Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
Trip End Feb 17, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hostel Tyn

Flag of Czech Republic  , Hlavní Mesto Praha,
Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I love Prague. I knew I would and it lived up to every single bit of hype that I had heard about it from everyone who's been there.

It is breathtakingly beautiful, fun to go out in and has an amazingly interesting history. We got there late on Sunday night after our train got delayed en route from Berlin.

When we got to Prague, we had to follow the hostel's directions from the station. We were surprised that it wasn’t actually that cold while we were walking. Prague is another city in on the European street sign conspiracy, though they are at least easy to spot as they’re bright red.We missed one street and had to go back because it was blocked by a tower. Then we got really confused trying to find the street the hostel was on because it’s hidden and the directions said to keep walking straight and if you do that, you walk straight past it. We eventually found it though and made it to the hostel.

On Monday we had a bit of a sleep in. Sleeping in hostels in winter can be quite difficult because the heating is so high, it is like sleeping in summer at home. Sunday night, we cracked a window because it was so hot. We also did a free walking tour in the afternoon.

r Our tour was pretty good even though it was quite cold. We saw many of the important city centre sights. We are staying right near Old Town Square, which has some amazing buildings in it. The tour also started there. We were there just before 2o’clock and saw the apostles appear on the astronomical clock, which is a really famous thing that happens every hour between 9 and 9. We then headed for our tour. The guide, Brian, was Irish. We went to many different historically significant spots in Prague. It is such a beautiful city and there are so many amazing things to see. During the tour, he mentioned that there was a pub crawl run by the same company and we decided to go with him afterwards to sign up.

The pub crawl was fun and we met some really cool people. We finished up at  the biggest club in central Europe with 5 floors, though only 2 were open on Monday night. We stayed there for a bit talking to the Americans but didn’t really dance because Eddy felt pretty rubbish. The guys had to catch a train and 5:30 this morning so they bailed at about 1:30. Because Eddy wasn’t feeling too good, we left then too. It was quite a chilly walk home but alcohol definitely softens the blow.

On Tuesday we slept in again and got up around 11. It was so hot in the dorm that I opened the window to be a ble to sleep. We were told by our room mates in Berlin that there were segway tours in Prague which were really fun. We were going to do a night time one but when we were looking on the internet, we found they don’t do them at the moment because of the cold, we later found out.

We headed out around 12:30 and went to Charles Bridge to book our tickets for the segway. It was a beautiful clear day but definitely colder than the Monday. Then we walked up to the Castle. I’m glad we didn’t bother buying tickets because we definitely didn’t need them. We were able to see all the churches in the castle grounds as well as one of the most spectacular views from the front.. I was absolutely blown away by the view – everything here is amazingly beautiful.

After we had looked around the castle for a while, we went back to do our tour. I picked up some stamps and postcards on the way. It was us and one other older Kiwi guy. Our guide, Mark, showed us how to use the segways. It was a bit tricky at first but basically involved leaning forwards or backwards to move and turning the handle to turn. We went around to many sites in Prague on the castle side of the bridge. It was unbelievably cold. We saw some funny things, including these modern art works of big babies as well as two guys pissing on the Czech Republic – not sure what the European obsession with peeing is but it is quite amusing.

 Our guide was really good and quite chilled out – he kept having cigarettes as we were going along. Because we weren’t really moving though, my feet and hands got ridiculously cold. I have never been so cold in my entire life – we rode up the mountain where the castle is and went through a park covered in snow. Just when I thought my legs might fall off with the cold, we stopped in a little café for some soup. We were there for about half an hour which gave me some felling back. Mark told us that he thought on the mountain it was around -7. I think on the ground it was like -4 or -5.The stop also gave me an opportunity to prepare myself better for the outside. We went across the river to Old Town and the Jewish Quarter and then back over the bridge to our starting point.  Despite the price, this tour was so much fun and our guide was great. It was definitely worth it, despite the cold too. We stayed in the office for a while because my feet were still numb.

Then we headed back to the hostel and had a quiet night. It was obviously cold outside because I had been carrying my water bottle around all day. When I filled it up it was room temperature and by the end of the day it was ice cold - it's hard for an Australian to comprehend the outdoors being colder than a fridge but it definitely is!

We got up kind of early this morning –well I did. We had to check out by 10 and I needed to pack my stuff, get ready and write some postcards. I did an unprecedented good job at packing and my bag looks a lot less bulgy – though that might just be because I’ve been wearing more and more layers in Prague. After we had breakfast,  we checked out of the hostel and left our stuff in the luggage room. Then we headed to the Prague Jewish Museum.

The Museum is made up of 6 sites, of which are synagogues, one of which is a cemetery and the last is a ceremonial hall. One of the synagogues, The Pinkus Synagogue is a Holocaust memorial and has the names of 80,000 Czech Jews who were killed by the Nazis. It also has drawings by  children in a Czech concentration camp, which were drawn while they were imprisoned. This was incredibly moving. As well as the memorial, there was the Jewish cemetery which has tombs all over the place. The Jews were only allowed to be buried in a very small area so they are on top of eachother and placed kind of willy nilly all over the area. The other synagogues had information about Judaism and also about the  history of the Jewish community in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic.

After the museum, we did a couple of last minute things, like sending postcards and canging money and headed to the bus station. We are on a bus to Budapest now. It is playing some weird movie with Brendan Fraser in it and is a lot better than many buses I’ve been in  - which is good because we’ve got more than 6 hours to go.

Photos will be added as soon as I get better internet.

Beth x

Ps: We have now been in Budapest for a day. I have no wi-fi so pictures will come when I get that, probably in Vienna.
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