Published: August 11th 2012August 11th 2012
Maryanne and I have our list ready for the return trip
From Mom! I feel like I've been on the road for weeks but it has just been three days. Upgraded to business class at the airport. The promised "recliner like a Lazy Boy" was misleading. There was a slight recline and a minimal leg rest to the seat, but the seat was a little larger and there was lots of leg room. Plus the toilet was 3 steps away and no one sat beside me! The dinner was AAA Alberta Steak with all the fixings and unlimited wine. Watched the movie "Hunger Games" and had a pretty good sleep. Woke up, had a continential breakfast and watched part of Albert Hobbs. Hopefully I can finish that on the way home.
Left Wednesday night, and arrived in London (Heathrow, Terminal 5) 5 minutes ahead of schedule (Thursday at 1 pm). Through multiple text messages, connected with Maryanne and met her at the bus loading dock going to Terminal 3 at Heathrow. Window shopped for an hour, so we know what we are buying before heading home! Then caught the plane to Prague.
Maryanne was down in the dumps when we connected. She lost her Austrian eggs at the Edinburgh Airport.
It was quite warm and this young man was working hard.
Even retracing her steps, she couldn't find them. It was a very sad situation.
Arrived in Prague and waited for our luggage. Maryanne's bag was almost the last to come off the plane. Next we had to get a taxi to the hotel. A group of English folks were negotiating with the taxi driver and left in a hoff over the cost. A second taxi driver gave me a maximum cost of 30 Euros. I was OK with that and went to get Maryanne. We ended up going with the first taxi driver because they are in a line. He was not happy anddrove like a crazy man to our hotel. Maryanne asked him to look at the meter and we found it was 550 Kc (rather than the 750 max estimate). I got change from the hotel and paid 600Kc. Taxi driver took off in a hoff. No thank for the tip, either!
Checked in and our room was as advertised. Clean, quiet, good size for 2 in Europe, very nice bathroom and great location. Now that we have walked around for two days, we really have a wonderful spot!!
That night was walked around and
Really fresh, hot, delicious.
found a fancy shopping mall (6 stories) 5 steps from the hotel. Browsed for a while before going to the grocery store in the basement. Picked up water and snacks then out to continue around the block. It was a long block and we have found a couple of restaurants that we will try during our stay. Got back to the hotel about 10 pm, ate a sandwich and snacks. Talked, read, unpacked and got to sleep about 1:30 am.
Friday - crawled out of bed about 1 pm! Maryanne had to wake me up. Got dressed and headed out to explore Prague. Around the corner from our hotel was an open air market. We walked around and saw the usual food and craft items plus a few surprises! There was a blacksmith with his fire roaring. I bought 4 handmade nails. They look like they could be used to nail someone to the cross. We also found a Czech bread thing. Dough rolled out thin and wrapped around a wooden dowel. The dowel spins over an open fire and cooks, then is rolled in sugar & almonds. Quite good. Last, a vendor selling 1/2 fermented cherry wine. Mmmmmmm
This was so good, we bought a litre on our way home that night. Even Maryanne enjoyed it!
Continued on and stumbled on the Power Tower - entrance gate into the City. Withing 10 minutes we were at "Old Town Square". Stood in line for Czech food - potato salad, BBQ ham and a sausage. While we were waiting an old lady came around complaining that these guys had cheated her. We noticed that the customers all seemed to be talking to the cashier. When our turn came, we tried to order and get our food but the cashier didn't leave the product on the scale long enough to check the weight and price. Told him to keep his stuff and walk off. Had a latte, quiche and orange juice down a side street at the delightful cafe.
Literally wandered around. Found the river and walked down to the famous Charles Bridge (full of people and vendors), then headed back to the shops on Karlova Street. This is a famous little street full of interesting shops & cafes. Stopped in a Garnet shop and MA & I bought little crosses made of garnets with silver necklaces. I also found a large cross which I fell in love with but it was rather expensive. 11,999
Wandering around in Prague
Kc! The clerk brought the price down to 7,200Kc but I wanted to make sure it was a Christian cross. Sent a picture home and got an approval from both Michael and Edward. My research also concluded it was a Christan cross - so I was ready to go back on Saturday to buy it.
