Praga and the Culinary Marvel of Trdelnik!

Trip Start Aug 28, 2009
Trip End Dec 31, 2009

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    We left Dublin very very early the next morning. In fact, we actually had to catch a bus to the airport at 4:30am, it was really rough. But we made it to the airport and it was all worth it because we were on our way to the Czech Republic! Mary and I both literally passed out on the plane and didn't wake up until it landed in Prague. As we looked out the windows of the airplane we got our first glimpse of real snow, not just frost! We were both really excited but a little nervous about how cold it might be. It took us a little while to get from the airport to the city of Prague because we had to take a bus to the metro but once we arrived we found that the city was beautiful!
    We had directions from the metro stop to our hostel, but we didn't realize that the directions were to a different hostel at a different address where we were supposed to check in first. So we spent a long time looking for our hostel, which is unmarked in a big apartment building. We tried asking some of the locals for directions but no one seemed to speak much English, Spanish, or French! Eventually we found our way, met the man in charge of the hostel, and were shown our room. The hostel has a great view and our window looked right out onto the river which was beautiful. We got ourselves situated and relaxed for a bit then bundled up and went to discover the city.
    The man who ran the hostel gave us a map and marked a couple nice walking routes for us to take so we followed one that would take us to a Christmas Market. The market was so much fun with tons of interesting foods and cute things for sale. We spent some time there eating our favorite Czech snack, Trdelnik (which is like fried dough except wrapped around a metal bar and covered with sugar, cinnamon, and nuts), and hot wine (which is exactly what it sounds like!). It was dinnertime so we found this restaurant that was listed in Mary's travel book. We got some traditional Czech food, though we're not fully sure what it was.
    After, we kept following the directions and ended up at the main square where the famous Astronomical clock is. It was so cold that we really didn't want to stay outside for too long so we found a little cafe and got some hot chocolate. We then headed back to the hostel and walked along the river. Even though it was cold, the walk home was very very beautiful because Prague is full or amazing architecture and although it's a city it feels very homey. We went to bed early to get ready for our next full day in Prague.
    The next day we started off by crossing the river and heading towards the "new" part of town. Technically, the "new town" is actually older than "old town". The "old town" is actually a new city built on top of an old one because way back when Prague used to have lots of problems with flooding so to solve the problem they decided to bury the old city and build a new one on top of it so now Prague has this whole system of underground basements and tunnels that run underneath almost the entire place. We crossed Charles Bridge and made our way up the hill to the castle. The castle is pretty but the best part about getting up there was the views! Everything looked like it came straight out of a fairytale because it was dusted with white, sparkly snow. We went into the free parts of the castle including the cathedral but to enter the palace cost too much money. We ate lunch in that area and had our first taste of Beef Goulash, Wiener Schnitzel, and Czech beer Pilsner Urquell. The Czech Republic drinks the most beer per-capita than any other country in the world! And their beer is pretty good too!
    We then walked back across the bridge to the main square to watch the Astronomical clock chime. When it chimes these animated characters of the disciples come out like a fancy coo-coo clock. After we watched it chime we joined a tour group for an underground tour of the city. The tour took us to a small portion of the underground basements and tunnels which used to be peoples houses and streets. It was really interesting to see and learn about. From there we headed back to the hostel to rest up and we made friends with a boy who was staying in our room, Fabio. Fabio was a student from Brazil traveling through Europe. He joined us that night when we went out to our first, and only, Prague nightclub. It was a fun experience but we headed home somewhat early to get ready for our travel time to Rome the next day!
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