There's not much room for comfort these days in Prague. Every spare inch of shade is taken by someone in yearning for a cooler place. The bars and restaurants are sweltering, unless you find some multinational corporation like Costa or Starbucks that took the expense to put in some air conditioning. All the old white trash "herna" bars that were always stocked with air coolers were shut down in a popularly suspected anti-money laundering action a couple of years ago and nobody's house has anything remotely resembling a reasonable air conditioning system. This wouldn't be a problem if not climate change. Having spent many summers visiting family in Louisiana, I hate to complain about a bit of heat. In Louisiana, it's paired with unbreathable humidity, the kind where you step out of the car and fall back because the moisture just whacked you in the chest like a vengeful mafioso and now you have to adapt to breathing in water. Nothing compares to Louisiana heat, except maybe Florida heat I suspect, but I've never been there. I'm in Prague now anyway and it's pretty damned hot here.

Vitkov Castle

There are few things to do to escape the absurdity of the temperature. One can hit a movie, since they're almost always air conditioned. One can go to one of the few public swimming pools in town, like Podoli, but we tend to avoid those knowing how ridiculously over-crowded they ought to be with such a climatological extreme. The last option is to just get out of town. Around Prague, there are many lakes, creeks and rivers where people have adapted into beachfronts and places for pleasure-boating. I've yet to find a boat rental place outside of Prague though - you can rent boats on the Vltava on the embankment in the city - but they must exist.

For our outing, we decided to go to two beautiful Disneyesque castles we had scene last winter - Orlik and Zvikov. Both of the castles sit on the Vltava River, connected by about an hour long boat ride. We noticed the boat availability when we were there in November, but they only operate from June to August, so we decided to take advantage of the weekend and check it out. Orlik is only about an hour and a half drive, so going on the spur of the moment wasn't a problem for us. When we got to Orlik, we found the castle gates open this time, but instead of going in, we circled around and followed the coast a little back where the docks were. There was a small beergarden on the bank with an excellent view of the river. The Vltava had been dammed a bit further up making it almost like a really long lake with steep cliffs on every side.

The entrance to Orlik

The tour at Orlik is definitely worth it. There is a room with some of the most remarkable woodwork on a ceiling you'll ever see, and a very creepy sight of a thousand or so deer heads, then you get to see all the rifles used to get those deer heads. It's 120 czk and in Czech, but they give you a