Sidewalk musicians play the blues on the Charles Bridge while the blazing embers of the summer sun begin to fade behind Prague Castle.  Rounded cobblestones meet the perpendicular angles of the platform mules I balance in with sharp abrasive taps.  I tighten my core as I weave through ambling crowds of tourists gawking at the saints perched on the thousand year old passageway, training for competition with the beautiful Slovakian princesses and Italian models that now glide past me, smoothly sailing past short pig-tailed families with snapping cameras and quickly dripping ice cream cones.  They have Armani suited arms to help them sail around on haute couture stilettos, strappy feats of engineering.  I have only the energy it took to get here in the first place, on my wooden heels.

New Orleans melodies hover above the Vltava, carrying me from one weathered stone-top to the next.  The air is spiked with perfume, sweets and money.  My dress chafes as a single drop of sweat trickles down my back from hair that has gotten longer here this summer.  The curls I spent hours making don’t help it feel less heavy.  Buskers paint tourists for a few hundred korunas next to a legless man dressed in rags, huddled over his whimpering dog, with an upturned empty hat near his fleshy stumps.