We got lost today (sorta). I mean, I knew right where we were. It just wasn’t where we wanted to be. And we couldn’t find any of the things we were trying to find. And there were polar bears and hatches and distracting jumps to parallel timelines. So, naturally we wandered and studied maps and turned around in circles and squinted our eyes alot looking off at the horizon and had tense moments about what we should do next. But is that technically lost?
Lost (from Google):
- No longer in your possession or control; unable to be found or recovered
- Confused: having lost your bearings; confused as to time or place or personal identity
- Spiritually or physically doomed or destroyed
Ok we were lost.
Some new friends offered to let us use their back-up cell phones for a time until we could get our own. Their kind offer to let us use their phones was to help us get around the city and to be able to coordinate meeting up with people in case we were ever running late. Or lost.
So this morning we set out to meet up with them in the city at noon to pick up the phones. We thought we were going to Wenceslas Square to meet at the Jan Hus statue. We consulted a map to make sure we knew where the square was, inexplicably decided to leave the map on the counter, and then bounced out the door, over confident in our ability to navigate Prague’s deceptively not parallel streets.
To add to our troubles, we decided to walk. Walking has been one of the unforeseen benefits to the central location of our flat. We’ve found we can get a lot of places on foot, which saves us some transportation money and hopefully tightens our belt. We left promptly at 11:30, and by 12:04 we were walking up to Wenceslas Square, albeit a little late, but happy we had successfully made the journey on foot with no help.
As we now know, the giant statue of a king on a horse in Wenceslas Square is actually a statue of King Wenceslas. Yes, that sounds obvious. Especially since Jan Hus was a 15th Century Priest who was killed by the Catholic church, not a kingly knight on a horse. These facts aside, we got a bit antsy waiting next to Wenceslas as our friends still weren’t appearing, and began to wonder, “Is this the wrong statue?”
Ever the brave and the bold (and the proud of her ability to say ‘where is’ in Czech), Amy asked two different street vendors if they could tell us the location of the Jan Hus statue.
Both pointed off towards the south but couldn’t speak English well enough to give us anything specific. But by now, what with the pointing and my generally good sense of direction, I knew what had happened.
Jan Hus! In Old Town Square! We’re in the wrong square at the wrong Statue! We hurried off in the direction of the pointing. We rounded one bend, then another. Turned a corner, then another. Hit a dead end of buildings and a giant castle clock tower thing.
This couldn’t be right. Did we go too far? No… Where is the Square? But I KNEW – I just KNEW that the Old Town was around the next bend.
Amy began to doubt, and asked a woman in a shop. This woman knew English! And she told us – get on the tram here, number 9, travel for 2 stops, and you’ll be there. Yes! Energized by this encounter, we boarded the tram, spirits high that we might just meet our friends after all (30 minutes late).
At least we were no longer walking. Amy’s poor choice of walking shoes that day (“but so cute!”) were starting to kill her feet. Mine weren’t doing much better. If we hadn’t found that woman with those directions we might have started to get a bit grumpy with one another…
The tram went farther than we thought it would. And then it kept going. Two stops later and we got off in a place we’d never seen before. And there were no statues anywhere. The flower vendor at the stop didn’t help us much. We were way off. With no hope of meeting our friends, and no way to call them to let them know, we resigned ourselves to get back on the tram, head back to our last known location, and give up.
There comes a turning point in a story like this where you have to make a choice. You are tired, let down, confused, etc. At some point you will end up lashing out – probably at your spouse – because she is the only one there who would understand anything you are saying. So I did the only thing someone in my position could do: I got the attention of the entire tram, and I gave them an impassioned speech. “Live together, or die alone!”
Ok not really. But we did manage to turn this day around. We kept it cool. Didn’t let the situation get the best of us. After all, what was the “situation?” We’re slightly “lost” in a very tourist-friendly city that also happens to be one of the oldest, most interesting cities in the world. If ever there were a time to remember that embracing the unknown means, well, being ok with the unknown, this was it. So we held hands, made jokes, complained about our feet, practiced Czech phrases, stopped for sausage and beer, stopped for ice cream (Ben & Jerry’s, no less), laid in the grass at a park, and kept wandering – together.
Wouldn’t you know it we wandered right into our friends, completely randomly, at a coffee shop an hour and a half after our initial planned meeting time. They gave us the phones. We all laughed and laughed. Oh and also, the Old Town was on the other side of the wall of buildings we were faced with when we got on the tram.
I KNEW it.