Trip to Prague (Praha, ha ha!)

Prague Travel Blog

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The better Budweiser!

The train ride from Velden to Vienna was amazing. Picturesque was what I kept thinking. Lush green pastures clinging to the sides of the steep valleys, with farm houses and villages, all carved out of the thick woods covering the mountains. Unfortunately it was a bit rainy and drizzly for most of the trip. Once we approached Vienna, things became a little flatter and more industrialized. I had to change to a Czech train there.

The journey from Vienna to Prague was a bit less spectacular. Flatter rolling hills, then heavily wooded hills. Parts of the trip reminded me of the Ozarks. I don't know why but I didn't think Europe would be this heavily wooded. Perhaps I though that since the area had been occupied for such a long time, all of the forests would be cleared, but of course this isn't the case at all!

I got into Prague somewhat late, about 8:PM and already dark, and still drizzling.

Castle on a hill.
I searched for a hotel near the train station, but the only one I found was over $200 per night! No thanks.

I had researched hotels on the internet, and written down some information on how to reach them, so I walked back to the train station and got on the subway. Because I don't speak Czech (are you surprised?) it was difficult to read the signs. Most of the letters are the same as English, but very different spellings like our train station's name “Hlavni Nadrazi”. It was hard remembering what stop I needed.

Finally, I made it to the correct stop, and asked a women where Slezik Street was, and she pointed the way. The pointing in Czech is just the same as English, so it's a start. I walked up Slezik Street, although I would say it was more than the 300 meters the internet directions suggested and found the Hotel Claris.

How the hell am I supposed to eat all of this???

Just as the internet said, the room was 60 Euros per night, a little more than I wanted to pay, but it was a very nice hotel and had high speed wireless throughout the hotel. I must say it was about the nicest place I've stayed on my journey.

At the suggestion of the very friendly (and pretty) desk clerk, I went to a traditional restaurant for dinner. It was more like a pub. Cigarette smoking was pretty popular here. They had a menu in English, and I ordered something that looked good, but when it came, the meal was a whole pork leg on a cutting board, surrounded with vegetables and bread. My jaw dropped. This could have fed a small family. The food was good, but I of course I couldn't eat it all. The beer was served in tall ½ liter glasses, and was very good.

Tower at St. Charles bridge. Yellow tour guides umbrella in foreground.
They have Budweiser here, but it's not like the Bud back home. I think this is the original and Budweiser back home has to license the name from the Czech beer.

By the time I got back and checked my e-mail it was after midnight.

The next day, I got up early so I could take a Prague intro walking tour. Just meet at the horse statue in front of the museum at 9:45 and look for the yellow umbrella. It was a metro ride away, and the cost was only 300 crowns, about $14. It lasted until noon, and was a good way to see the city, although I was embarrassed to be in one of those tour groups led by a lady wearing a microphone headset, and had a speaker attached to her belt. I've seen (and mocked) those groups all over Europe. What's next for me? Perhaps I will ride around in one of those big buses.

My headset wearing tour guide.

But Prague. What a beautiful city! Everywhere you turn there is a picture post card view right in front of your eyes. Even in Wenceslas square, which is suppose to be in the “new town,” every building is 300 years old and ornately decorated. Copper covered spires poke above the buildings. I can only imagine what this place would look like in bright sunshine, with all of the gilding on the buildings sparkling in the sun. Even in the cloudy weather I experienced this city is amazing. I especially love that McDonald's, Casinos and new department stores inhabit these old buildings. You'll just have to see my photos as my words cannot do it justice. I'm sure my cousin, who was a Mormon missionary here, would agree.

The next thing I had to do was to find some shoes.

Another statue on St. Charles bridge.
I only brought one pair with me, and for some odd reason, they have started to squeak. I don't know what the deal is, but it's been getting louder and louder. I couldn't sneak up on a brass band it's getting so bad. At night walking down the empty corridor, I have contemplated taking them off for fear of waking the other guests!

I walked all over Prague finding the kind of shoe I wanted without spending a hundred bucks. I was looking for a type of shoe that I have seen over here, but not in the states. Perhaps it exists and I just haven't noticed it. It's like a tennis shoe or running shoe, but the sole is very flat, and almost looks like a slipper, or bowling shoe. The real nice ones are made by Puma, but those are the $100 version. I finally found a Czech knock-off version for $32.

That mission accomplished, I then had to find a fleece jacket or sweatshirt, as the weather had turned cold.

Spikey industrial scuplture.
The only thing I brought other than t-shirt was a long sleeve shirt for the christening and a very light windbreaker.

While in the Jewish sector of the walking tour, I notice some fleece hoodies, military green with an embroidered Prague symbol, so I went back to get one.

I went back to the hotel on the metro, and changed into my new shoes and hoodie, and headed back to the square to look for dinner. Nothing appealed to me like the pub of the night before, so I returned on the metro to the neighborhood of the hotel. This time, I found a similar establishment, just as smoky, if not more. They too had a menu in English, and I ordered something described as “smalled dumplings cooked with sauerkraut and smoked meat.” I waited about 45 minutes for my meal to arrive (finishing a beer and a half in the meantime) but it was worth it.

Ooooh. Spooky.
This was delicious! The smoked meat turned out to be ham. The portion was so huge that I finished about a third of it, then started fishing about for just the ham.

This morning I got up early again as I have a train back to Vienna at 10:00. (I am on that very train now composing this blog)

I neglected to look for a hotel while I had the good internet connection at my hotel in Prague, so will just have to scout around Vienna. I know it's an expensive city, so I will check out the areas around the train station first. Hopefully, there will be something cheap and safe nearby.

I need to contact the husband-of-a-friend of the sister of my step mother in Vienna. (how's that for a distant connection).

Crazy toilet sculptures.
Perhaps we can have dinner together.

More about what I found in the next installment.

Until then, AufWeiterzen!

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The better Budweiser!
The better Budweiser!
Castle on a hill.
Castle on a hill.
How the hell am I supposed to eat …
How the hell am I supposed to eat…
Tower at St. Charles bridge.  Yell…
Tower at St. Charles bridge. Yel…
My headset wearing tour guide.
My headset wearing tour guide.
Another statue on St. Charles brid…
Another statue on St. Charles bri…
Spikey industrial scuplture.
Spikey industrial scuplture.
Ooooh. Spooky.
Ooooh. Spooky.
Crazy toilet sculptures.
Crazy toilet sculptures.
5,233 km (3,252 miles) traveled
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photo by: vulindlela