In the middle of Bohemia!
25.10.2012 - 30.10.2012 -1 °C
Ok where to start? We arrived by plane in Prague around eight in the evening and took a cab to a hostel in the Old Town Square. After we checked in we decide to go for a short walk to a near by cafe. We had a small bite to eat and a couple of beer. We weren't tired yet so we decide to go explore a little more before bed.
We ended up in a underground club which was literally underground, we people watched and had a few drinks. Well I believed that we ended up leaving this club somewhere around five in the morning at least thats what Jannelle tells me. I never thought I would be able to drink another margarita again after the Dominican but alas I was wrong. We stumbled back to the hostel together. When we opened the door to our room we found four dudes sleeping in the bottom bunks that we had reserved for ourselves and our stuff thrown around the room. Needless to say I was mad and drunk at this point so I laid into them a little. By the time we had picked our stuff up and climbed up to our top bunks the room was already spinning on me. I didn't stand a chance of making it to the bathroom in time and the top bunk was just to high up to jump down from and run. I got my revenge on those guys - no sooner was my dinner on the floor, I was fast asleep and snoring louder than Jannelle had ever heard me before.
Ok so that was night one.
The next day we got up and went for a walk about. Prague is an ancient city around 1100 years old and laid out well before the "grid system" was even a dream. It was by far the most confusing city to walk around, even with a map and the GPS on our phones. All the buildings are about six to seven stories tall so looking up for a reference point was a waste as well. We continued to be lost right up until we were walking to the train station...which we had just been at the day before. By the middle of the 2nd day it started to snow and the weather turned miserable so we stayed inside for the rest of the day and watch a few movies.
On the 3rd day we decided that we weren't going to stay for the full 2 weeks that we had planned. We started planning our next city to visit and to catch some sights before we moved on. This lead us to Kutna Hora which is a town about one hour out of Prague or 3 stops on the train. Kutna Hora used to produce upwards of 70% of all the silver in Europe, not just Bohemia. We had a German born, London raised, turned Prague local tourist guide that lead us through the Sedlec Ossuary "Bone Catherdal" where it was estimated that the remains of at least 40,000 people had been used to decorate the inside. This was done by a man in a matter of 2 years apparently, and was meant to symbolize our mortality and our insignificance in the world over the long years that humanity has existed.
We took a short bus ride to St. Barbaras Cathedral which is definitely one of the prettiest churches I've been in, and I've been in a few. It took 500 years to complete roughly. This area of the Czech Republic has been famous for hundreds and hundreds of years for silver mining and this Cathedral dedicated to St. Barbara, the patron saint of mining was a testament to all this activity. It took so long to finish because so many rulers had so many different plans. Her picture is still used in Europe to this day, when they started digging the modern chunnel from Paris to London, they used an effigy of her to protect the miners until the job was finished.
The Czech Republic still has its own currency called (Koruny) but pronounced "Crown." Beer was cheap but food was still kinda of expensive.
A word about the food and restaurants....Goulash and dumplings, pork knuckle and dumplings, beef tounge and dumplings, turkey, potatoes and jam filled dumplings. You can smoke in 99% of the restaurants still and you can bring your dog with you as well. We seen them happily putting water dishes down for dogs in at least a few places. The beer (pivo) of choice was Pilsner Urquell and was on tap everywhere. They seemed to have at least two beer per meal per person. Didn't see to many overly drunk people but you could diffenetly hear them at all hours of the night in the streets from our window. Bars and restaurants seem to close whenever they wanted and we had another five o'clock night before we left Prague with the group we met on the tour some Americans, Aussies and a couple from England.
The people were not overly friendly, but with so much tourism and people standing around looking at maps in the middle of the road even at the end of October I think I would be a little cynical as well. Its the sixth most visited city in Europe and I can see why, it's cheap and pretty and the food tastes like something your mama use to make. If you ever thought about visiting Prague I would now recommend it as we felt safe and had lots of fun. Maybe just book a little earlier. We spent the remainder of our time there just walking around and taking in all the sights, we walked over Charles Bridge and up to the Praha Castle, where we got some great overviews of the city. There is also an Astronomical clock in the town square that was first installed in 1410, making it the third oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one in the world that still works today.
After Prague we boarded a 4 hour train to Vienna, Austria and from there connected onto a 12 hour night train to Venice in hopes of warmer weather!