Days 100 to 102 - Doing it cheap in Czech Republic

Trip Start May 31, 2013
Trip End Oct 16, 2013

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Tuesday, September 10, 2013

8 September

Had a nice relaxing morning in Dresden as we weren't being picked up until 11.30am. Unfortunately, being a Sunday, most of the shops were closed so we just had to muck around the hostel until the bus arrived. After another short journey (enjoying this leg at the moment) we arrived in the beautiful, fast-moving, architectural melting pot that is Prague. We were quite excited for this stop, as so many of the guides had mentioned it as one of their favourite places!
We checked in to Plus Prague, a huge hostel about 10 minutes outside of the city, but with so many facilities you hardly needed to leave. Table tennis, pool, restaurant, bar, daily BBQ, swimming pool, sauna and very cheap beer. We began to see why people love Prague. We had heard that supposedly beer is cheaper than water here and it was true! 15-30 czech crowns ($1.30-1.70) for a beer (and drinkable beer at that), 25-40 ($1.60 - $2.50) for a bottle of water. In the best interests of our budget, we stuck with beer.
The weather was forecast to pack in over the next few days so we decided to make the most of the fine afternoon and check out the Old Town. We caught a tram in with our new friends Lauren and Morgan (from West Auckland) and began exploring the city. Due to a lot of different history, rulers and ongoing development here in Prague, every building is built in a different style, standing side by side with one another. You'd think it would be quite ugly, but it works here and actually looks very cool, as well as providing a lot to look at and photograph. We walked along the rivers edge and looked over to the huge Prague Castle, which sits high above the city and is also made up of many buildings in different styles. We walked past the famous 'Charles Bridge', the oldest bridge in Prague then headed on to find a bar. The city isn't too big, so within a few hours we had seen what we wanted to and decided we needed a few beers. We were told that in the Czech Republic everyone drinks beer, but women drink dark beer and men drink light beer. If a man is caught drinking dark beer, he will supposedly grow man boobs. Needless to say, Brendan and Morgan stuck with the light and Lauren and I, the dark. Turns out the dark beer was actually far better than the light and Brendan did seem a little jealous.
We headed back to the hostel around 7pm and found a great (cheap) little Asian place for dinner. We could already see that we were going to love the Czech Republic and would be able to make good ground on our budget. EVERYTHING is cheap. Obviously some places are more expensive than others but still cheap, and we managed to get a full dinner for 158 crowns, roughly $10. Looking forward to the next few days!!

Night from us
Lauren and Brendan xx

9 September

We decided to do the free walking tour (our favourite activity) this morning. The temperature had definitely dropped and the rain was lingering, so we dressed up warm and went all the same. We ended up with an Australian guide who had lived in Prague for 2 years, chasing a Czech girl, to no avail, but stayed as he loved the city so much. He took us on another informative walk around the Old Town and explained all of the important history, buildings and people of the area. The tour started under the astronomical clock in the main square, built in the 1400's by a famous clock maker. It is really beautiful and displays the time, seasons, years and the zodiac all on the one clock face. Every hour when the clock strikes it performs a show, complete with bells, whistles, the 12 apostles and a golden rooster. Because it is so beautiful, when it was created it brought a lot of tourism and therefore economy to the area. The rulers of Prague wanted to ensure that this man would never make anything so beautiful again, or else they might risk losing their tourist industry. They therefore invited him to a banquet, gouged out his eyes and cut out his tongue, so that he would never be able to see or tell anyone how to make something so exquisite. In order to avenge these people, the creator got his friends to lead him up the stairs to where the workings of the clock were enclosed. He then threw himself into the foundations, breaking the clock and wedging himself between the gears. Once his body was removed, seeing as no-one was as clever as he was, the clock remained broken for another 200 years. Finally it was able to be fixed and has run to exact time ever since. The rest of the tour took us to many other interesting places and provided us with great stories about 'the coming to be' of Prague.
The tour finished just after lunch so Lauren, Morgan, Brendan and I went to find a traditional Czech restaurant so that we could try some of the dishes we had been recommended. We had a mixture of beef with cream and dumplings, and pork goulash with dumplings. Dumplings being a bread like thing, and cream meaning whipped cream. They were interesting, but not sure if we would go back for seconds!
The tour didn't take us to the Castle so we walked over the Charles Bridge to check it out ourselves. We had a nice wander around the buildings, through the many arch ways, beyond the Cathedrals and into the gardens, where we found amazing views over the city. After taking our pictures we headed back to the tram and made our way to the hostel. After our heavy lunch we all went to the supermarket and brought salads, fruit and a few more drinks for dinner.

Off to bed for us now
Love to all xx

10 September

Happy Birthday Rose!!! Can't believe you are 21 now, time really does fly. We hope you have an absolutely wonderful day and obviously wish we could be there to celebrate with you. At least you can now have a birthday month and celebrate when we get home too. Love ya xx

Well, what did we do today??? Not a lot to be honest, so not much to report. The rain finally came, so after a morning of skyping Rose, catching up on our blog, playing table tennis and enjoying a sausage from the BBQ, we retreated back inside our room and spent the afternoon watching breaking bad online. Guess you need days like this every now and then and it was nice to just cut the pace for a while and enjoy a quiet day.
Needless to say, I did get a little bored but managed my time by wandering around the hostel, floor to floor, wishing I could be home for just one day to give Rose a birthday hug and enjoy a delicious birthday meal with family and friends.
After I got over that, Brendan and I had our own special birthday dinner of a crap chicken salad and chicken roll out of the vending machine. To cheer things up we headed over to the hostel bar, played a few games of pool and had a few beers with Lauren and Morgan.

On the bus in the morning to our next stop, Cesky Krumlov. One place we have heard only good things about and are really really looking forward to.

Chat to you from there
Us xx
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