Trip Start Dec 03, 2008
Trip End Oct 14, 2009

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Our ride from Vienna to Prague was completely gorgeous. I had no idea how beautiful the Czech Republic countryside is. We went through a bunch of small villages I wish we could have gotten out at. And when we drove over the bridge into Prague we were blown away by how awesome and exciting it looked. We saw the Prague Castle up on the hill overlooking the city. All the buildings have red roof tops and are beautiful and old. The river runs right through the city and there is a lot of parks and green space.

When we arrived we had to walk a good 20 minutes to get to our hostel. It is overwhelming how great this city is (and how heavy our bags are after walking that far). We checked into our little room that looked over a courtyard. That afternoon we took a long (3 hour!) walk around the Old Town. We only had 2 whole days in Prague so this was our chance to get some stuff in so we could take our time the next couple days. It was exhausting, but well worth the walk. The city streets are laid out like a plate of spaghetti - its so hard to find your way around. All the streets are really small and narrow, all one-ways. There are so many different town squares to see and cool passages to walk through. We walked by the river, some churches, the clock tower and the astronomical clock. Tonight was another night we had no dinner. Sometimes its just too much work to go get food, and I had a bad headache so I didn't feel like going out. I think my body was telling me to slow down some. After going and going nonstop in Vienna and very little sleep, plus a 3+ hour walk around Prague that afternoon, I was done for.

That night we slept for 12 hours, no problem, so we must have needed it. When we did finally get going, we went to Charles Bridge - the most famous and oldest bridge in Prague. It was built in 1357 and was the only way to cross the river. It is filled with artists and musicians, so once we finally got across, we came into another square that took us up to the Castle. It was a lot of steps up, but I made it! We saw the changing of the guards when we got there, which was pretty cool. Still its your basic foot stomping and pivoting. We also bought tickets to get access into the castle grounds. The guy that sold us our tickets wouldn't take no for an answer, when he kept asking us if we wanted to get the audio guide. He kept repeating that there were no explanations throughout the castle and how confused we'd be. For some reason, I just didn't believe him. Glad we stuck with our gut - there were explanations all over the place - we didn't even have time to read them all. We went through the Emperor's living areas, main halls, offices, etc. We also got to see Golden Lane, which is where select skilled locals used to live and work. On our way out we saw what looked like a dungeon and went down. It was. There were a bunch of torture devices. They had iron body suits that they would put prisoners in and hang them from the ceilings. Small cages to put people in and a stretcher. I don't want to think about the stretcher. Ouch to say the least. You could also see down into the pits where they "stored" people. Creepy.

On our way back that evening to the other side of the river we came across a beer hall and went in. We came out about an hour later with our tummies full of good beer and AWESOME potato dumplings! The food here is so great! This is such a romantic city. On the way back across the bridge, there were multiple people playing music. That night we sat in the main pedmall area of the city and had sausages while sitting in front of a beautiful old building. As we were sitting there looking at it a guy walked in front of us down a small path into some bushes. he was just standing there, we could see him from the waist up and sure he was peeing. We were sitting right in front of a major intersection and I'm sure everyone knew what he was doing. Then a group of kids next to us started passing a dobbie around, so I guess the laws here are a little relaxed if all this is possible in the town square.

The next day we went to a park and hiked to the top of a lookout (well, an old fortress). It had great views over the city and the river. After that we walked down by the river and got a paddle boat at sunset. I forgot how great paddle boats are. We paddled down and got to watch the sun set behind the castle. So peaceful and wonderful here. We also went out to dinner after that at a really great family place right by our hostel. I got chicken-schnitzel and Brian got pork-potato pancakes. Both were unbelievable, and the beer is so cheap.

We also went to a few interesting museums and spent endless amounts of time wondering through the cities small streets (and getting lost). It's easy to say, Prague is one of our favorite cities yet on our entire trip. Its very magical.
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