I LOVED PRAGUE!! My trip report.......

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Jul 12th, 2003, 10:14 AM
  #1
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I LOVED PRAGUE!! My trip report.......

(had to take my apostrophes out of this report they came out as question marks)

Got back after 3 days in Prague for the first time. What a beautiful city. It is truly enchanting. I felt as if I were in a fairytale. Unbelievable but true. I think most of what we saw is well documented already here, so I wont go on about Charles Bridge, Old town square, etc etc but I made a few mental notes of the following:

1. The Pinka Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter is CLOSED at the moment still suffering from flood damage, I believe. Its a shame, because we particularly wanted to go there to see the memorial of WWII. DONT miss the Jewish Cemetery.

2. DO WEAR your most comfortable shoes, please don?t worry about what they look like, I would have worn slippers if possible . We walked EVERYWHERE just wandering around the city, from site to site. (As a fodorite suggested, its a city for milling about to find hidden places) and we must have walked MILES AND MILES. I wore my favourite most comfy shoes, a pair of mules (M&S footgloves), but my feet were so sore by the end of the trip. Plenty of foot massage is in order! My husband gets the better deal, due to me being a Reflexologist


Please dont worry about fashion, just be as comfortable as you can.

3. The cobbles, too, are a problem for footwear. There are cobbled streets and pavements (sidewalks) in Mala Strana and Stare Maesto, and I saw two people fall very heavily where they slipped on the cobbles. I also saw young girls in high heels who looked ridiculous trying to negotiate around the stoned paths. Be careful! As I say, choose your footwear sensibly!

4. We heaved our unfit bodies all the way to the top of the South Tower in St Vitus Cathedral. BOY OH BOY!!! You really do need to be VERY fit to climb all those stairs. I made it to the top (just), had to keep stopping on the way (as others were doing too!) but I felt nauseous for a couple of hours afterwards. My husband suffered a bit of dizzyness due to vertigo! Oh dear, what a couple of old f**ts we are. We are in our thirties, and elderly people were passing us by. I would think carefully before embarking on that journey again! There again, the view was wonderful so the pain was worth it!!

5. We went from the sublime to the ridiculous with our dining experiences. We spent the first evening dining in Kampa Park. This is the place where Hilary Clinton, Bruce Willis and other such notables have frequented. Rex had suggested that one may not get a table overlooking Charles Bridge after 7.30, but our table was booked for 8.30 and we were seated with a superb view of the bridge. Note, though, that I made reservations at least TWO MONTHS ago, via email. Maybe that made the difference? Food very tasty, beautifully presented, a work of art, but dont come here if you are expecting large portions. Im not a gourmet, but the food is in the vein of nouveau cuisine, or whatever term is used now. At the other end of the price scale, we frequented a lovely trendy restaurant/bar called De Gala, situated on Tomasska in Mala Strana, just round the corner from our hotel. We had a three course Czech meal for approx £5 (about $7 dollars?). Very tasty and filling. (Onion soup, beef stew, dumplings, bread and pancakes with ice cream and caramel). The ambience was very friendly, cosy and cosmopolitan. Americans, italians, english you name it. Good american/english music to boot!

6. Our hotel was great. The Waldstein Hotel, just round the corner from the Wallenstein Palace. Very convenient for the Castle Complex, and literally a minutes walk from St Nicholas Church (The Mala Strana one there are two!). DONT MISS going inside this church its one of the most beautiful I have seen. There are plenty of very convivial bars and restaurants littering the square here. Anyway back to the hotel description.It dates from the 12th century. It has antique-esque furniture, parquet flooring, and we were in a very large room with a separate dining area. Bathroom was spotless and the room was kept extremely clean. The only problem was they had the workmen in this week, who spoke rather loudly early in the morning, painting the courtyard and it looked as if they were going to replace the windows. Very friendly staff, and the breakfast is served in a vaulted cellar downstairs complete with a well!! Very nice continental breakfast. It made a lovely change and I wanted to sample the Prague atmosphere in an authentic hotel, rather than staying in a modern Holiday Inn type place.

