Bohemian like you

Trip Start Feb 18, 2004
Trip End Dec 05, 2005

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Thursday, July 29, 2004

The stories you may have heard about Czech women being very attractive...ya, they're true. Lovely ladies there. My chin was probably dragging all over those dirty sidewalks. Yes, I know, I need to work on getting pics of me with these ladies. Yada, yada, yada. Anyway, I met up with my friend, John [aka, Teeter], in Prague July 17. He was in Germany for work the week prior so got an extra week of vacation to hang out. Our first couple days there we pretty much just went out and saw the sights - castle, Charles Bridge, Old Town, etc... Lots of great architecture in Prague. Oh, and it was finally sunny and rather hot. The hostel we were at was central so made it easy to get places, but it was also noisy. Weekends tend to have British stag and hen parties, and those Brits get a bit noisy when they've been drinking. One of the nights, we went to a bar next to the hostel that was cool - you walk downstairs and there's just one room after another (like old brick tunnels). There was a Brit stag party going on there, so we had to hide in back. Prices in the Czech Republic are much better than Western Europe - you can get a good meal for $4-6 and a beer at a bar for $1. Some tourist things are still expensive though (castle entrance fee $8).

Charles Bridge at dawn

Monday we took a bus down to Czesky Krumlov a few hours south. It's a small town with a castle/chateau on the Vltava River. The hostel we stayed at there was cool and had a terrace in the sun to hang out at. Good place for meeting other travellers. There wasn't any need to go out to bars in the evening 'cuz it was better just hanging out there. We wandered the town the first day and went on a canoe ride on the river the second day. We found the town to be very relaxing. The second evening there was a cool lightning storm and eventually rain (so we had to retreat inside).

canoeing in CK

Wednesday came (my birthday) and I was quite disappointed to be leaving Czesky Krumlov. The atmosphere at the hostel was fun and we'd already met several people. Anyway, we took the gloriously fun bus ride back to Prague and checked into a different hostel than before. John and I wandered around the area a bit then went back to the hostel to hang out. We met a guy from Denmark and a couple British girls so went out to bars with them. We ended up at the largest dance club in Central Europe (it's next to Charles Bridge). It normally has 5 floors with different music, but only 3 were open that night. It was 3 floors of cheesey/bad music with most people being under 20. Not great, but it was ok. We stayed out 'til around 3am.
We moved to yet another hostel in Prague where we had our own room. This one didn't really have a common area for meeting people though. John just wanted to relax in the hot, humid room so I took the train to Karlstejn Castle. It was cool. Did a little tour too. We went out to one of the top-rated clubs in Prague (Roxy) that evening. It was dead there...maybe 15 people. We stayed 'til 12:30am and figured it wasn't going to get any better so called it a night.
Friday we took the train to Kutna Hora with a stop along the way in the town of Kolín for lunch. It was just a little town so the restaurant didn't have menus in English. We just guessed at something off the menu and the waitress was asking us some question in Czech which we couldn't comprehend (I asked in Czech if she speaks English and she said no). So we waited and hoped we got something normal. Luckily, we picked good...and got french fries on the side (which I think is the question she was asking). After lunch, we made it to Kutna Hora. Our first stop was the Sedlec Ossuary to see all the bones made into chandeliers, pyramids and such. After that, we just wandered around town a bit then went back to Prague. That night we wandered aimlessly a bit looking for somewhere to go and ended up at an Irish pub in Old Town. We met some nice Irish girls there (place was loaded with Brits and Irish).

Kutna Hora

Next day (July 24) was off to Dresden, Germany. We got checked into the hostel then did a quick tour around town. Dresden was heavily bombed during WWII, but some of the old buildings by the river are still intact (and pretty). Our hostel was in a trendy area of town so we just went out there in the evening. No late night or nothing as we had to be up early. Had to adjust back to the €uro currency too - no more cheap food and drinks. There seemed to be a lot of drunk Germans screaming and putting on scenes...maybe it's an East Germany thing.

Sunday morning I saw John off at the train station as he departed for the airport. It was nice to have him around the last week. Having someone else to go to restaurants and out on the town with is always a plus. I took the train to Berlin and did a quick little tour by bus of some of the sights (Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, etc...). Berlin is big. It's weird to think that 15 years ago I wouldn't have been able to travel freely from my hostel to the western area. Had to wander by Siegessäule (golden angel statue)...I pulled out my i-Pod and played U2's song "stay" since it was filmed at the statue. I thought that was neat.

victory angel

Of course there are other sights in Berlin that have music connections - the Wall and Pink Floyd, riding the U2 to Zoologisch Garten (aka, Zoo Station). I went out on a pubcrawl that was advertised at the hostel that evening. Met some fellow travellers and a couple German girls. I thought it more interesting talking to the Germans (and they were pretty). They grew up in East Berlin so I asked them about the wall coming down, but they were young and only remember it a little and didn't realize the significance of the event. They did say their parents are much better off now than then. One of the bars we went to was in at the top of an old building and had like a wall gone with a rail there so you could overlook the was cool. We ended at a dance club way out from the center of town and I ended up having a long walk home (daylight was coming on as I went to bed).
The return to Germany has also been the return to gray and rainy weather. Monday I started by checking out the "Eastside Gallery" - a section of the wall painted with murals. It's weird to think of East Berlin referred to as the "eastside". Things change. Then I went out to Potsdam and strolled around their park area where the palaces are. The rain was coming and going then poured down, but I had my umbrella. Skies cleared a bit by the time I got back into Berlin. Had dinner and went out by Museum Island to hear the Dido concert (you can sit across the river and hear it for free).
Tuesday was a long day of walking and seeing sights like Reichstag (inside) and Checkpoint Charlie (plus lots of other stuff). Berlin is unusual for cities that I've visited in that it has so much recent history (WWII, the wall, reunification). I think that's kind of cool 'cuz I know more about that era and have memories of some of the events.

Wednesday I took the train up to Hamburg and immediately went off to the town of Lubeck. It was an alright place. Quite a few churches with big steeples. Yet another town with a lot of pedestrian shopping.


Back to Hamburg to explore around. The Rathaus is one of the better ones I've seen and their St Nicholas church is cool (remnants of church after WWII bombing). I wandered to the Reeperbahn area and checked it out...very interesting. Back to hostel for an early night as I haven't been getting enough sleep as of late.

Next it's off north to Denmark (possible Legoland excursion Thursday night).
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