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Prague in January - some observations, comments and tips

Prague in January - some observations, comments and tips

Jan 30th, 2008, 12:56 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Oh Ingo, it's interesting that you mention this about the service being included or not.

We were at a restaurant in Prague where it seemed lots of locals were eating. Had my one and only dumpling here but I won't go into that.

When the bill was presented, the waiter told us that service was not included. We asked to see the menu because we were sure it had said that it was.

When we showed the waiter that the menu stated service was indeed included, he told us that that was "for the manager" only, not for him; and that we should pay him an extra amount.

Fortunately for us, a local group of young 20-something Czechs (who spoke English) told us to ignore him and pay nothing more than the stated bill.

We would normally leave the change or round up, but in this case we just got up and left.


swisshiker is offline  
Jan 30th, 2008, 01:54 PM
  #22  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 680
Thanks for the great insights, Ingo.

DH and I took a "pub crawl" tour while in Prague and our very knowledgable guide told us many interesting stories, and explained the different pricing for food and drinks. There's a "locals" price, meaning people that frequent the place, a "Czech" price for those who can speak the language, and a "tourist" price. This is particularly true in the family-owned and smaller places where there are no pre-printed menus.
wanderfrau is offline  
Jan 30th, 2008, 07:43 PM
  #23  
 
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I am going to Prague in early March for 9 days, staying at the Diplomat (near the castle)and training to Dresden and possibly doing other day trips. Any other suggestions? How hard is it to purchase tickets for the train? Is English spoken? ( I speak NO Czech)Your posts are invaluable! Thanks!
deedeezee is offline  
Jan 31st, 2008, 10:10 AM
  #24  
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swisshiker - what an unpleasant experience, but I can exactly imagine that happening. Jeeez!

wanderfrau - I heard about these different prices too and try to avoid these places w/o printed menu. Fortunately I had local friends with me.

Dee - glad to hear you're going to do a day trip to my city, Dresden! Let me know if I can help with that! English is spoken in tourist spots in Prague, almost everywhere in the city centre, but rarely outside. I doubt you'll see a lot of the outskirts, though. Another idea for a day trip is castle Karlstejn - dirt cheap by train, they leave from Hlavni Nadrazi (Central Railway station) every half hour in the morning and afternoon, in the middle of the day only every hour (direction Beroun).

Another interesting day trip is Kutna Hora.

For schedules see this website: www.idos.cz

Trams #22 and #23 run from the castle area into the city centre. Not every tram stop has a ticket machine, as not every tram car has one. I made sure to always have two or three tickets in my wallet. You validate (stamp) them upon entering the tram car. There are ticket machines at every Metro station. I also recall that there was one machine at the tram stop "Prazsky hrad" (Prague Castle). The two upper left buttons are interesting for you: The uppermost is for the 26 CZK ticket (with transfers) and the one below it for the 18 CZK ticket (no transfers) - into the city centre (stops Malostranske Namesti e.g. on the Lesser Town side or Narodni Trida - quite central on the Old Town side) no stop is required and you can use the 18 CZK ticket.

Ingo
Ingo is offline  
Jan 31st, 2008, 10:12 AM
  #25  
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Sorry, I forgot you can also buy the tickets at a small "Trafika" shop which sell newspapers, tobacco, water etc. Even if they do not understand English they will know what "ticket" means. And then you only have to choose between the 26 and 18 CZK versions ;-)
Ingo is offline  
Jan 31st, 2008, 04:02 PM
  #26  
 
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Hi Ingo - My husband & I are making a day trip to Desden during our visit to Prague later this year. I'm sure we won't have time to venture much beyond the city center and was hoping you can recommend a good, local cuisine, restaruant.

Your insite on Prague has been invaluable with trip planning!
Debs is offline  
Feb 1st, 2008, 07:52 AM
  #27  
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Debs, thanks for the nice words

Hm, a day trip to Dresden will indeed limit you to the city centre (old town) and the highlights there. Too bad since it is still in reconstruction and you won't see the beautiful residential areas along the river. Try to squeeze in a paddle steamer trip if you want to do yourself a favour, ok?

As for restaurants with good local food: My favourite is this one:
www.zum-schiesshaus.de
Just a few steps Southwest of the Zwinger. Have had lunch and dinner (with Fodorites) there myself and enjoyed it every time.

