Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hello from Prague!

After a long flight which included a 6 hour layover in Amsterdam where we briefly left the airport and explored the city, we finally arrived in Prague 3 days ago! It is such a beautiful and amazing city. I am in love with all the architecture. It is exactly what I would imagine a fairytale story book would look like. Everywhere I look it is like a post card!! Even the somewhat rainy and cold (for us Californians) weather doesn't bother me at all. It is a bit touristy here at times, but nothing can take away the charm of this city.

The first couple days were spent being lost in the city en route to popular tourist destinations. The hotel we booked on jetsetter is beautiful but it's not exactly in the center of the city. Hence the cheaper price. And the city is hard to navigate! Maps are pretty much useless as the streets curve so much and there's hardly any street names. The names are impossible to pronounce to begin with. I'm normally pretty good at directions and reading maps, but this city concurs me. However once you get a hang of it, it's not bad. Just pick a general direction and somehow go towards it after twists and turns. I wouldn't normally mind being lost but it was lightly raining and I did not bring appropriate shoes. I don't even own rain boots but I wish I had some. Or at least my uggs. Sneakers get soaked so fast. I did not have room in my backpack for boots but nearly every girl here wears tights or skinny jeans with knee high flat boots. Some wear big jackets with a mini skirt and stockings with boots. I like the look but too cold for me. I am jealous of the cute boots though, but could not buy any (no room to bring back also would never use again when I'm back home).

I saw all the touristy attractions within 2 days easy. It's not that big of a city. The old town square has lots of restored buildings that look beautiful. I like how they commercialized it while preserving it, not like Americans who normally destroy everything. And there's the famous astronomical clock that is impossible to tell time. It plays a show of the 12 apostles every hour and so many people are there to see it. But it's really rather silly and underwhelming! But I didn't mind so much since the atmosphere is so great. I also walked across the famous Charles bridge many times. The view is gorgeous and there are lots of religious statues on the sides that I don't have any clue what they mean. Same as many buildings in Prague. But I still like looking at them. There are some street beggars on the bridge and I have noticed they all literally get on their knees and elbows to beg for money. I wonder if it has to do with some religious connotations?

Day 2 we visited the Prague castle which I thought was an actual castle. Turns out it's more like a compound composed of many buildings, including the gorgeous gothic cathedral St. Vitus. That is by far the most prominent architecture there and definitely worth a visit. Pictures don't do it justice. The high arches and a millions pieces of stained glass windows really leave you wondering how much time was actually spent on these cathedrals. I can't believe people back then spent hundreds of years, and multiple generations of architects to build something. And I think a couple years to expand the 405 freeway in LA is a long time. Ha! Oh and the view from atop the castle of the whole city is great too.

Today we did something a bit unusual and left the city to a neighboring town about 1.5 hour away. It's called Kutna Hora and the most interesting thing about it is it has a mortuary that's built with lots of human bones! I guess there's more than 40,000 bones there from people who died during a plague, and the skulls and bones from every part of the human body make decorations on the columns, as garlands and even a chandelier! It's kind of dark but awesome.

As our Prague stay comes to an end, I am glad we have seen so much. It's been a great time, but food experience is so so. Traditional Czech food is heavy and salty, like potatoes, pancakes, dumplings with roasted pork and duck. I was willing to try but after about 2 meals couldn't take it anymore. There's more Italian restaurants here than anything else so that's what we ate most. Not that exciting. Prices aren't that cheap even with the exchange rate. One thing I hate about traveling outside of the US is they don't give you free water at restaurant. Many times water costs more than beer or wine. This is where my awesome brita water bottle comes in handy. But I'm like a horse so I've been dehydrated. Also what's up with having to pay for the bread and stuff they bring out prior to the meal? One waiter told us there's an additional fee for the napkins and salt and pepper and all this stuff. Huh?? I rather them just build that stuff into the price of the meal! One rather random observation: I'd say about 90% of waiters here are male. I wonder if it's considered a male profession!

Tomorrow we are taking a train to Vienna. I'm going to miss Prague! I guess the weather will stay roughly the same in Vienna and Budapest as well. About 50 degrees during the day and nearly freezing at night. Don't know why we left the perfect high 70s weather at home to come to the cold. Haha!

I have taken tons of pictures already. Some really good ones with my trusted iPhone and I did some photo manipulation with snapseed which is an iPhone app kinda like a simpler version of photoshop. But I think the wifi here is slow because I can't seem to post any. I'll keep trying cuz I got some really great ones!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Location:Nábřežní,Prague 5,Czech Republic

4 comments:

  1. Isn't Prague so romantic and mysterious? I love it. I hope you enjoy Vienna as well--it has the best cafés in the world.

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  2. Oh I did the Prague and Vienna trip around this same time last year. I'm glad you had a terrific time!

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