A Bit of Prague-matismCHAPTER 23: IN WHICH WE GET CZECHED BY A DOCTOR (THANKFULLY NOT A PRAGUE-TOLOGIST!)
Around the World, Day 23: Prague, Czech Republic. Since I first inadvertently invited this respiratory bug to join our trip in Iceland, we've apparently been passing it back and forth for the last three weeks. At the urging of my slightly older and much wiser sister, who went so far as researching English-speaking physicians in Prague and emailing us names, we finally decided it was time to get serious about getting well. Based on the ease with which the concierge in Casablanca obtained an eye appointment for Ken, we went to the hotel office and asked for assistance. And were handed a reminder about levels of service and how they can vary.
Rather than handing us a doctor’s name, whose office had already been called and arrangements made, the agent on duty gave us the name of a building and told us to go to “a clinic on the ground floor, the first floor.” Ken asked if they could arrange for a car and driver to take us there but was assured it was in easy walking distance. Sure, but only if one is feeling well. But we didn’t realize that at the time and off we went on foot.
A mile and a half later, hacking and coughing, we located the building to which we had been referred. Upon entering, we realized that we had just been sent to a medical office building with no doctor’s name or office number. Consulting the office directory posted on the wall near the entrance, with Google Translate in hand (hemorrhaging expensive roaming data usage), we found no suggestion of a clinic. And the ground floor was Floor 0, not Floor 1. We might have tried wandering into one of the offices that were not marked Gynekologie or Kardiologie and inquired of the staff if they might be operating a clinic. Except all the office doors were locked and no one inside them responded to a knock. That was clearly not the protocol. In a general waiting room area which appeared to serve all the offices, we tried to locate a pending patient who spoke English, but all shook their heads negatively. (At least, that gesture was universal…here.)
Arriving shortly at the clinic, we were also met with a locked door. But this one had a sign, in both Czech and English, instructing visitors to ring the bell, which generated a prompt admittance. The receptionist greeted us in English and handed us brief new patient forms to complete, which included a question asking whether this was a “pass-through” one-time visit. (Certainly not their first rodeo!) Within ten minutes, we were seen by Dr. Václav Beneš, who conducted a typical interview and respiratory examination before testing each of us for strep. With both our test results negative, he diagnosed two cases of viral bronchitis and gave us an expectorant and iodine throat spray to kill the nasty virus.
|Old Town Square|
Since we seemed to be in the gullible tourist mode and had put enough distance between us and Morocco to try food from a street vendor, we indulged in a couple of snacks very popular with tourists if not necessarily with locals. The first was a lightly sweetened pastry, whose recipe was imported from Hungary in the late 1700s. The trdelník is made from a long string of rolled dough spiraled around a large rod and cooked over an open fire rotisserie style, then topped with sugar and nuts. Nutella was available for dipping, but we went for the straight trdelnik and found it to be pretty tasty.
|Many carriage operators in Old Town are ready to offer tours.|
|Church of Our Lady before Tyn|
|One tourist group leaves the Old-New Synagogue as another approaches.|
Afternoon was fading into evening by the time we wandered back to Old Town Square and secured a taxi just as rain began to fall in earnest. On our way back to the hotel, we watched a video we had recorded of Jazz No Problem Praha, a Prague-based Czech jazz band with a lead singer who is on a direct channel with... Well, you listen, and you'll know immediately who his muse is. We also heard the group playing on Charles Bridge Monday afternoon.
Jazz No Problem from Road Junkies on Vimeo.
One more day in Prague tomorrow, and we have letterboxes to find and one to plant.
- Miles walked: 4.21
- Weather: 45° to 54°, sunny, PC, rain
- Tourists in Old Town Square: 93,815
- Tourists watching clock strike: 93,809
- Musical performers in square: 16
- Carriage operators: 10
More Photos from Today
|Old Town Square = Tourists|
|Architectural elegance at the square|
|You can't have this many souvenir stands if you're not a tourist city.|