Another option is the so called "Radeberger Spezialausschank" right on Brühl's terrace. They serve local beer (Radeberger); try the 'Zwickel' which is not filtered and IMO very good. They serve pretty good local food like potato soup and Sauerbraten (beef) and considering the central (touristy) location it is still reasonably priced. Another advantage is that they have a terrace (deck) from where you have a good view OR if the weather is not nice you can sit in the cosy rooms (dark wood panels, beer tanks).

Of course there are plenty of very good restaurants that serve excellent local or international food which are more pricey and have a more fancy ambience. "Alte Meister" is one of my favourites
www.altemeister.net
or try the Paulaner Restaurant in the Kempinski Taschenbergpalais vis-a-vis from the Royal Palace/Green Vault entrance. They serve very good Bavarian food and beer, nice terrace and not pricey at all.

Recently a very nice and decently priced restaurant opened near the Frauenkirche:
www.gasthaus-am-neumarkt.de
They even have daily changing lunch meals for 5.99 Euro.

Ingo
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Feb 2nd, 2008, 06:39 AM
  #28  
 
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Ingo - Thanks so much for your detailed dining recommendations! It will be fun choosing a place for lunch, with so many offerings. We will be visiting Dresden on a Sunday-are places open (including craft markets and other places to shop)?
Debs is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2008, 08:09 AM
  #29  
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You're welcome. Let me know if you need more help.

Sunday. Hm. It depends - the gift-, craft- and other shops around the Frauenkirche will be open. Depending on the exact date it might be possible that most shops in the city are open, but the chance is small (by law shops can open on 4 Sundays per year, it is not yet clear which Sundays in 2008). There are nice shops in the Hilton e.g., also behind the Frauenkirche is a shop with woodcraft works from the Erzgebirge and stuff that should be open. Not totally sure, will find out this week.

I hope you already have your reservations for the Historic Green Vault. It is sold out far into the summer.

I.
Ingo is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2008, 08:18 PM
  #30  
 
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Ingo, dear, you are a fountain of knowledge! Thank you for all your tips, we will certainly use them. We have Green Vault tickets for the 10th of March and are so looking forward to it. I am actually scouting for another trip in the fall, and have heard so much about Dresden thought we 'd visit for a day while in Prague. I am also planning to trip to Kutna Hora for a day to St Barbaras and the ossuary. WIll it be difficult if the weather is bad? We will be using public transport.
deedeezee is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2008, 05:14 AM
  #31  
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Congratulations on the tickets to the Historic Green Vault! You'll love it.

The train trip to Kutna Hora should be no problem. The Czech Railways are quite reliable. Kutna Hora is well worth a day trip.

But - reminds me of another experience that I forgot: The day of departure, 19 Jan, my friend suggested we make a half day trip to castle Karlstejn. Bought the tickets (really cheap) and got on the regional train to Beroun at Hlavni Nadrazi. The train looked like from the 19th century, LOL. Anyway, in the outskirts of Prague the train stopped and the conductor told us there was a "technical problem, delay of 15 minutes expected". 15 minutes became 30, 30 became 45 ... We found out there was indeed a problem with electric power on that railroad. At some time the train moved again, but only one station further. Then it was definite the end of the journey - even the international train to Munich had to stop there. My only relief was that our train went back to Prague after a few minutes. This can happen (it does rarely as my friend told me) but what I did not like was that no replacement buses or so were organised. However, it was an experience to be stuck in the middle of nowhere!

Ingo is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2008, 08:53 PM
  #32  
 
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Thanks.Ingo ..again! will follow your tips, and if I can ever help you with info on US, please ask!
deedeezee is offline  
Feb 5th, 2008, 10:28 AM
  #33  
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Dee, another suggestion for gift shopping - just in case you plan to see "Pfund's Molkerei" (they claim to be the 'most beautiful dairy shop in the world') - this one in the Neustadt (Bautzner Strasse) is open on Sundays 10 am - 3 pm and some of the neighbouring gift shops are, too.
Ingo is offline  
Feb 9th, 2008, 10:34 AM
  #34  
 
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Hi Ingo, Thanks for pointing this out to me! You really packed a lot in on this trip. Very interesting report.

We've talked alot about your excellent English skills, something most of us take for granted when we read your reports and tips. But how do you manage to even use words like "umpteenth" with such ease?

I hope you manage to pull of your trip to Switzerland next month. Baci - K
Grassshopper is offline  
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