Kept on walking and we found a Tesco Superstore. Loved this store in England so spent time checking out all 6 floors. Bought a few Lindt balls in flavors not found at home and some steak knives. After leaving Tesco, we walked 2 blocks and found Wencelas Square. Stopped into the Bata store and had supper on the square eating sausage (mine was lamb sausage and MA had Kolbasa). Walk around 1/2 the square (it is big and our feet were sore by then), picked up a coffee from McDonalds and headed back to our hotel. Got in about 10:30 pm and played cards until midnight. Lights went out about 1 am.
Saturday - set the alarm today and got up at 8 am. We left the hotel at 9 am and started on our self made tour. The plan was Charles Bridge
early to avoid the big crowds and get some pictures then do the castle. On the way to Charles Bridge we walk through Old Town Square and found the famous clock. Took some pictures then continued in the direction of Charles Bridge. Came to another open air market (this one permanent) called Havel's Market. It was just opening so we had a brief look and continued on. Within minutes came to Charles Bridge. We noticed a lot of police men and road closures. Made it easy to cross the street!
Walked across Charles Bridge and took come pictures. Rain was predicted today and it was very overcast. When we got across the bridge, we went into the tower and climbed to the top. Had some beautiful views of the skyline and the bridge. Next breakfast!
Ended up at Starbucks. Latte, Egg & Bacon bun and Cheese,Ham, Tomato sandwich filled us up. Headed on our way and found a Trdelnik kiosk. We each bought one just as the skys opened. Ran back to Starbucks and stood under the awning eating our trdelnik until the rain stopped. We then proceeded up the Royal Road to the Castle. It was quite
a hike up hill and made it under cover just as the sky opened again. We were in line to get tickets (only a few people back from the ticket booth) as we saw school groups coming in. Decided to leave the Castle for a week day when the crowds are less. As we left the castle, we found the royal forest and strolled through the greenery. It was quite interesting - at one time deer and bears were kept along the moat. Now it is a lovely walkway. As we were sitting under the trees, a group of soldiers came marching down the path.
Left the Park and started to head down to Charles Bridge. Of course, we didn't use a map and ended up wandering around the Mala Stana side of Prague. Ended up along the river for a bit, though Kampa Park, had a nice lunch in a hole in the wall cafe and ultimately found the "Shakespeare Book Store". Enjoyed browsing at the English titles! Didn't buy anything. Kept on walking and found a different bridge to cross back to "old Town". Decided to buy my big cross necklace so we started in the general
Maryanne posing so I could try out my camera features
direction and enjoyed the maze of Prague streets. We found the shop and it had a sign that said 50% off (yesterday was 40%).
Our sales clerk remembered us from yesterday. Retrieved the necklace from the window and calculated the price at 7,200 Kc. I pointed out the 50% sign and was told it was for the gold jewellery (mine is silver). However, she quickly gave me the 50% off so the price dropped to 6,000Kc. Rather than use my credit card, I left Maryanne there and walk across the street to a bank machine and took out 10,000 Kc. (Sounds impressive, right?) It's not. 100 Kc = $5 Cdn. She was very appreciative of receiving cash and I saved about $60. It was fair all round.
Next, I was in need to coffee. Stopped by a shop that offered 1 + 1free "To Go". Went in a got 2 lattes for the price of one. We found a bench and I enjoyed the lattes while Maryanne enjoyed sitting down! We then headed for the Jewish Quarter to see where it was. All the Jewish area was closed, but we know where it is for tomorrow. Continued on
Sculpture set above doorway of police station
our way with the hotel as the destination we wanted. Found more river walkway and started along that path, only to be turned off by the police. We finally discovered what they & the soldiers are doing. 10 years ago there was a major flood in Prague. They are conducting flood training exercises - hence the multitudes everywhere there is water!
The detour down a different street is no concern for us. We just keep moving in an approximate direction anyway. Accidently found another English bookstore called "Big Ben". Had a browse there and bought a book set in WWII that takes place in Prague, Berlin and London. All places we will have been to on this trip. Almost made it to the hotel, but decided one more stop at the mall near the hotel.
This mall, called the Palladium Shopping Centre, it is the largest shopping mall in the Czech Republic. Imagine, it is just 4 steps from our hotel entrance. I had to get a lense cleaner for my camera and Maryanne bought a Bubble Tea. Then we finally made it back to hotel just after 6 pm. Both of us were very happy to sit
Birds for Dad
Swans and babies
down - our feet were killing us! Good time to recharge camera batteries and do a blog. Tonight we are going to a Vietnamesse restaurant and maybe a movie. The Ghost Walk and Musical Fountains are both out doors and the rain clouds are quite ominous so we'll do indoor stuff tonight.
There are more photos below