Czeching out Prague

Trip Start Mar 03, 2013
Trip End Apr 28, 2013

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Friday, March 29, 2013

The flight into Prague was very fast. It took less than two hours and we were back to back winter. Jan met us at the airport and walked us through all the pay parking lots to were he had parked for free in front of a hotel. He loaded our luggage on top of some Ikea bags filled with laundry and we were on our way. He taught me some Czech on our twenty-five minute drive into the city. Nemloven cheski means I don't speak Czech. Very useful!
The city makes a great first impression. We arrived in the late late afternoon light and it was easy to see why this city is known as the prettiest in Europe. The architecture is similar to other places: Dutch colonial, French, etc. but the details and the colours make it stand out, as does the use of gold paint to accent statues and certain architectural details. Arriving at our apartment, we were introduced to a four key flat: one each for the front door, elevator, gate for the top floor, and apartment door. We also discovers that this location was superb. Across the street from the Four Seasons, with a market right next door and one block from the ever entertaining Charles bridge. The exchange rate also proved very favorable at about 25 to 1. Basically, if you know where to go, you can eat out for the same price as eating in in other European countries. Three eggs with ham for 59kr? Fruit muesli with milk for 29kr? The most expensive part is coffee at 80kr for a latte or cappuccino. If you are not good at math, that translates to $8.32 for two breakfasts with coffees. And did I mention the taste of the food? We haven't tried anything that wasn't delicious, from corner store chocolates to market foods to pubs to restaurants. It's comfort food heaven!
Back on track, we met up with Cara and Corrine at the Charles bridge around 7pm to have dinner. Their hostel had advised them that 200kr was a decent price for dinner. Most places around Wenceslas square want 300-500, but we were convinced to try an upstairs (hence, off the square) place that used the same kitchen as their downstairs neighbour. For 1600kr ($64), we had goulash with dumplings, potato pancakes, other traditional foods (chicken and a butcher's plate like a mixed grill), cabbage, two bottles of wine, and two hot raspberry desserts. We left warm and full, although the service was a bit lacking. We took a short walk through the dark streets of Prague and noticed how well lot the beautiful places are. This also adds to the citiy's reputation: monuments are beautifully lit all night! The girls continued on for a night of touring while Gord and I retired early. The next day, Gord and I explored on our own. We found a popular tourist trap tour: a topless 1929 Ford Model A. Happy Gord! It was fun but not as educational or as long as the free walking tours. Still, as my leg is still problematic and Gord loves cars, it was a great option for us. After the tour, we explored the square and the streets. We wandered down to the river when Gord suggested a river cruise, but we opted for more walking. Found ourselves in the national concert hall (?) which was pretty cool. Then we went back to the apartment to research car options. The four seasons hotel said rental cars could only be arranged at the train station or the airport, so we booked with budget online for a pick up from the train station. Gord researched how to get there, and we messaged the girls about a ten am meeting time. Then Gord and I walked across the Charles bridge while it was still light and explored that side of the river. We found a lovely traditional restaurant that, despite us not having a reservation for Good Friday, still let us have a table. We had traditional green beer, which I quite liked, and a skewer of meat on a sword, which I really enjoyed. Despite being stuffed, we couldn't resist dessert: Gord had apple streudel and I had red wine soaked pears on mascarpone with lime sherbet. Yumm! Then it was back across the bridge at night, which was lovely, and home for an early night.

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