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Just Me

Simply messing about in boats

I had a my pal ‘Pal’  out to stay with me in Prague this weekend (I don’t know when we started calling each other Pal, but we do, so just go with it).  It’s great having people over from the UK. They bring out all the important stuff like Grazia and the Evening Standard.  I now know all about Jen’s new man, and have been able to catch up on latest miracles performed by Saint Boris, accurately and impartially reported by the not-at-all offensive or right-wing mutterings of the Standard… Ah – lovely London. Can someone please bring out the Metro and then it will be complete!

It’s lovely when (like Pal) friends are repeat visitors.  You don’t have to bother with all the tourist stuff and you can just get on with having a good time. Don’t get me wrong, I quite like touristing about, in Prague and elsewhere. But I expect that every Prague-based expat must at some stage get to the point of “if have to walk over the Charles Bridge one more time on Saturday afternoon when it’s really busy, I may throw myself off it”.  This weekend was so unbelievably hot at well. Running all over the place doing the Prague Top Ten would have been exhausting and sweaty.  Honestly, it was in the thirties this weekend and we spent a lot of time feeling a bit like we might melt.  The poor kittens are suffering a bit too. They are after all, wearing fur coats.

When she arrived during the Friday evening heat wave, Pal turned to me and said “Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING – absolute nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats“.

 Well ok, she didn’t actually say that, but the Water Rat’s sentiment is correct. When it’s hot, it’s lovely to be out on the river. Which is how we spent most of the weekend.  On Saturday we spent a delightfully self-indulgent afternoon getting slowly tipsy on board Marina Grosseto.  This is a (stationary) boat-restaurant on the south bank of the Vltava.  I feel the need to stress the non-moving nature of the boat as I have an aversion to moving boat restaurants or clubs.  You would never normally trap yourself somewhere with a bunch of strangers unless you applied for Big Brother. It’s just not natural.   Happily, Marina Grossetto lets you arrive and leave whenever your choose, and doesn’t involve Davina McCall.  I have been there a few times now and have had unfailingly good service and lovely food.   It’s also a great place to go if you need to remind yourself that it’s not all dumplings and stew out here…
They do a great line in chilled prosecco, which is how we whiled away the afternoon.  Unfortunately neither Pal nor myself are well-known for our daytime drinking tolerance (although I’m sure in years gone by we were relatively hard-core), which meant that we both had a temporary shut-eye at the opera that evening….We were wide awake in time for the big chorus scene, but Aida starts a little slowly and it was so warm and dark and comfy that we had a little zzzzzzzzzz….oops.

Even easier in a pedalo

On Sunday, which was even hotter, Pal and I cooled off with a leisurely spot of pedaloing. We hired the pedaloes from a man who probably has the best job in Prague: sitting in the sunshine hiring pedalos whilst enjoying the fog of suspicious-smelling smoke around his little hut.   Pedaloing must be the world’s most relaxing past time. It’s a bit like cycling on a pashley bicycle. Very comfy and delightfully difficult to go very fast. Easier than canoeing and possible to do with a drink in hand. 

Floating out on the water with Pal, together we put the world to rights. We spent an hour or so discussing the really important stuff:
Pal – Pal, what’s a tabernacle*? Is it something to do with  Christianity?
Me (confidently) – No Pal, I think it’s a sort of biscuit.   If you had a spare few hundred quid, would you rather have a new handbag or some jewelery?
Pal – If I had to choose?
Me – Yes Pal. You have to choose.
Pal – mmmm….impossible to decide Pal.  When were the ancient Egyptians around Pal?
Me – a really really long time ago Pal*. Do you want some iced tea?
Pal – thanks Pal.
As you can see, we covered all the big stuff.

Very early pedalo. With wings, oddly.

Anyway,   here are three things you may not know about pedalos (I was going to try five but I‘m not sure there’s actually that many)…

  •  It is likely that the earliest reference to a pedalo is found in drawings by Leonardo da Vinci where he depicts a paddle powered craft driven by two pedals.
  •  Andrew Flintoff was stripped of his England vice-captaincy for riding a pedalo whilst drunk in Saint Lucia only a couple of days before the next international match…silly boy. Should definitely have got a super injunction for that…
  •  In Poland, people who are drunk in charge of pedalos (or canoes or rubber dinghies) may face a fine of up to £600 following an extension of Polish drinking laws. Polish police motorboats are now equipped with breathalyzers so policemen can check alcohol consumption levels…  

Lovely to have you here Pal. Come again soon!


*In case you were wondering,  according to the Old Testament the Tabernacle was the portable dwelling place for the divine presence from the time of the Exodus, built according to God’s instruction to Moses at Mount Sinai.  Pal – you definitely win on that one.  In Egypt – tribes have been in  the area of the Nile delta from around 5500 BC.  Tutankhamun was around about 1340 BC and Aida was most likely set in the third millenium BC. I told you Pal – a long time ago.


About CzechingIn

A blog about an English lady living in Prague.


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