My trip to the airport included an impromptu tour of Atlanta, initiated by a combination of rush hour 5pm traffic and President Obama being in town. In a quest for short cuts, Robert drove us down side streets from Buckhead to the Bluff.
Air France was fab with their usual chic, efficient, ironic service. The NOLA socialite next to me moved to join her husband and Papillion dog, Mignon, and I had the row to myself. The seat flattened out. I lay my head down, hoping to rest my eyes, and didn’t wake up until they turned up the lights and were wheeling breakfast down the aisle. Merci!
Landed in Paris and in less than two hours boarded the plane to Prague. I snorted when I saw the only difference between business class and coach on that flight was three rows and a curtain, but then the plane prepared to take off and only four people were in that section. I had my three seats across row to myself. They served chilled shrimp and hot olive bread. The thing I thought was an odd turnip turned out to have wee tentacles, so I guess it was a squid of some kind. Gack. The tiny pastries made up for it.Landed in Prague much more alert and comfortable than I’d had any expectation to be. My driver was waiting with my name on a card. We walked to where was parked outside and across the street from the airport, but conveniently in front of bank with an ATM, so I grabbed the opportunity to withdraw some Czech cash.
Traffic was heavy and the cordial driver explained the president of China was in town, much to the citizenry’s dismay. Havel was pro-Tibet; their new Prez is sucking up to the Chinese. People are wrapping themselves in Tibetan flags in protest. Don;t get me started on politics, I begged the driver, I’ve had more than enough of that at home. Obligingly, the talk turned to architecture.
The hotel staff were waiting for me with an umbrella though it was barely misting. My luggage was taken to my room while I was warmly welcomed. They were more than pleasant. They acted like I was an elderly relative who might include them in my will. They had art recommendations and offered me some exquisite praline truffles that were bliss on the tongue.
There are only 19 rooms. It’s reminiscent of the Orfila in Madrid, only even more lush. The walls feature art by a local painter of city scenes, which here means medieval, renaissance, and 18 c architecture.
I bounded out to find milk and another ATM – successful, though it took a few minutes of coaxing to get my phone to behave. And I saw this little bridge between two houses, my first taste of Praha charm.
My room is a velvet and gilt and Oriental rug jewel box. Glorious views. Absolutely silent.
The bathroom features heated floors and a Japanese toilet that lights up, has a heated seat, and electronic controls to raise and lower the lid, The demo by the staff made me go off into fits of giggles. After a hot bath in a deep tub, I stayed awake until 1:30 am Prague time, then slept with the windows open.