Tonight, as the clock struck 8, a princess from the new world stared at the ancient clock tower and clasped her hand against her beautiful garnet pendant as if to ensure the newly acquired jewel wouldn’t disappear like a glass slipper if this fairytale happened to end!
On my nephew Sam’s 6th birthday, the magic continued tonight in Prague, the city the locals call Praha. I strolled with colleagues through the streets to buy trinkets for the boys waiting at home and for stocking surprises. We walked across a foggy Charles Bridge (and will return tomorrow to see it for the first time in daylight). Just off the bridge in old town, possibly even in the same jewelry stores Grandma visited, I searched for something special just for me, honoring that pursuit of hers that I so admired. It didn’t take very long to find it. It is a beautiful 18K Czech garnet pendant that perfectly matches Grandma’s Lisbon-purchased garnet ring that I am now so lucky to wear. I will wear them as a set and I will forever remember walking in her footsteps to choose the right keepsake.
My colleagues and I then stood in awe before Tyn Church and watched the crowds gather minutes before 8 p.m. to observe — in Grandma’s journal words — “the Old Town Hall clock tower do its thing.” The remaining nine of our SanDisk group who hadn’t yet departed from our meetings convened for a relaxing three-hour, five-course Italian meal at Gabriele Ristorante. And, what a treat it was to have one of our nine be from Milan. Genaro is a consultant from another communications firm, Text 100, and represents SanDisk in Italy. He is a gem and he helped translate all of our courses for us and ordered the right Chianti and talked to us about his native Naples. I think that was the first time I have had the pleasure of enjoying such an authentically Italian meal with a native Italian! It was a rare treat and complemented perfectly the wonderful hospitality we had enjoyed all day with shop owners who welcomed us into their stores with pride. They were from Russia and the Ukraine as well as the Czech Republic — all of them friendly and fluent in English and all of them very proud of their wares and hugely interested in having their buyer leave feeling satisfied. And with all of my purchases — most notably my pendant — I certainly did.
Tomorrow is my official “tourist” day with only my day-to-day client, Ryan, remaining to accompany me. I look forward to exploring the other side of the bridge and the Prague Castle. There may also be time to take in the Symphony at the Municipal House in the evening. Whatever the day holds, it surely will be yet another fairytale day for this princess from the new world.
Dekuji (thank you), Praha, for the gem you have left me and for the gem that you are.
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