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Trip Report Prague Trip Report

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Rather than go through a long day-by-day account, I will mention the highlights and then less exciting parts.

Highlights:

* Prague Running Tours - If you are a runner, definitely do this. I did an eight mile run along the river, across the bridge and then all the way up to the castle and Strahov
* Charles Bridge - see above; at 8AM I had it mostly to myself and that is the best time to see it; later in the day, ugh
* St. Vitus Cathedral -My favorite site in Prague.
* Strahov Library
* Old Town Square - Despite the crowds, it is really beautiful, especially on a bright spring day.
* Jerusalem Synagogue - Pretty on the outside and with an interesting exhibit on postwar Jewish history outside.
* Prague City Museum - Good for history buffs.
* Memorial to the Heydrich Terror Heroes
* Museum of Communism - The whole place smells like cigarettes, but the exhibit is interesting.
* KGB Museum - The owner is eccentric, to put it mildly. He simulates firing a kalishnikov and throwing a grenade and provides his own sound effects; must be seen to be believed; he may even insist that you pose for a picture in a KGB hat holding a rifle
* Gastronomy Museum - extremely enthusiastic staff and free sample of alcohol
* Dancing House
* Veletrzni Palace - looks more like a mall than a palace, but a good mix of Czech and other modern art
* Petrin - Nice views, nice park and the climb of the imitation Eiffel Tower is worthwhile
* Public transport - Once you figure out how to use it, it's super efficient, cheap and with some colorful metro stations
* Costs - Cheaper than expected
* Cafe Culture - So many places for coffee and cake
* Good for solo travel - in any restaurant there will always be other solo diners; you'll never feel out of place
* The ease of getting away from the tourist crowds - The bridge, Old Town Square and the castle area are full of visitors from every part of the world; everywhere else, you are surrounded mostly by Czechs
* The people - This was the biggest surprise of all; after everything I'd heard about rude, unhelpful dishonest people, I found everyone I came into contact with - from the non-English speaking museum ladies to waiters and ice cream vendors, the people I stopped on the street to ask for directions and even the older women working and smoking at the train station - to be polite, honest, extremely helpful and indulgent toward a non-Czech speaker

Less than exciting -
*Mucha Museum - It takes less time to see the exhibit than to wait in line for tickets (which was not very long)
*Museum of Sex Machines - complete waste of money
* The Astronomic Clock - the clock itself is worth seeing, but the hundreds of people and their ipads crowding around to watch the apostle scene which lasts a total of 30 seconds?
*National Monument - Nice views, but hard to get to and most exhibits in Czech only
*Jewish Museum - some synagogues are attractive and the Maisel Synagogue's walls are covered with names of Czech Holocaust victims, but otherwise too crowded and overpriced; I much preferred the Great Synagogue in Budapest
* Teresin - Interesting but far less profound of an experience than expected; nothing I hadn't seen before at other Holocaust sites and museums
*Czech food - not bad, but not particularly good either; after sampling several, the famed bread dumplings appear to be nothing more than a piece of white bread cut into a circle with the crusts removed
* Smoking everywhere
* An awful lot of walking and climbing
* Lamberty's Restaurant - the only bad service experience where they added a "cover charge" and "service charge" without indicating that anywhere

Overall, I liked Prague. I'd rate it above Tallinn and Berlin, though below Budapest and St. Petersburg.

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