Trip Update: Prague
I’ve been pretty quiet on this trip aside from the sporadic facebook or twitter update. That’s mainly been due to the fact that I don’t like writing anything of substance on an on-screen keyboard, and unlike last year I did not bring my bluetooth keyboard with me in an effort to keep things as minimal and light as possible. Mission accomplished, BTW, this is the lightest I’ve traveled. The bag with everything I’m wearing/using fits comfortably on my back and into the overhead bin of any plane. And I can wear it for hours without issue.
I write this from Vienna, where the apartment we’re staying in happened to have a USB keyboard that I could plug into my tablet, so I’ll happily chug away the next couple of nights before bed providing some minimal details and pictures. I like to do this to help me remember what I’ve done, to. We travel for the experiences, so it’s best to commit them to memory. I’ve tried to keep the minutiae to a minimum. So, let’s begin with the first city on our trip, Prague.
We arrived in Vienna after a night of flying, and had a couple of hours to kill before our afternoon train to Prague left for Vienna, so we wandered around the area near the train station and grabbed a quick lunch. This actually worked out well for us, since it turns out the apartment we were staying in during the last part of our trip is *right there*, so the familiarity with the neighborhood helped us find it. But that’s the later part of the journey, and we’re not there yet. And thus, back to Prague.
Our train ride was long (4.5 hours) but relaxing. I had directions on how to find our Prague apartment from our host (we’re almost exclusively staying at places found on Airbnb.com for this trip with only one night of hotel stay immediately preceding our flight home). Unfortunately, as has come to be the norm on our travels, not everything went according to plan. The directions would have been perfect, if not for construction making the tram take a different route and us getting off about 1 kilometer away from where we wanted to be.
I also had the wrong phone number saved for our host, so I couldn’t call him. I had no data service here, and couldn’t find a place with wifi, so we asked around for directions. The English of the people I asked or help was only marginally better than my Czeck (which was limited to please and thank you, at this point), but we got close. Our host called my phone when we were late (about 30 minutes past when we were expected) and he realized the construction messed us up, but he got us back on track and walked to meet us and walk us back to the apartment.
With that snafu out of the way, we were set. The next morning, I spent a little time trying to get a data SIM working in my wireless modem, but it was not working out and I decided that wifi was ubiquitous enough in that city we could get by without it. It worked out pretty well, too. We decided to employ that strategy almost universally.
Over the next few days, we did a bunch of sightseeing, though I don’t have a lot of photos to show off because it was really pretty dreary most of the trip and didn’t lend itself well to photographs. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed being there, but it just wasn’t generally something that my little digital camera was going to make worth looking at. I look forward to visiting when it’s not rainy.
Our adventures include:
* walking from new town to the castle quarter via Charles bridge. (many walks across the bridge, as our apartment was almost adjacent. It’s quite pretty.)
* climbing the hill to the top where the Prague castle is, checking out the church and other sights at the castle.
* visiting many a Christmas market, and having many a delicious hot wine (or other similar hot, alcoholic drink).
* riding funicular to Petrin, and climbing the 299 stairs up their mini Eiffel Tower
* discovering a local treat called honey cake (medovnik)
* touring the astronomical clock tower
* touring the museum of medieval art
* discovering people bring their dogs into restaurants with them, and having some surprising (and cute) dining companions at a delicious Thai place.
* walking the Havelska market
* visiting the Communism Museum
* visiting the tiny Mucha Museum (which I really enjoyed)
* walking through Jewish quarter
* having soooo many pilsners.
Oh, and I caught a cold. Not enough to keep me down, just enough to be an annoyance. But, boy, am I glad I packed my decongestant nose spray “just in case”. My recollections from past trips were that the cold meds over here are just not very effective for me.
And so endeth the whirlwind first stop on our trip. Traveling from 6PM Saturday (Chicago time) to 10PM Sunday (Prague time), then Monday – Thursday taking in what we could. I’ll post some pics once they’re done uploading and link them here.
Next installment, Bratislava, featuring so many stairs, a cute kitty, some wonderful hosts, and an awesome hockey game.