Day 1 & 2 - Muddaland arrival and first full days
Trip Start Jul 21, 2010
17Trip End Aug 26, 2010
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So we get to the Prague airport and it dawns on me that we haven't researched how to say ANYTHING ... other than "Dobre den" for good-day and "Ya tche mil oo yew" (or something like it) to say I love you ... and both of these were taught to me by my grandparents when I was a kid. Airport signs lead us nowhere helpful until we see the dumb-American-English versions ... and we find our way to a super nice cab driver that we've arranged thru the apartment rental place (highly recommend! prague-stay.com if you ever come this way). Curly hair'd Tom is a genuinely nice and friendly guy and once he has heard our story of coming back to the Czech republic and our grandfather's war stories from WW2, he says over and over again, from a deeply genuine place, "Welcome home. Welcome home. And thank you. Thank you for what your family did. Without your grandfather and others like him, we wouldn't be here. Really. Welcome home." It was really neat
He takes us to our apartment ... in a gorgeous building right in the dead center of town. A very narrow street, a ginormous old wooden door, and a 24hr doorman greet us as we make our way to the 3rd floor. We will stay here one night (I screwed up on the original reservations) and then will walk two blocks to another apartment where we will be for a week before we return again to this building (in a different apartment) so that we can be in the same building as our family who is staying with us. Phew!
The apartment is amazing. Particulary coming from NYC ... this is like just ... wow. A super nice taxi driver who refuses a tip, a spacious and comfortably cool apartment, with restaurants all around us. Its great. ... Its about 10:30pm and we are all beat from the trip, but also famished so we run out and grab a quick bite to eat at the local italian joint (one of twenty + nearby) ... a pizza and salad there ... and another pizza to take back to the apartment with us. :)
We got a little 'lost' our first night in the city ... just wandering around more than lost ... and we felt safe. Lots of people of all types, but all tourists
Wake up around 10:00am ... cruise the city for a nice little breakfast and my first Czech beer. YES! ... Its the offical day of Sam's bday and its cheaper than water so ... bottoms up! ... Sam and Ella are so cute in the cafe, interacting with Uncle Simon and finally starting to feel better. Its wonderful. ... A frenchman who ate by himself and was busy on his cell phone as we ate came up to our table and was going on and on in French and broken English about how beautiful Ella is. As he left he turned to Sam and layed on the compliments as well. ... Afterwards Ella started cracking up laughing and said, "Sam! He called you a croissant!" (he actually said 'garcon'!) ha. So funny and cute. Love that girl.
Outside, in front of the cafe, a farmers market of sorts, albeit super super touristy ..
Ooooh. Which reminds me. Where are we staying? my mom asked. Here are links with a map and photos and everything. The photos don't quite do it justice. We got a great deal, right in the center of everything.
Night 1: http://prague-stay.com/accommodation/apartment/107-contemporary-apartment
Night 2 - 8: http://prague-stay.com/accommodation/apartment/210-two-bedroom-electric-apartment
Night 9 - 15: http://prague-stay.com/accommodation/apartment/135-old-town-deluxe-apartment
Hrmmmm.... so, after breakfast we located our next apartment building, then went and got our bags and took em to the new place. Turns out the new building's first floor is a restaurant, then 4 floors of a hostel, then the top floor is two nice aparments (our's being one of them). Again, has a 24hr doorman ... and the apartment is great.
We get settled in to our new pad (where we will be about a week) ... and did ... well, a whole lotta nuthing really. We rested, Janice went to the supermarket and farmersmarket thing with Simon and got some basic food / snack stuff for the apartment, I worked a bit. Later in the evening, we decided to czech out (dumb awesome pun) a nearbyish restaurant that our cab driver Tom had suggested. He said it was legit local food, and a place that Czech locals would actually eat at! So, we headed over.
Outside was a menu we couldn't understand a word of. I mean, NOTHING. Its not like Spanish or French where you've seen some of the words before or you can take off an 'O' and get the meaning ... these words are TOTALLY different. So, since none of us were starving, we figured it would be a good time to try to track down a English / Czech dictionary. Adventure time! Strangely, no book stores around. I pop in to a local kinko's type place and the guys working on a design point me in the direction of a local mall. We find it eventually, a 5-story, compact mall ... and eventually a bookstore. Simon bought Samuel his first Harry Potter book ... (which he didn't set down the rest of the night!!) ... then back to the restaurant ... Lokal. ... Of course, as soon as we sit down to order and the waiter sees us struggling with the menu, he brings us out English versions
Good food. Not amazing, but a good vibe, ... not uber-touristy like everywhere else ... friendly waiter ... more beer ... some absynth ... our first dumplings ... we will definately come back when the rest of the family gets here.
** Day 2
Poor Janice couldn't sleep last night. Totally sucked. Didn't actually sleep until it was light, around 6am. DOH! ... So, more resting for us! ...
Today is the day that our family living in Denmark arrives! My cousin Christina and her husband Thoger so we figured we'd chill and rest up until they get here ... ... but ... doh! Plane delay of 2 hours! ... SOOOoooooo .... on we go to my Sam B-Day surprise! He was still feeling sick yesterday, but today he is well enough to do it. And the clouds seem to be gathering (forecast of rain for next 5 days) ... so today it is!
Off to the subway (much cleaner than NYC and very easy to use) ..
Oh, which reminds me. Its so stinking quiet here. Even in the town center with all the partying and throngs of people and music in the shops. Its just peaceful. I couldn't quite figure it out, but Simon suggested it was because there were no cars. I think he was right. What a better world it would be without all that noise pollution we all live with every day. Yuck.
Anyhow, on we walked, asking locals for help here and there and they in very broken English helped us find our way to ..... Prague Bobsleigh !!!!! http://www.bobovadraha.cz/
A few raindrops on the way, but we are undeterred. Everybody's energy is feeling good and the kids are healthy ... its great. Total Eastern-European feel to the place. Everybody was friendly. We bought a ten run pass for the family to share
Another beer. Time to head back to Prague. ... Along with our apartments, we received two cell phones with some free time on them! Christina and Thoger have called us and have arrived ... so back to the town center we go to meet up.
Once we meet up with Christina and Thoger, we are all famished and stop in at the most expensive meal we've had here thusfar, Indian cuisine. Good stuff. Overpriced, but good. Its great to catch up in person with Christina, and her self-proclaimed-nerd husband Thoger (studying astronomer) is a ton of fun too ...
For those of you who have been wondering how Simon is doing with the food situation ... the answer is easy ... Great! He ate Indian curry, a spicy chicken and rice combo, ... and has found a great sandwich baguette place nearby that he wants to hit up again. I think it was a cheese and pesto sandwich he got the first time. : )
We walk the square, get some ice cream, go find the Jewish Cemetary, scout out the castle, get molested by bridge moths, settle in for two rounds of beer, watch some fireworks, and walk The Charles Bridge, before we head back. Janice and I do anyhow ... Christina and Thoger are in their natural timezone though, so they keep soldiering on ... .... ....
And now ... time for bed! A great day! ... this beer thing ... is growing on me!