Lunch with Jim and Mary-Ann! (Friend Kate Nune's Dad and Aunt)
Prague was exquisitely beautiful and very touristy- tourists everywhere! We had lunch with my friend Kate Nunes’ Dad and Aunt, Jim and Mary-Ann, whom we just loved. They were so interesting and warm that we refused to let them loose for most of the afternoon. We had sidewalk café sodas with some of their fellow Friendship Force Twin City travelers too- they too were delightful!
The Friendship Force was started 30 years ago by Jimmy Carter as a way to encourage international relations. I must research more about this fascinating program, but they run exchange trips with groups in hundreds of countries and you sign up for trips.
Jim and Mary-Ann had a wonderful week with their gracious host family in Vienna, in addition to seeing Bratislava, Budapest and Prague. I think Orla’s father was also involved in the Friendship Force- sounds fascinating!
So we walked all over Prague, walking the Charles Bridge, hiking over the wonderful castle and cathedral area, and along a medieval street- fascinating!. The city is sparkling and clean, filled with old cobblestone streets, outdoor cafés, and was an energetic place with the many people out enjoying the lovely Saturday.
We, of course, had some public transportation troubles, but this time it really was not our fault! Tram line repair in the city center that weekend changed the route, which we didn’t know. Besides, the street names are very hard to read and track- and we couldn’t get a GPS satellite signal in the city.
However, the good news was that due to our confusion, we walked and enjoyed much more than if we’d been successful catching the tram earlier.
We enjoyed getting a few pieces of the Czech crystals and sticker. We’ve been buying a sticker of each country we’ve RV’d in so we can stick them on Ciao. She’s earned them by exchange.
We finally figured out the tram and from the campground, walked down the street to the local Pizzaria. Dinner was at 9pm- very European of us!.
Our Freemont Camping place was delightful- the owner was very conscientious and kept the place sparkling. I would highly recommend her excellent place. We paid 575 a night (each 100 Crowns = $5 U.
S.) with electric and the free city wifi. Being able to buy tram tickets, a city map, and basic groceries like milk from the campground was a huge convenience. She was very organized and provided all the info we could want. Very nice!
Prague was beautiful; the residents appear to live at a high standard of living, similar to Slovenia or Austria (clean water, buildings in good shape, etc). However, the people we met did not seem very happy in their jobs of extracting money from the tourists. I typically read this when people are struggling, when there exists a significant income disparity between tourist and salesclerk, which makes me think they are not getting paid much of the profits from the sales.
English was typically spoken and on signs, which was convenient. Using the Crowns money and trying to learn some Czech language was more difficult.
Food options in Prague seemed surpisingly limited: most cafes were on the central square with very few street vendors and buskers around.
The country appeared to have quite pleasant, but not amazing, landscape so I wouldn’t predict extensive eco-tourism developing there. Some places just don’t seem blessed with the amazing natural resources that countries like Slovenia have.
Summary: Prague is a great place to stroll the streets and see the lovely sights, but lacks warmth from the people who live /work there, which made it feel somewhat cold and unwelcoming. I think Paris is more romantic and has real flair, rather than the show face of Prague. So, I have to say that we enjoyed Prague’s beauty, but hope the people of Prague benefit from the tourism.