for the Worlds tournament that we spotted on one of the trams we take everywhere.
Prague. I can't say I have ever had a burning desire to visit Prague. I have heard great things about it, but it didn't merit a special trip for me. At least it didn't until they decided to hold the Club World championships here. Now, I'm here and I'm antsy. I'm writing this to wind down the time until my first worlds game tomorrow (Sunday, July 4th) against the Czech Republic's team. My early impressions are good, but they are all clouded by the ultimate to come. We play in ten hours.
Old Town Square meets modern techonology.
Old Town street.
An imported beach resort on the Vlatava River.
As I've toured around the Prague area, I've realized I could paint three very different pictures of life here. I could show the medievil part with Old Town, the castles, and tons of cobblestone streets. I could show the communist era housing projects and crumbling buildings. I could also show how modern and livalbe the city is. The truth is that Prague is truly a mixture of all of these elements. It is amazing how the modern blends in so well with the old. My first night in town, I went to watch the USA lose to Ghana in the World Cup quarterfinals. I grabbed some cinnamin sugared roll bread. My teammates grabbed some meat on a stick. We all grabbed the nearest cobblestone to sit on while we watched the game on the big screen. It was great to have so many different nationalities gathered in one place for the simple love of the game.
Looking east across the Vltava River at Old Town
After a couple days of practice, resting up, and puting my bike together in the hotel, it was time to get out and explore. I headed towards the bike trails that were supposed to be on the river. I eventually found them, but Prague isn't a biking city. A few guide books agree. The rivers are great. The drivers are respectful, but there are a ton of tram rails and cobblestone streets to be wary of. I don't know the city well enough, but I'm not sure you could cross Old Town without getting a thorough bone shaking from the cobblestones. It was great to see a little bit of the city, but I think the real joy was just to be on my bike for the first time. The Astronomer's Clock is beyond me. I listened to how to tell time it, but I think it will take a few more tries until I figure it out. Until then, I'll just look at the analog clock above it if I'm in the square.
The roof tops of Prague from Prague Castle.
Grilled cheese at its finest (outdoor cafe in the other corner).
St Vitus Cathedral
The one major attraction I knew to visit before coming to Prague was the castle. It is great. Since the 9th centry, it has dominated any view of the city and is even more inspiring up close. However, my favorite part of the castle might actually be the view of Prague from it or the grilled cheese I got in the fancy cafe near the entrance. Hard to say. I'll know more about the castle after I visit it with my brother, Tait, who should be joining me on Monday.
Penguins seem to follow me.
On the more modern side of things, I found these novelties while biking up the castle. I have no idea why there are penguins along the Vltava river or why the giant baby statues (over 2m) look like they have had an iron pressed on their face. It definitely is a good sculpture. It gets people thinking and talking. The last picture in this blog did that too. Why? You'll have to figure that out for yourself.
One of the views from our hotel.
This week has been an interesting week. While I've loved the chance to explore, I haven't enjoyed it as much as I should. I'm focused on ultimate. I'm antsy to play. It is kind of hot. I'm excited to be with my team again. I can't wait until we start tomorrow. I hope it cools off a little by then. These 30C/86F days are making me wilt. A little piece of plastic should pick me right up. Game on.