May 29

Day 13

It’s midnight here at the “beautiful” Krystal Hotel in Prague. We arrived at about this time last night after a 7:00 concert in Brno. As we were unloading, Scott informed us that we should get everything off of the bus, as the bus driver was seriously concerned about the bus being broken into. This greatly worried me as to the location of our hotel, but as it was pitch black out, I couldn’t get a good look around.

But I must go back. I have forgotten to detail the events of the bus ride, which are worth noting. As I said, it was late, and we were all asleep when our bus began braking quickly and pulled off to the side of the road. I sat up and looked out the window to see a police car, lights flashing, leading our bus into a gas station. A buss began on the bus as to what might be going on We were driving through Slovakia, and I tried to remember if it was there that my parents had had problems with corrupt police or not. I had visions of us all being hauled off to jail.

“Everyone get your passport out,” someone said, and we all began rummaging through our things to find them. Of course, tonight was the first time on the entire trip that I didn’t actually have my passport on my person, so I began tearing through my backpack in search of it. At last I located it and felt safe. Someone reported from the front that the police man was talking to our Prague guide, who was translating to Slovak into English for chorale member Jean, when then translated that into French for our bus driver. Word reached the top of the bus that we had incurred a 50 Euro fine for not having our trailer properly lit. We were not sure whether this interpretation came from since we later found out it had been an improperly paid toll. So now we were back on the road to Prague.

So back at the Krsyal hotel in Prague. We walked up to the counter and said our room number and theyh handed us the key. Scott had told us that there was only one key per room and that every time we left we were to leave our key at the desk. Odd, but okay. So we carried our stuff to the elevator and went to the 11th floor. Our room was unique. It had prickly carpet and floor-to-ceiling vinyl cupboards, walls, and doors to the shower room and WC. The cupboards all had locks and keys, but the keys didn’t work. This also disturbed me. There were multiple switches around the room that didn’t work. There was also a speaker over the door. But the most disturbing things was the fact that when we went into the city the next day, we handed them our key, and when we came back we simply told them our room number and they handed us the key. High security.

We had a concert downtown tonight, and the church was going to provide us with our dinner, as usual. But when we got there, they had break and apples…that was it. Not enough to sustain for a two hour concert! A whisper soon went through the chorale that we would be ordering pizza after the concert. Whew. A funny thing about Europe is the general lack of food. When the churches feed us, it’s very minimal. In Switzerland we ate melted cheese over potatoes. The was the whole meal. In Hungary, bread and goulash. In the Czech Republic, sausage and potato salad. I guess they have their big meal at lunch here. My favorite foods thus far: the chicken gyro, the raspberry torte, the bread, the Turkish kebap, and the pizza we had last night. Oh, and the wiener schnitzel.

Speaking of the pizza, back to our late night dinner. After our concert, we ordered pizza, picked it up, and walked out to the riverside, in our formal wear, cokes in hand, to eat our pizza.  I had started walking with Shannon and talking about the trip and the amazing things we were learning. 

Eating pizza with Shannon

Eating pizza with Shannon

We were having so much fun and laughing so hard.  We were kind of in our own little world and were falling behind the rest of the group.  But Shannon wanted a picture of the "Disney looking castle&qu  and so we stopped with Danny to try to get a good one.  They kept turning out blurry.  A few ferries had docked and a bunch of people were getting off.  Danny finally got his picture and began to walk ahead otjoin the group, but I was slightly concerned about the sobriety of the ferry riders, so I said “Hey, Danny, hang back for a minute so we don’t get stolen."  It turned out to be a good thing, because when we looked up, our group was gone.  We thought once we got to the top of the bridge we would see them, but they were nowhere to be found. 

Danny pulled out his map and we all tried to decide which out of the 7 bridges we were on.  Danny thought it was one and Shannon thought it was another. I didn’t have an opinion.  I was just concerned about Stephen, ahead with the rest of the group, wondering where on earth I had disappeared to.  We finally followed Danny, realized we were headed in the wrong direction, turned around, and finally made it to the tram.  (Somewhere along the lines I remembered I left my passport and tram ticket with Stephen and Leeanne.  I didn’t actually need my ticket, but if the police came to check, i would…and then I wouldn’t have my passport either.  I began to get a little nervous).

Upon catching our tram, we found half of our group still waiting for the train.  Stephen was not with them, however.  He had boarded an earlier tram.  We were finally reunited, and all was well back at the Krystal Hotel.

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