Pilsener, castles and crappy campgrounds...

Trip Start Jan 19, 2007
Trip End Jul 03, 2007

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

(C) I think it's funny that Sara likes Prague, even after I almost threw her in the river.  But we made up and did have the best ice cream of the trip.  Then I had a VERY profitable picture taking time at Prague castle which is completely loaded with interesting and scary gargoyles.  The people in Prague sure are strange - there's a whole element in the city center that makes you feel like you are being robbed about every minute.  We figured out how to ride the train around town - even though nobody speaks english are our Czech is pretty much non-existent.  It was Father's Day so we called our dads from a payphone and then found a really great Internet cafe (maybe one of the best on the whole trip) where you could get a beer, work on their computers or use wireless, and there was a bookstore too.  We closed the place down, had several beers, and then went back to our super sketchy campground, which is full of eastern europeans who really don't wear enough clothes.

In the morning, we packed up to leave for Poland, but not before stopping in town for some good old Kentucky Fried Chicken, and then getting lost again because our great map doesn't include any of the new highways.

(S) My thought for the day: It would seem German border guards are a tad more dilligent than their Czech counterparts.

Of course, I had just a "couple more things" I wanted to see in Berlin - like more Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, and the Topography of Terror. Therefore, we didn't leave Berlin quite when we wanted to and were crossing the border at dark. This, however, was NOT our problem for the day. Our problem was our passports were stamped on Feb. 2 and this is June, and in Europe, there exists a little thing called the Schengen Treaty visa agreement. This means we can only spend 3 months TOTAL in any of the the signatory countries. We may or may not have overstayed this a bit. The extremely efficient German woman at the border seemed to think she caught us, demanded the rental agreement for the car, put us through about 20 minutes of sweating terror, and then threw the passports at the Czech guard, who was wearing a faded rock band t-shirt of some kind. He rolled his eyes, barely glanced at our pictures, threw a stamp on them, and we were on our way to Prague!

I don't think we've mentioned it thus far, but we don't really have a map for this portion of our journey. We have been operating since the end of May on a pre-fall of Communism map our friends in Bavaria kindly gave us. The map does a great job for former West Germany, lesser so for the former East Germany, and nicht sehr gut for all the Communist bloc countries where we were now headed. Needless to say, I bitch about this map every time my travel partner so kindly inquires where in the hell we are. A good, post Communism map would have come in handy for our drive to Prague. Oh well...

We finally made it to the outskirts of the city, only to drive through, across, up, down, and beside Prague, looking for our campground. Our usually invaluable European Camping book, which has not lead us astray yet, was cursed and thrown in the back seat. Same went for Lonely Planet. We found A campground, not the one we were looking for, and managed to pitch our tent in the middle of a stick and rock farm.

We woke up, and in the daylight moved our tent across the campground. While I showered, Chad busted out the needle and thread and fixed the door of the tent. He pretty much HATES bugs in the tent and the small hole in the door had created a superhighway to his sleeping bag. Funny how I'm the only one who gets bit though...

On our way to Prague, we made the best decision of our trip (ok, that might be an exageration, but it's me). We decided to not go into any museums or churches or castles, and instead to simply explore the city, drop into restaurants when we were hungry, slip into cool bars when we needed a beer, sit at an outdoor cafe when we needed ice cream. It worked beautifully. We didn't see the inside of a single Lonely Planet listed sight, but had the best ice cream with strawberries near the Malostranske nam (a square in the Mala Strana - little quarter). We listened to (and I winked at) street performers on the Charles Bridge, we wandered around the ramparts of the castle and took 1000 pictures of the city and each other.

I admit, I am a Prague liker. Not a Prague lover, but definitely like it. I don't understand why everyone says they have the best beer (they do NOT - but that's for a later entry) and the Czech people are just a bit odd, but the city is beautiful.

Sara out.
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