Practically Cousins in Praha
Trip Start Dec 08, 2010
29Trip End Dec 24, 2010
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Where I stayed
Trams/metro: I got a 24-hour pass for 110 Kc (about $6) for the use of all public transport in Prague. This was a very good purchase, as I hopped on & off constantly throughout the day & night! The ticket machines only take coins, though, so I had to break my 200 at a shop. Bought a bottle of water for 15 kc ($1.50) but the woman at the desk was NOT thrilled. Sorry, but until your ATMs give out smaller bills than 500s and you re-locate to a non-tourist-jammed area, you should probably stock up on change! The metro is your standard underground subway system, but with less signage, absolutely nothing in English, and a confusing letter/color system distinguishing exits & transfers
Old buildings: Prague is incredibly beautiful. Countless pastel buildings with intricate ornamentation around the windows, doors, eves, etc. Massive doors with carved handles, statues looking down on passersby, and floral hanging baskets draped from balconies—I could never take enough pictures! I can see why the city was spared a lot of destruction during the wars--- it really is a fairytale city. Old town square, the astronomical clock (saw the trumpet player come out at noon), Charles Bridge (amazing views of the city), Prague Castle… all absolutely fabulous.
Street food: Hot cinnamon-roll rings (will look up what they’re called), fried cheese on a bun (think mozzarella stick in a patty form) – so yummy but inspired a run on the second day!
Weather: Apparently I brought it from London with me…
Czech culture: I need to learn more about the traditions & beliefs associated with the Czech people. Puppets, art, and absinthe shops seem to be common.
Nightlife: I’m spoiled in London… not a fan of Prague clubs. It could be that I was very tired and not in the same mental state as others in the club, but there was literally NO door policy at this place. Guys had to pay a little, but no dress code or standards for apparel, behavior or intoxication, apparently. Absolutely shocking what some women were wearing and the "gansta with sunglasses" look seemed acceptable on men. Also, SMOKING is allowed in the club—I remember this briefly still being ok when I started college, but seriously, catch up Prague… not cool. I felt sick after about an hour. The low-class, brazen self-prostitution of women in the club also took me aback. To borrow Jenna’s words, I wanted to make sure they were ok and didn’t need help getting somewhere safe
Traces of communism: The Soviet radio tower with black babies crawling up the side is very weird-looking and freaky. I need to research it a bit more, but I believe it has something to do with communist oppression and how they treated the Czech people. The city itself seems trapped in time and years behind the U.S. in infrastructure and culture. Other than a few obviously wealthy individuals, men and women seemed to be dressed like it’s 1995. Seeing Starbucks in Prague seems very, very out of place.Other notes: Bought a camera, as my old one was on its last life and the price was right.
Radio tower: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%BDi%C5%BEkov_Television_Tower
Friday. Day 2.
Woke up very late, as we had gone to bed around 4:30 am (hello sunrise and chirping birds!). Went for a "run" while waiting for everyone to wake up. However, as I somehow got eaten alive by mosquitoes the first night, I became so itchy immediately and couldn’t really run. I got my heart-rate up at a slow jog and then did a powerwalk/jog combination for about 30 minutes
For the afternoon, Jenna & I decided to check out the KGB museum, a small personal collection on display in the touristy Prague 1 area. I’ve always been fascinated with spies and the website promised some communist & Prague history. It was a bit costly for such a small museum (180 kc), but the oddity of it all was worth it in the end! A strange Russian man who clearly has some connection with the organization he’s showing off gave the tour. It started with him handing me a small machine gun, putting a KGB officer cap on my head, and grabbing my camera for a picture. The whole thing was pretty kooky but I wasn’t about to cross this guy! The museum contains a lot of uniforms, weapons, communication devices (phones, radios, etc.), spy gear, and pictures. There is also an exhibit on the labor camps and Lenin’s “death mask” —very creepy. Vladamir Putin’s picture is on the wall too. I might be interested in spies, but I would never, ever want to be on the wrong side of an operation and I am very glad I was born in America
Jenna took me to the bus station and waited with me until I boarded & departed. Seriously, it’s like we’re actually cousins who have always known each other—had an amazing time and enjoyed the company of an incredibly grounded, funny, kind individual! I really hope we keep in touch and cross paths again sometime. Thanks for everything Jenna!!
Passing through farm fields beside the highway, 3 more hours til Vienna…