Friday, August 26, 2016

Europe Trip 2016 ~ Prague revisited

Last time I wrote I had traveled to Prague for an indefinite time. Through a friend and a website called HelpX, I worked for my room and board doing minor house construction, mostly involving painting, as that is my area of expertise as far as construction goes. It was high school the last time I lived through a construction zone. I'd forgotten how dirty and inconvenient and unhealthy and miserable and you get the idea, it is. Even though after the first few days I moved from the main construction floor to an upstairs attic loft, the dust was everywhere coating the food I ate, the clothes I wore, the bed I slept in and the air I breathed. My body noticed and started complaining. My sinuses seized up and I was tired all the time and my lungs complained when I would go to work and eat and bath in the main work zone. In the picture below, the one wall and ceiling used to be pink. All the paint had to be scraped off the concrete by hand.

The one selfie I took. Usually I didn't dare bring out my phone for the amount of dust and paint scrapings everywhere. You can see how clouded my safety goggles are and my hands even though I had been wearing gloves. My skin looked like the pictures of an elderly desert leader whose every wrinkle is pronounced and his skin looks drier than a reptiles.

But this was my view every night. I enjoyed it immensely. After work I would just stand at the window and gaze out over the house lights and if I was lucky, watch the sunset. 
And for my troubles, I have a little longer lasting memory...

Nasty fall. Not much blood but a lot of bruising and quite the scar.

Trying to heal.
This year in August in Prague might have well had been November. It rained 90%-95% of the days and was well below comfortable summer temperatures consistently. I was pulling out my fleece lined leggings, my warmest sweaters and using them for bed clothes under two layers of heavy blankets. With the rain and the cold, the aching body and lack of energy, and living a half hour outside the city, busking was a thing of the past in the beautiful Old Town Square.

Time went by and as I felt the desire to move on someplace else, an opportunity arrived in my mailbox. It was a potential job notice for an odd piano trio group. Usually a piano trio has a piano, violin, and cello. This email was asking for two violins and piano. I had just recorded with a pianist in Ukraine and I knew a violinist I'd also played with who was now in Ukraine awaiting future contracts. I called them up and we made plans. It was time for me to return to Kiev. I bought a ticket, packed my bags, and flew out withing a matter of a few days.

Before I left Prague, there was a highlight my last week. Besides the friendship in the house I was working, which truly was great and wonderful, my fellow dance teacher from India and a new friend I hadn't met yet, visit me just to go dancing! Unfortunately Prague is not a big blues dance scene and I'm not a Lindy hopper. So we ended up touring the city in the day and dancing with our host in our own private house party in the evenings and into the night. It was blissful. It was the respite I needed from the manual labor I'd been doing. By respite, I don't mean break, just difference of activities :)  Playing tour guide all day and dancer all night is no joke for the weary minded! I thoroughly loved it and Prague shown in it's glory for several beautiful sunny days so I could wax eloquent and share the gorgeous streets with my friends. I even got one last chance to busk under the night sky in the magical space of Old Town Square.

Thank you Melissa for the artsy photo and your support and appreciation of my music!

A surprisingly good Absinthe shot featuring rhubarb and wasabi (neither of which I am particularly fans of) and peppered cotton candy. The drink comes in a light bulb. Unique barely describes it.

By far and away the best mocha me and Melissa have ever had. Seriously, the bar is super way high now which means I've truly enjoyed a great mocha and also means I'll be mostly disappointed from here on out.

I think this store front sums it up well. Thanks Prague for telling it like it is.

The best restaurant I ate at in Prague, Lehka Hlava. It was a vegetarian restaurant and also had a menu for "breatharians". Had to google that one.

The two awesome friends who made my last week in Prague splendid and delightful, delicious and delovely above all wishings and wantings. I love you both so much!
Now I'm back in Ukraine. Living literally next to the forest, and a lake. Practicing every day, working out to Insanity and recovering from my Prague adventures. I'll share some stories and pictures of Ukraine again soon because then I'll have more adventures in more places to share :) It's a secret for now, so you'll just have to wait!