Sunday, July 26, 2015

Prague: The Race Expo and Beyond

 I failed to mention in my previous post that while our hotel room lacked a sink, it had three single beds. This meant Dr Husband and I would be sleeping "I Love Lucy"-style with Hundie sleeping with us on different nights. Our hotel also had a "free" breakfast that included: a variety of processed ham-like meats, bread, a hard-boiled egg, a couple slices of cucumber, juice, and a cup of coffee (perhaps two if you could find someone to bring you another). After our somewhat bland breakfast, it was time to find the Race Expo. It was located fairly far away from the hotel, but the metro in Prague is surprisingly easy to navigate so we used that to get close to the place where the Expo was located. Since I had to run 26.2 miles the next day, it was agreed that I should try to walk as little as possible while drinking as much water as my bladder would allow. This proved to be difficult, however, because it turned out that the Race Expo was further away from the metro stop than we had anticipated. Nevertheless, we were able to find it without too much incident (following the crowd often helps in these situations), so I was one step closer to my marathon!

The building which hosted the Race Expo was really big and cool, and also did not allow dogs inside so Dr Husband and I took turns watching Hundie so we could check out the Expo/pick up my start packet. In my opinion, the location of packet pick-up was not very intuitive, but I was able to get my race number and shirt without too much trouble. Then I headed outside to take my turn hanging out with the dog. It was a really nice day, and Dr Husband soon returned with goodies from the Expo (including a new running shirt and jacket for me), and we set off for our first full day in Prague!

     First we returned to the older heart of the old town to take in some of the sights and beers (for Dr Husband, anyway) the city had to offer. Prague is incredibly historical. This is reflected in the architecture and layout of the city. Old foot paths become cart paths become roads. Of course, this can make navigating trixy, and we had to back track and circle around more than once. We eventually found a Pilsner Urquell restaurant for a large lunch (my last big meal before the race!). We shared a fried goat cheese and beet salad which was delicious. For our main meal, I had a juice cocktail with a pork dish (not nearly as good as the beef cheeks from the first night), Dr Husband had another meat platter with the namesake of the restaurant: Pilsner Urquell (a super famous Czech beer) , and Hundie had some water and some dog food we carried around for her.  Then we made our way back to the hotel so that we could have a low-key evening, and I could rest up for the race the next day.

On our way back to the hotel I saw a place called "Beergeek" which stood out both because I could easily read the sign and it involved beer. We decided to check it out and were pleasantly surprised to find a craft beer bar (not very common in Europe). Dr Husband decided to sample some of the offerings while I tried a nonalcoholic beer and convinced myself that no matter what, the next day I would return so I could try the beers too. After that we went back towards the city center in search of a grocery store to gather supplies for a smallish dinner and breakfast for the next morning. Unfortunately it was after most grocery stores closed (so early in Europe), so we decided to go to the train station because there is usually a grocery store with longer hours there. This proved fruitful, and we returned to the hotel with our prizes to settle in for the night. After all, the next day was race day!