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Archive for the ‘Czech Republic’ Category

Fabulous Friday Photos is back…as long as the program continues to cooperate.

Prague. The problem with Prague is that it’s so touristy, and so gorgeous, and has too much history to possibly take in.

Mid-November Christmas market in the central square

I loved Prague. I’m not sure that I would want to live there; I showed up about ten, fifteen years too late for that. But to visit, it’s spectacular.  It really does live up to its reputation as the prettiest city in Europe. However, I thought it did lack some kind of personality — too many tourists, I suppose.  I wish I could have been here ten years ago.

This is a city I’ll be coming back to – often – when I live in Hungary. They’re not very far away, after all…

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I am out in the backwoods of the Czech Republic and it’s a little bit difficult to find a computer all the time.  I left Prague a few days ago, and I suppose I should tell you about that since it’s been awhile since I’ve written. 

Ok.  Prague.  Prague was nothing like I expected but I liked it a lot.  I never did any touristy things, just walked around and stuff.  The hostel owner was awesome.  After getting off work at 12.30 every night he would take everyone out to a different local bar or club, so we got to see the local nightlife instead of jsut the touristy places. 

The old town was gorgeous.  It is like going back in time.  I can’t wait until I’m able to upload some more photos so that everyone can see how pretty it is. 

I climbed to the top of the hill a few times.  During the Communist era, nearly the entire hill was forbidden to the common people; only high-ranking officials and so on could go there.  It’s positively spectacular, and the view down onto the city is impressive. 

On Wednesday I went to Cesky Krumlov, a tiny little medieval town nestled in a valley, surrounded by the S-shaped Vltava river.  It is in South Bohemia, close to the border with Germany.  Talk about living in the past.  There are only about 14,000 people in the entire town and you can walk every street in an hour.  Across the river, on top of a hill, the town os overlooked by a castle, the second-largest palace in the Czech Republic. Standing up in the castle, looking over the town, you could be in the fifteenth century.  It is stunning.  I would give my right arm to live in that castle. 

Speaking of which…..

The hostel I am staying at is way different from what I’m used to.  There are no bunk beds! Real bathrooms! Decorating!  The front door has an awesome dragon carving on it, the floors are hardwood, and the bathroom is all tile mosaics.  And it’s tiny.  And, this being Central Europe, it’s only about $20 a night.  Anyways, the atmosphere is very small and homey.  It’s tiny, there are only two dorms and a few private rooms.  It’s currently being run by two sweet Kiwi girls.  Every Thursday night, they, a few American expats and a few locals all get together and make dinner at the hostel, so I got to go to that.  It was a really neat experience to meet some locals and people who live in the town.  That doesn’t happen often.  You meet a lot of people, but they tend to be other travelers, rather than locals, especially in countries where a language barrier could be a problem. 

One of the girls from Cesky Krumlov gets to live in the palace.  See?  I was going somewhere with that.  Her father is the caretaker, so she gets to live there and see that spectacular view every morning.  Lucky lucky woman. 

I am spending three nights here just because I needed a breather from the big cities and fast paced life.  I’m a bit bored, to be honest, but I think I’ve caught up on my sleep.  And tomorrow, I go to the biggest party hostel in Vienna….I’ve stayed at the Wombats chain in both Berlin and Munich, and they are pretty crazy.  But they’re really great, for a chain hostel, and the staff are all friendly and helpful.  Excellent hostels,a s long as you don’t plan on sleeping. 

After Vienna I might hit Salzberg for a few days and then it is on to Croatia! 

Now be patient, I’m going to be moving around a lot for a while now so I might not have very many/very good updates for a bit.  But I’ll be back.

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Prague.  I can’t believe I’m actually here.  Twenty years ago, this was communist territory.  Now it’s just crazy.

The city is a lot bigger than I imagined.  I walked around for over five hours today and didn’t see all of it.  I saw most of it, but there are millions of winding streets and the city just keeps going on forever.  The old part is fairly compact, but that is also the most touristy part.

It’s also cheap.  I’m spending 10 euro a night for a nice hostel, and beer is a dollar a pint.  A large pizza cost me less than eight dollars.  In the Czech Republic they use Czech crowns, but the excahnge rate is 17-1 so i just translate it into euros or dollars in my head.  It’s weird having a 4,000 Kc note.

I was only going to stay here until tomorrow night but there is jsut so much to do and see I think I am going to extend my stay for another night or two.  Plus, I’m kind of tired of packing every other day.

I’ll be back later with more on Prague.  This is the furthest east I’ve been and it’s kind of a culture shock.  The language is so different that it really finally feels like I’m somewhere strange.  German and Dutch were easy, and everyone spoke English anyways.  Here, no one does.  I don’t even know how to pronounce words that I see.  And the money is completely different.

Prague is gorgeous though.  There is almost too much, s omuch that it becomes overwhelming.  Everywhere you look is another stunning building, statue, monument, gate, arch, cathedral, tower, square, street, etc etc.  After awhile you jsut get kind of numb to it.

Speaking of numb it’s freezing here.  I need to buy more scarves.  I was hoping they would be cheaper in the Czech republic but unfortunately they’re about the same price.  I am ammassing quite the collection of scarves.

Later, kids.

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