Monday, April 11, 2011

Czech List - The First 24 Hours

Well, we got off the plane on Sunday evening and found our new friend Radka standing there, in a green T-shirt, all smiles and super-excited to meet us. She helped us through the public transportation system in Prague to our hotel. (The public transportation in Prague is great. It's efficient, thorough, and easy to navigate.) A big thanks to Radka for taking the time to help us!

We arrived at our hotel, checked in, and went to sleep in short order. Although it was only about 10:30 local time, we were operating on Kyrgyzstan time, making it 2:30 am the next morning. (Aren't time zones rad?)

Monday morning: We woke up, had a great, complimentary breakfast at the hotel, and started walking. Turns out, our hotel was in a great location. Of course, we tried to get a hotel in a great location, but not knowing the city, there was a bit of luck involved. We were a five-minute walk to the Charles Bridge (Karlov Most), which Charles IV began the construction of in 1357 (9th of July, actually, at 5:31am.  Czech it: Makes a palindrome 135797531... my kinda dude). Amazingly, this bridge pre-dates the Golden Gate bridge by several years. At 8:00 in the morning, there were very few people on the bridge. We learned later in the day that a nearly vacant Charles Bridge only happens in the morning.

We crossed the river and promptly got lost in “Old Prague.” An overcast sky, narrow streets, and night-time arrival in a city we've never seen before does not for good directional consistency make. No worries though, as we found out where we were soon enough, and arranged for a bus tour of the city. (This was recommended to us by some co-workers, and in hind-sight, could have been better, but it worked out just fine.)

We boarded the bus just as the overcast sky was turning to precipitation. During the +/- 2 hours on the tour (including a visit to Prague Castle), it rained pretty hard. By the time we finished the bus tour, it had lightened in intensity, and after finding lunch, it had just about quit raining. So, the bus was a great location to get out of the rain, and it provided us both with a better sense of the layout of Prague.

That afternoon we continued to just wander through the streets of Prague. It was fantastic. We ate some traditional Czech food. Katie had goulash with bread dumplings, and I had pork with bread dumplings and cabbage. First Czech beer: Velkopopovick√Ĺ Kozel Dark

That evening, I went out to get some pictures of the city at night. (I don't want to know what they spend to illuminate the castle, the bridge, and just about every other old structure in town, but it sure is pretty.)

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