A chronicle of Alison and Ron's trip around the world in 2009-2010.


"Not all those who wander are lost"
- Tolkien

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Prague

We headed to the Dublin airport and bought the next reasonably priced ticket to Europe which turned out to be headed to Prague in the Czech Republic.

We got to Prague city center after midnight and had a tough time navigating to our hotel. Luckily one nice guy that was being pulled over in his car (the police were not at all helpful) directed us close enough so that a person in a bar got us all the way there. Unfortunately our hotel reception was closed and we had to go the hotel across the street to find out that our floor had a water damage problem and we would have to spend the night there. But fortunately, the next day the room was ready and we were upgraded to a suite for the same price and even allowed to book the room two extra nights. Also with free breakfast and internet thrown in we got a great deal at $44 a night! We shouldn’t get too used to this luxury…
Ron is in heaven in Prague. He is in love with the gothic architecture and historical monuments and has been taking pictures almost constantly since we got here. I can’t blame him, although a 20 min stroll turns into 2 hours, but the city is beautiful and picturesque. We spent both days walking the city and visiting the Old Town Square (Staromestske Namesti), going up into the tower of the Astronomical Clock where we got great views of the city, crossing the Charles Bridge and touring the Prague Castle.

We are staying in budget by keeping to free breakfasts, street or grocery store lunches, and café style dinners. We picked up some Balkan Bear red wine at the grocery store for 45Kc (the currency is called a crown) which was about $2.25 and for two buck chuck it was pretty decent. The bus/tram/metro is really cheap at 18Kc for a one way trip, but everyone looks at us like we are crazy to validate our ticket so we have been using the same tickets for days.

Today we decided to lounge in the room and stay in our local suburb for the day. We had dinner in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant and sampled some local cuisines: beer sausage, garlic soup, and dumplings which were huge portions and reasonably priced too. We saw a free concert in a park nearby of a hardcore rockband and had a beer in a dive bar filled with old Czech men having arguments or a good time, we couldn’t really tell. The local Czech beer, Pilsner Urquell is cheap with 0.5L costing you 23Kc in an un-touristy spot, which is a little over a buck.

The Czech People: No one here is overly happy to see you, and there are no free smiles in Prague. I have found the women to be nice, and open to helping you if you look confused or directly approach them. The men seem aloof and generally don’t want to converse with you. The male waiters are worse, and one demanded a tip (almost 25%) when we stopped at an outside café for beer and sausage. I refused. The customary tips published in tourist information are 5-10% but I was flustered and ended up giving him an undeserved 15%. Wish I knew how to say jerk in Czech. Overall, we have found it difficult to meet and talk to the locals. May be the language barrier, or that we are not here long enough to learn more Czech than hello, excuse me, thank you, and where is the bathroom.

On a more personal note, I think I contracted bedbugs from the first hotel we stayed at in Dublin. That was the only room where Ron and I shared separate beds and he seems to be fine. I, on the other hand, have dozens of red welts all down my neck and one arm and sporadic bites on my legs. I hope I didn’t carry any with me but only time will tell. Apparently you have to boil all your clothes and vacuum out your luggage to combat an infestation which sounds difficult to do being on the road. The welts took several days to appear and seem to be getting worse. I got some cortisone cream from the pharmacy and I’m taking benadryl every night but they are itchy little buggers!

3 comments:

emiko June 11, 2009 at 12:28 AM  

Hi, Ali & Ron!
An upgrade to a suite - nice!
Love the photos. I see why Ron is digging the gothic architecture.
Well, I hope that is the end of the bed bugs - geez louise!
Travel safe.
hugs from northern Cal...
emiko

corina June 11, 2009 at 12:49 AM  

hi guys :D

33 days and counting...we're right behind you!

re: bedbugs - could be that ron got bit but didn't react like you. jay's brother & sister-in-law had bed bugs but only anne's body showed the evidence. they did the boil everything trick...pain the butt...maybe necessary? sucks.

c&j

Joe Seif June 11, 2009 at 11:39 PM  

So cool you guys made it to Prague so quickly! One of my favorite cities in Europe- I can totally see Ron's fascination with the architecture- I couldn't stop taking pictures either, even the second time around (visited Prague in May '07 and June '08). Be sure to visit the Alfons Mucha museum if you're into Art Deco, as well as amazing kielbasa stand by the Bata factory downtown (it's well worth the short hike). Great photos and safe travels guys! - Joe

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