Czech me out!

Trip Start Aug 17, 2009
Trip End Jul 20, 2010

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Friday, November 27, 2009

A weekend off and away was definitely needed, and nothing could be better than 3 days in the Czech Republic. I can honestly say I'm in love with Prague, probably more than Krakow, and I loved Krakow.  Sahara, Alisia, Carolin and I only got to spend a day in Prague, but it was fantastic and I can’t wait to go back and see more. 

Our train left Vienna at 5:50 Friday morning, unfortunately we weren’t on it.  Yep, missed the train.  Oops.  The plan had been to meet at 5 am, but by 5:15 we were still missing Alisia.  After knocking on her door and ringing the bell for several minutes we finally got her up, she never heard her alarm.  Sahara and I decided to leave and the other 2 were going to meet up with us at the hostel, so off we ran it to the metro and then to the train station.  Unbeknownst to us, the station is under construction and we ended up not being able to find our way inside.  We started out going the wrong way, but finally spotted a woman with a suitcase heading the other way.  She looked like she knew what she was doing, so we followed her into the back side of the train station and then headed up onto platform 19.  Unfortunately as we were jogging down platform 19 to go around to our platform we watched our train pull away without us.  So we headed for the ticket office and purchased tickets on the next train, which thankfully only left an hour later, and we ended up meeting Alisia and Carolin while we were waiting, so we all arrived in Prague together.

After figuring out the Prague metro system and getting our 24-hour passes we finally arrived on the street for our hostel.  The directions had all warned us that the hostel was a little hard to find and that we would have to go "through the café," but once we got there is was still so confusing and the street was under construction, so we couldn’t even get to the call box to page the hostel.  Thankfully the one of the café waiters stuck his head out and said “Hostel?”  YES!! 

Our hostel was in a primo location, just steps from the Charles Bridge, which is the oldest bridge across the Vltava River.  Unfortunately the hostel was on the 3rd floor up a winding staircase inside aforementioned café.  Just a little difficult to get to, but it was cute, the people running it were so helpful, it was central to everything, cheep, and, as an added bonus, since we were inside a restaurant, there were security guards at night for the restaurant, which also meant guards for us, so we felt very safe!

Once settled in to our hostel we headed out for some lunch and found an adorable restaurant down the street a ways where we had coffee, soup, entrée and dessert for about 180kr, or about $10.  We also got free shots of plum liquor for after dinner and roses from our waiter!

After a relaxing lunch we headed out to do our sightseeing.  Since we were only in Prague for the day we needed to make sure to hit the highpoints, so clearly the Castle and St Vitus Cathedral were musts, as was Staromestske Namesti, which is the old square on the east side of the river.  We started out going across Charles Bridge, which is renowned for all the statues that line it, which were placed during the Counter-Reformation.   Sadly the bridge is undergoing some rehabilitation right now, so there was scaffolding all over the place.  The bridge is also known for all the vendors selling, usually, handmade jewelry and paintings.  It’s pretty touristy, but it was still great.  Once across the bridge it was up, up, up to the castle hill and St. Vitus Cathedral.  We didn’t go into the castle, money and time restrictions, but we did walk around the grounds and went into St. Vitus, which is beautiful inside!  There was also a concert or something going on when we walked in which we caught the tail end of, very lovely inside the large cathedral.

Climbing down from the hill we headed for the square in Stare Mesto, the old town.   They were setting up the Christmas Market when we got there, which, alas, opened the next night.  But we did get to watch them testing the lights on the big tree in the center of the square.  Since it’s the Christmas season all the cafés, pubs, and restaurants have special side windows or tables set up where you can purchase a glass of hot wine or punch, and with it comes a piece of spice cake.  So we found one of the windows off the square, purchased our drinks and then headed over to the Astronomical Clock on the edge of the square to await the chimes.  Every hour the clock chimes and has a little performance which features Christ and the Apostles.  It was very cute, although somewhat less impressive than I was expecting.

Afterwards we meandered around Stare Mesto, took some pictures and returned to our hostel.  We were all very tired from the early morning and the other girls wanted to go out to a club that night, so they deemed a nap was in order.  We slept for a few hours before getting up and grabbing some Czech street food from one of the vendors along Wenceslas Square and heading over to mingle with the locals at, what I’m told, is the largest club in Eastern Europe.  Whatever.  Had fun dancing the Macarena on one of those light-up floors though.  We returned to the hostel late and tried to get in a few hours of sleep before we had to be up and off to catch our bus to Cesky Krumlov.

As you can see, I didn’t have time to do very much, so I’m very ready to return to Prague whenever anyone wants to go with me!  The Czech’s are very nice and helpful and the city was just gorgeous.  I could easily spend more time there.
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