7. DO try to get to the Charles Bridge early in the morning. It is absolutely HEAVING at present (July) and trying to dodge all the other tourists becomes a nightmare. Especially when people shove you out the way and dont seem to care.


8. Book your taxi to/from the airport via the hotel. We didnt do this getting there, and paid 600 Kc. Coming back to the airport, we booked it via hotel reception, and it was 400 Kc.



Oh yes, just a little aside here. On Charles Bridge, there are many artists selling paintings, photos, buskers and you-name-it. At the Mala Strana end, there is a very (how can I put this politely) eccentric guy, who sits with (get this) two plastic tomatoes on his head with a car wing mirror in his hand and he sits there with his paint brush. We took a while to work this out, but he is painting a self portrait using the car mirror to see himself, with the Charles Bridge Tower behind! He paints himself complete with the tomatoes on his head!! Phew. Bless him. The paintings are rather chaotic! But I took rather a shine to this chap, and I wondered if anyone else has spotted him. He seemed to be kept well fed by the nearby cafes.

Please feel free to ask any questions, I would be glad to help


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Jul 12th, 2003, 10:21 AM
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ira
 
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Thanx, English

Your enthusiams for the city comes through.
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Jul 12th, 2003, 10:22 AM
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Nice report. Would you mind sharing price info re: your hotel?
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Jul 12th, 2003, 10:34 AM
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Ira:Just got back this afternoon, so I'm still all hyped up about it

jmv: we booked the room through octopus4easyjet.com where we got a better deal than other booking sites. The room (for two) was £96.50 per night including breakfast. (Approx $157)
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Jul 12th, 2003, 11:42 AM
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welcome back EnglishOne - glad you had a good time - tell us more....
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Jul 12th, 2003, 12:10 PM
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Any language barriers/difficulties?
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Jul 12th, 2003, 12:51 PM
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Sorriso - I did have a couple of problems, and funnily enough it was when I asked a couple of police officers (at two separate incidents) the directions to places. They both didnt speak English. We got by with one officer by pointing and gesticulating! I gave up with the other one. However, all the cafe, bar and restaurant staff, taxi drivers and hotel staff we had no problems communicating with. The worst that happened was having to repeat myself a couple of times.

Mark: thanks for the tip (in your report) on going to Letna Park. The view from the restaurant there was fantastic! I had a pleasant smoked cheese and ham salad with a nice czech beer We spent a long time there relaxing. The large metronome is a bit weird and overly large isn't it. Strange to think a huge statue of Stalin stood there....

I found the people friendly and welcoming. I hope to return again. Was thinking of Wintertime (Maybe Christmas?) but don't know if it will be too cold for poor old me!!
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Jul 12th, 2003, 02:22 PM
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EnglishOne -
I'm so glad you got to Letna Park - or more specifically - that view from the restaurant. The gnarled pines - the Vltava and bridges below - the wide expanse of the sky above the city.

(I agree - that metronome is kinda lame)

Next time I'm in Prague - I'll have to do the South Tower in St Vitus Cathedral - thanks for the tip.
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Jul 12th, 2003, 05:03 PM
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Glad to hear you had a great time in an amazing city!
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Jul 12th, 2003, 05:27 PM
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Prague is indeed an enchanting city-I just loved it!
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Jul 13th, 2003, 10:22 PM
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EnglishOne: I was sure you would love Prague. Did you get to take a boat cruise on the Vltava.

I have no idea what the metronome is doing now, but when we were there in May it was counting down to the election for joining or not joining the EU. It had no on one side and yes (in Czech)on the other. We thought it was kind of neat when we understood what it meant.
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Jul 13th, 2003, 11:08 PM
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Hi Giovanna, Yes, we took the boat ride (from Charles Bridge) it was interesting to see the city from a different angle! Got some great photos too. Thanks for the tip!

The metronome is just swinging about on its own, no 'yeses or no's' in sight. I read in an old Eyewitness guide (about 10 years old!) that the city folk hated the metronome and it was to be taken away! Its still there......
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