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Published: June 17th 2008
So we´re in Prague now, and it´s fantastic. We arrived late at night, and wandered around the Old Town Square and Charles Bridge. Everything was lit up and the sites were only 2 minutes from our hostel.
We decided to wander around the left bank of the Vltava River and we planned to leave the hostel around 10am. Or at least that was the plan. So we had 4 roomies from California who went out drinking pretty heavily. 2 of them got into the room without issue, the other 2 had a little bit more difficulty. You see, door handles and locks are tricky. This is compunded even more by alcohol. I´ll try to sum up the conversation that occurred at 530am that morning:
"Dude, turn the key to the right"
"I am, it won´t go"
"Are you turning the handle or the key"
"They´re the same"
"No they´re not. I´m really sorry everyone who is awake now"
"To the right"
"No, the right, idiot!"
At this point we realized that, as amusing as this was, we were also locked in the room as a byproduct of the turning the key in the lock 30 or so times. We helped them get into the room, mainly so we could get out.
Peter couldn´t get back to sleep so he cut his losses and took his camera out for a walk around Prague. Tourists aren´t generally up at 6am, so he got some fantastic pictures all over the city without those pesky tourist hordes in the way.
Kif and Peter then went about there previous plans. The castle complex, the largest one in the world, is interesting. Walking around it was cool, especially the Golden Lane which was a serious of colourfully painted houses. St. Vitus Cathedral was also cool, especially the two ton tomb of St. John of Nepomuk. We then went to the Wallenstein Gardes, mainly because they were free. Who should we run into there but Alla and Leeann from Split and Dubrovnik fame. We went up the Petrin Hill with them and walked passed the Fred and Giner building that was designed by Frank Gehry. We went back to the hostel for a while, and then met up with them again at a club because it was there last night before they were flying home. The club also happened to be the one where Rhianna filmed her music video for "Please don´t stop the Music". We returned home around 3 or so, and the Californians still weren´t home. This was to become a trend.
The next day we went on a daytrip/tour to Kutna Hora, an hour or so away from Prague. The old town used to rival Prague due to it´s silver mining, and they have a couple of very interesting World heritage sites in town. The best part though was the Sedelec Ossuary. For those of you who don´t know what thatis, it´s a bone church, as in a human bone church. And no, we´re not just talking a skeleton or two. There are 40,000 people´s skeletons adorning this church. The bones are hanging in garlands from the ceilings, stacked in pyramids in the chapels, forming the coat of arms of the family who owns the chruch and there is even a chandelier consisting of every bone in the human body...freaky!!! There was one person whol really enjoyed the bone church. I don´t recall his name, but he must be the favourite passenger when going through airport security. Let´s call him "Spike". Spike has tatoos on his head, enough metal in his ears to be very valuable to the scrap metal industry and at least 10 large spikes sticking out of his face, eyebrows and the back of his neck. He was actually a nice guy, but I don´t think he´s the one you call when you want to put a smile on the faces of children! That night, we thought since we couldn´t beat the LA guys, we would join them and the other two girls in our room, Serena and Austin, for a night out on the town. We went to Beer Factory, which essentially had several tables, all with their own taps so you could just help yourself and get billed at the end. We then went to Karlovy Lazne, which is a 5 story club. Each floor had a different type of music, and it was absolutely packed. Despite being out late, we all were able to turn the key to the right thus allowing us to get back into the room!
The following day, we wondered around Prague once more. We saw the Old Town Square and the magnificent Tyn Church which stands guard over it like a sentinel. The Astronomical Clock is also in the square. It is basically a large clock that, on every hour, has a small skeleton ringing a bell and pictures of the saints (I think the were saints at least). It was probably the most over-rated thing we saw this whole trip. We wandered around the Jewish quarter which, being saturday and all, meant that it was all closed. We only got to admire the buildings from the outside, which actually wasn´t that bad because we had heard that only the Spanish Synagogue was worth paying to go into. Peter was a little dissapointed about not going into the Jewish Cemetary but then he hatched a plan. The fence surrounding the cemetary was tall, but it had large open bits near the top. He stodd on the lower part of the fence, and just snapped photos through the opening. We know it sounds a little bad, but going back to the site the next day wasn´t an option because we would be in Dresden.
Dresden, Germany is gorgeous. It´s mostly a baroque city that was absolutely levelled by the allies in a bomb raid for no apparent reason. The city had no strategic, industrial or military value, in fact, the city is famous for the fine china that is produced nearby! Anyways, the city has been meticulously rebuilt since then and it is once again beautiful. The culmination of the rebuilding has to be the Frauenkirche. What was once the largest Protestant church in Germany was left as a pile of rubble by the Soviets as a war memorial (or they were just cheap bastards and didn´t want to spend money on rebuilding it, you be the judge). Since reunification, they have decided to rebuild it, but using as much of the original structure as possible. The new stone are lighter colour, so you can see the old and new stones and where they were located in the original structure. It is an architectural feat and stunning to see! We then wandered around the rest of the town, which other than needing a bit of a clean, was great. There were more churches and palaces and even a 102 metre frieze, the longest mural in the world, or so they say, adorning one of the buildings. We walked passed the Semperproper, opera house, trying to find the Zwinger. The Zwinger was the largest palace in Dresden. We walked along the street, passed the non-descript outside of the palace and then we peaked into a little doorway. What we saw was spectacular! There was a massive courtyard with gardens and fountains inside. We wandered around mesmerized for a little, and then we ran and caught the train back to Prague because we had to get up early the next morning in order to head to our next destination, Vienna.
Things we learned in Pargue:
-Rick Steves is literally, the man!!!
-When in doubt, turn the key to the right!
-Even if one has 18 piercings in their face and scares little children, they still can prove to be quite nice.
-Jerry has abandoned us, as we haven´t seen him since Luzern.
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