2 APRIL Czech me out whatever – if I see that t-shirt blaring from a shop window again I might vandalize it. After a day and a night of wandering, I finally have kind of got my bearings back. I tend to be a landmark person, and many of the landmarks are gone or replaced by a shiny new cafes, shops, etc. I have, however, remembered having a drink there or a meal somewhere else, and have realized that we really did get out a lot when we all lived here! Had dinner at the consistently fabulous Universal on Saturday and the lovely Klub Architectu last night; both meals were fantastic, and were under €35 each with wine and starter and sides. So it's not so cheap anymore, but really no more expensive than Italy or Slovenia. We also got to the pub for a football match. I've had a Staropramen, a Pilsner and a Gambrinus so have a good start on the Cesky beers. Am still aversive to Czech wine as they tended to drink it mixed with Coke. What is striking me as most interesting is the cleanliness of the city. I remember thinking how filthy it was when I lived here – cigarette butts, dog poo, beer cans, etc. – and now it's not Switzerland clean, but certainly has Italy beaten.
So today, another cloudless sky. A. is keen to go over the Charles bridge, as we stuck to Starometska yesterday, so we'll head to Mala Strana and perhaps up to the castle. The hordes were already out yesterday, and the old town was bursting with tour groups and backpacking American kids. We're hoping they were daytrippers, and A. is hoping to see a less touristy Prague today – though I'm afraid in the center of town, there is no real Prague left. The 'real' Prague is in the panelackys of Haja, the smoky underground pubs near the bus station, the non-stop Herna bars, or the tall office blocks out by the airport. I don't really remember ever running in to students outside of classes, as the center is a pricey Disneyland offering little value or cultural stimulation to the Czechs themselves.