Our tour has officially begun! Katie arrived in Prague on Friday. After meeting her at the airport we headed to our friend Maria’s apartment. We ate lunch with Maria and her six-month old baby, Adrianka - the most thoughtful baby either of us have ever encountered (in June, we recorded a song celebrating the birth of the little pup that you can hear here). After a low-key afternoon of Katie adjusting to the time difference, she, Maria, and the baby went out for a walk through the 800-year old Stromovka park and I met Maria’s boyfriend Andrej at the sauna in the basement of nearby Hotel Absolutum. If you have not experienced a Czech sauna, it is the best thing ever: you sit naked in a really hot room - like 170° - for 15 minutes, then take a warm shower, then jump into a cold pool, then relax and listen to funny lounge music for 10 minutes before repeating this cycle two more times. After the sauna we picked up Katie and went for beer and cheese. As we were picking her up, I went for a swig of water. Andrej stopped me as I was bringing the glass to my lips, insisting that a sip of water now would sully the satisfaction of the beer. I took his word for it and discovered the pure pleasure of a post-sauna beer.
Katie and I spent the next two days walking around Prague, returning to our old haunts, and playing in the parks. We have been blown away by the hospitality we’ve been shown thus far. Maria and Andrej took me in for two nights in Prague, followed by a four night stay with Maria at her parent’s house in Moravia (pictures of this trip soon to come), and then two more nights when Katie arrived. They fed us, bathed us (not literally), and made sure we were totally happy and comfortable. The fact that they did this after a transition into a new apartment as well as having a newborn baby is just crazy! They are such incredible people and we are so grateful for their generosity. I also owe a big thank you to my friend Vendula for hosting me for a few nights at her lovely apartment in Vinohrady!
At our show last night we were invited to play a set in Brno on Tuesday. So today has become our last day in Prague, off to Brno tomorrow and then onto Vienna!
Baráčnická rychta is on a serpentine street on the way to Prague Castle with tables at which to eat and drink outside, a restaurant on the ground floor, and a large room with a stage in the basement. We were led to the basement and told to wait down there. The room was long and full of tables pushed to the sides, a large stage at the front of the room, and one man and his black, fluffy dog at the back. “Dobry vecer” we said upon entering and approached the man. We stood directly in front of him as he fiddled with the sound board and he didn’t say one word or even look up at us. Ian and I exchanged confused glances until we finally put our baggage and equipment down and went upstairs for dinner. We sat at a table beside 20+ American tourists and were treated by the venue to potato soup, Camembert cheese, and Ian’s favorite beer, Svijany. About an hour later, we returned to the basement to see if there were any developments. Ian walked straight up to the sound man with confidence this time and took his hand and introduced himself. This time, Jan, presented himself as a new person. He gave us a wide, toothy smile and a shy introduction. We set up on stage and met our accompanying act, Jana, as familiar faces entered the room. I was so happy to see our friends Ana, Vendula, and Marta after 3 years! They brought along seven timid and smiling NYU students who settled at one table on the side of the room and talked in low tones.
The room was far from full and it was almost time for Jana to start, so Ian and I raced upstairs and approached the table of American tourists. A glass clinked and Ian shouted, “Compatriots! May I have your attention? We are fellow Americans and we would like to invite you to our show downstairs which is starting soon!” They giggled collectively and told us they would try.
As we started back downstairs, Jana had begun her set. To me, she sounded like a Czech Joni Mitchell—bouncy guitar, a wide voice range, and a pleasant smile on her face. In the middle of her set, the tourists filed down the narrow staircase whispering and shushing each other!
And then, our first show of tour! It felt so good to play with Ian after his absence from New York for two whole months. There was that feeling in the room when you know everyone’s on the same page. I think my favorite moment was when the whole room sang the chorus of “Love Me”.
After the show, we were so lucky to be accommodated at our old dorm, Osadni, by Darima and Ana. They piled the couches with blankets, sheets, and pillows. I fell asleep with memories of my time as a student in Prague.
see our first European press here!