Here in Karlovy Vary

Trip Start Sep 24, 2006
Trip End Sep 01, 2007

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Thursday, November 9, 2006

Well I have been in Karlovy Vary for almost 2 weeks so thought I should write a little about the place. Since I was going to be here for awhile I thought I would let my thoughts about the place sink in before I wrote about it. I find no words can say it better than an extract from 'Karlovy Vary' Step by Step "a famous mand once said that he had a very specilal feeling in Karlovy Vary and that every day was a holiday here. This feeling is intensified by small but typical pieces of Karlovy Vary mosaic.. beautiful architecture, promenanding visitors, the mixture of foreign languages, the endless rhythmical pulsing of the Sprudel, the murmur of the mineral springs and thier hot breath, the sweet smell of wafers, the tunes of the spa orchestra and the omnipresent genius of the place." People promenade while drinking the special mineral laden/carbondioxide water from one of 13 natural healing springs. But they also promenade to sightsee, people arm in arm, not what we see in NA too much. Most Russian tourists wear the latest fashions - boots, pants to the knee, jackets with fur hoods, bgs,all very chic. Needless to say, I am not of that ilk, but fortunately there are enough that wear jeans and goretex as well, to make me not stand out. In fact, people regularly ask me for directions in Russian or Czech so I do blend in. Iasked a hosteller in my Prague hostel if people approach her for directions and she said never.
I haven't actually heard the 'spa orchestra' but I did walk by a hotel on Sat. night and could see people ballroom dancing to a live band. And the foreign languages are mainly Russian as there are busloads of tourists every day from Prague and as well most guests are Russian in the hotels. I have not had any sustained conversation with anyone since I got here, as most English is rudimentary and only spoken by staff. I went to a movie on Sat night "The Sentinel" with Czech subtitles. The write up was only in Czech,and it starred Michael Douglas, Kim Basinger, Donald Sutherland soI thought it would be a good thing to see. Turns out I had seen it, and it almost came to pass they didn't show it as their policy is they needed at least 10 people and at 7;29 there were only 8 or so. But a couple more wandered in it wasn't a wasted effort. Cost $4.
I thought Iwould stay put for awhile to get a rest from lugging my backpack every couple of days so now I am gearing up to get back on the road on Sunday. I am bussing to Prague (2 1/2 hours, $6) arriving 2:30 and my train to Krakow Poland is at 8:15 at night, 8.5 hours, with a sleeper, $60, arriving at 5:44 Mon. a.m. Don't really like arriving in a new place in the dark but it saves a night in a hostel. i will spend a few days there while I wait to go backto Riga, Latvia where i will take a ship toStockholm, Sweden, to visit relatives. I am tryingto book the ship going Nov. 22 and returning Nov. 28 as it is off season there is only one going and coming every week and I have to call rather than book on internet, and the phone number I had was wrong. The hotel staff have helped me find another number. although I have a phone in my room it is cheaper to use the pay phones outside with a calling card as even with the calling card from my room it is a lot for 'phone set up'.
I can watch CNN and fortunately it has been interesting with gear up and now the results to the US mid term election. Also never any shortage of bombing it appears in Israel and Palestine. Lots of interesting looking Czech and German programs one is an American Idol type which includes the same music lead in as the US American Idol which I found interesting. There also is Family Court.
Not too excited about the food - heavy on meat and short on vegetables so I self cater from the grocery store. Very cheapfood. In fact one could eat out with a beer for about $6.00. Had a tour of the Becherovka liqueuer distillery. This is the Czech national drink, they do export to NA but to very few markets. It is a healing 'bitter' like tonic and tastes pretty good if served the way it is to be served - chilled. Itis similar to Jaegermeister, which was launched in Latvia while Iwas there. Would appreciate it if you could let me know if either of these sound familiar?
Anyway, this is all for now. Will update from Krakow -there's something to be said for hostels - always English speakers around and I miss conversation!!!! Good thing I talk to myself a lot, probably way to much now! By the way, karlovy Vary is near the German border on the west side of Czech Rep. the map pin isn't recognizing the IP address from here.
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