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Published: April 27th 2015
Looks like bad weather is now going to fit into this trip, after all...
But before I get into that, I'll say that I had probably the easiest train ride of the whole trip this afternoon. Erica and I had a final lunch together in the Dresden New Town before parting ways around noon. She had a bus to catch at 1, but my train didn't leave until 3. So I went to this junk shop called Theresienhof, on the lookout for any cool memorabilia. I mostly found East German communist party badges, and there were a lot of them. I just didn't find them as appealing as I had thought, so after about 30 minutes of junkin', I headed to the train station. I got my own compartment for the whole ride to Prague - 6 people can fit in one of these things, too, but I had it all to myself for 2.5 hours. There were no changes, and the announcements were in English, German, and Czech, once we got to Czechia. The views along the Elbe River were great, particularly the area known as "Little Switzerland."
My hotel was a 5-minute walk from the train station,
if that, and my new bag is holding up splendidly. My room normally sleeps 3 people (there are 3 single beds), but I've got it all to myself. I guess the real tourist season hasn't set in here yet. But you could've fooled me when I went out exploring. My train arrived at 5:30 PM in Prague, but I saw that it's going to rain all day tomorrow, and I'm leaving on Thursday morning, so that'll leave me with only 1 full day to check things out. So I knew I was going to have to get over any fatigue I might have and book it around to some of the cool sights today while I could.
I really like this town, from what I've seen. There are plenty of tourists, which disappoints me; but then again, I guess I've been a tourist myself for about 7 weeks now, so I shouldn't complain. Still, there are more here than anywhere else I've been so far, except maybe Venice. The Wenceslas Square was my first stop, since it's only 3 blocks from my hotel. Speaking of hotels, I'm pretty sure they based the hotel in that film Grand Budapest Hotel
on the Grand Europa Hotel here on Wenceslas Square. Check out the picture and tell me what you think.
I spent some time meandering around that square, soaking in the ambiance and the tourists. My next stop was the Old Town Square, which immediately captured my imagination when I arrived. The buildings are so colorful here, which I really appreciate about Eastern Europe. Pinks, blues, yellows, they don't care. One of the big tourist attractions on the square is the astronomical clock - my guidebook claimed that "huge crowds" stand around, waiting for it to chime on the hour; meanwhile, the picture in the book has about 6 people in it. This was not the case at the clock today at 7 PM. There must've been a couple hundred people waiting expectantly. It was fun to watch, but I would hardly call it the highlight of my time here.
I hung around the square until close to twilight, when I headed over to the Charles Bridge, the one that most people see pictures of, if they've ever seen any pictures of Prague. On my way, I found a guy with fresh orange juice - seriously, he had a
machine that was squeezing oranges and the juice was pouring into cups. I had one, and it was very refreshing. I may invest in a machine like that when I get home, if I can afford one. While continuing toward the bridge, I noticed a massive number of puppet/marionette theaters, so I may check one out if I get bored or similarly enraptured on Wednesday. I also was accosted by a guy handing out classical music flyers. That would be something I would be most definitely interested in, if I can afford it on Wednesday night. Mozart's Don Giovanni
runs here year-round (I mean, it did premiere here back in the 1700s), so that's also an option.
Finally, I headed back in the direction of my hotel as the sun was setting over the castle. With the sunset also came a massive rain cloud and some winds, so I, along with most of the tourists, were heading back to the other side of the bridge to get away from all that. I made it to a mall about 2 blocks from my hotel, when I decided I needed to get some food. I ate European KFC for the first
time, and I was not impressed. At least the refills were free, which has been the exception on this trip.
When I left the mall, I had to face the downpour. Luckily, I only had about 7 or 8 minutes to endure it, and I brought an umbrella this time. Now I'm back at the hotel, having seen most of the tourist spots in Prague already in 3 hours. I've got to correct the rough draft of a paper for one of my TCU classes this week, and since tomorrow's going to be rainy, I may was well bite that bullet then. I've already finished with the other TCU class, so that's a load off. My McAfee students will be submitting their 4th and final test this week (due Friday at midnight), so if any eager beavers do that tomorrow, I'll have the time to get that taken care of, too.
This isn't how I had intended my stay in Prague to go, but at least it's working out for the best.
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