Friday, April 13, 2012

Czech it off!

Prague by night
Our next destination was Prague, capital of the Czech Republic and home to some extraordinary sites. From Berlin we took a short 4 1/2 hr train ride to Prague, and was incidentally the only time while traveling in Europe that I've needed to show our passports crossing the border. You can tell that the train staff that headed this direction didn't use English as often as some of the other routes through Germany. One noticeable (which happens to still make us laugh) is when the conductor announce a long string of German over the intercom and then when switching to English was much shorter and only gave basic information.... the best part being "And the dining car is no."

We arrived in Prague in the early evening and easily made our way to our hotel... I say easily as it was a simple walk, but in reality it was a long, hot walk with our luggage. We would have taken the public transportation (which was awesome) but we had no small change for it. Mariko and I only had a 5000kc note that we had exchanged at our bank prior to leaving home.... that's like walking around with a bill worth $270 and trying to pay to board the bus... it does not go.

Prague itself was a very culturally diverse city and you could tell that it was a destination for many tourist of varying origin. It was nice to be able to speak English since we didn't know the Czech language, but we also could have (and did on some occasions) use our German. One of the restaurants that we went to even had different menus for over 7 languages, plus you got to put the flag of your country on the table... that way the servers who spoke that language could assist you!

Speaking of food, Prague had some really good food!! It was heavy, but oh so good. The favorite meal time food would probably have to be the Goulash. It was served in a nice rich gravy and either in a bread bowl or with bread-like dumplings. The favorite snack time food for our friend Rachel would have to be the Trndl (don't even ask how its is supposed to be said.) Its a sweet bread that is rolled into a cylinder and then covered in cinnamon, sugar and almonds (hence why we didn't eat it). It was a local food and it looked wonderful!

Now we also made sure to get some historical sites in during our visit. The best was probably the Prague Castle grounds, which had many different locations within it. There was the Old Royal Palace itself which included the windows that were involved in the second Defenstration of Prague (aka they threw people out of the windows). We also viewed St. Vitus Cathedral, which had some of the most colorful stained glass windows I've ever seen. But my favorite place was the Golden Lane. It was a small section next to the walls that people built homes in over time. There were many armor pieces and homes to take a look at, and for the shoppers there were many cute little stores. I was able to fire an old crossbow (which I loved because I like medieval weaponry), and didn't do too bad either... got almost a perfect score.

Prague was definitely a beautiful city, both day and night. It had many great views looking out over the city, and seeing the old buildings dotting up makes for a majestic sight. I know that Mariko and I both really enjoyed ourselves, and like most of our trips we would go back if ever given the opportunity. Here are some of my favorite pics from the trip (with some minor editing):

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