We’ve got our nephew staying with us tonight, the one who is one week younger than our Isabel. They are both 9. Isabel, meanwhile, set out this morning to spend about a week and a half at her friend’s grandmother’s place.
Patrick had a football tournament not far from Prague, so it was easier for us to go pick him up and Helena will drive him home to Mlada Boleslav tomorrow. While he’s here, though, Helena thought we should do something cool and show him one of the tourist attractions of our neighborhood: the ferry across the Vltava.
Now, we would have liked it if Sam had come with us but Sam thinks he’s too cool to do anything with the parents and his friend from Austria (he’s actually a friend from Prague, they went to the same school up to about 4th or 5th grade before Robert’s family moved) was also not interested, so it was me, Helena and Patrick.
His first question, as soon as we stepped out the door, was “Are we going by car?”
No, we said. We are walking. It’s not far. Well, children have shorter legs than adults, and less than halfway there he started pointing out that this did not agree with his definition of ‘not very far.’ But, we were there in under 15 minutes and it is a pleasant walk.
We didn’t have to wait long for the ferry at all, and it was a beautiful crossing, with the sun low in the sky and blazing. On the other side, we took a short walk along the river, past a homeless man (you could tell he was homeless because he stank) lying on a bench. I got the feeling he was staking his claim, establishing residency for the evening. I guess, in calm summer weather, it was sort of a prime location.
We came to a fruit tree. I would have said loquats but H says they are just yellow plums and I think she’s probably right. They look like loquats but they’re juicier inside. They were ripe and most of the fruit was well out of reach but there were a few branches coming over the wall and leaning down just far enough I could grab some.
Patrick was very pleased with that and then we had a contest, trying to spit the pits from the walkway where we stood into the river. Sometimes it went clean in, sometimes it bounced off the concrete and went in, and sometimes it fell short. (It wasn’t littering. The whole area was covered with fallen and rotting fruit.)
It’s only about 10 minutes between ferries. On the ride back, it was quiet and we could here the tape the pilot was listening to. “La tienda esta abierto. The shop is open.” Kind of impressive, really. A Czech student with a summer job ferrying people across the river, making use of the time to study Spanish – in English.
Then Patrick wanted to take the Metro home, which really didn’t save us much walking at all, but we agreed and took it for the one stop.
Public transportation can be fun.