Prague - Tips I learned

Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 04:29 AM
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Prague - Tips I learned

Spent a weekend in Prague 7/11 to 7/14 took the train in from Berlin.

First big tip would be regarding the money. When you go to exchange your money to the Koruny at either the airport or the train station ask for smaller demoninations. Why you ask? Well as I toured Prague a big issue with folks there from the grocery stores, tourist spots and resturants they DO NOT like to make change and if they HAVE TO they like to toss your change at you with a dirty look. Not kidding. Also be prepared to pay cash whereever you go. Lots of signs saying no credit cards or Euros. The one place we went to about everyday was Bohemian Bagel, they have 3 spots around town, had no problem breaking the larger 1000, 2000, and 5000 bills. Note if you get money from an ATM you'll get the big bills.

The 2nd big tip was have your transportation pass with you for the public bus/rail/subway at all times. We were on a touristy bus/rail line up to the castle chatting about nothing much in English of course and some guy in a white short sleeve dress shirt, dark pants flashes me a bag near his crotch area, took me a moment to figure out what he wanted. He wanted to see our bus passes. While I looked for mine (have a big bag for all my camera lens) my friends showed theirs and to my dismay I discovered I left mine back at the Hostel, of course I had my passes for Berlin, but that didn't do any good. Had to pay a 700 Koruny fine on the spot in cash which is about $45 USD. I didn't have that much cash on me, so my friend had to loan me some money to pay it. We missed our stop and had to get off the bus/rail at the next stop and walk back down the hill. Not a fun way to start the day. While he wrote up my ticket I asked if there was a way to get my $$ back if I could prove that I did have a pass and that it was date stamped the day before, but he shrugged his head and sholders that he didn't understand English. Never did get my money or part of my money back. You can pick up your pass at the train station before you get on the subway or get one at any of the subway stops. Had to buy a temporary one that lasted for a few hours so we could get back to the Hostel to get mine so we could travel without worring about getting fined again.

Another tip I learned the hard way, have a couple of wicked blisters to prove it. When walking around on the cobble stone sidewalks and roads be preparred for some sore feet and blisters. It rained a lot and our feet were sliding constantly on the slippery un-even stones.

For the photographers out there, get up early to see some of the major points of interest if you like to get photos of buildings, bridges and squares without a bunch of people in your shots.

Hope these were helpful! Happy travels.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 05:05 AM
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pearlsgirl
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Thanks for the tips. I will be in Prague in October and am searching for any and all info.
 
Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 05:18 AM
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Sorry about the fine you had to pay for the tram. In many cities I know, it's like that so you really have to be careful. I have been to Prague about 10 times in last 10 years (6 of them in last 2 years) and met the inspector only twice. I usually buy a pass and take trams all the time. Fortunately I had my pass on me always.

>... asked if there was a way to get my $$ back if I could prove that I did have a pass and that it was date stamped the day before,

I'm not sure how you can prove it. e.g. since the pass is not nominative, if you bring it to the authority on a later day, they could argue that you got it e.g. from your friend. At least you had a cash to pay on the spot because if you had not, you would have had to go to their office later and pay CZK950. 700 is a "discounted" fine.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 05:24 AM
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More about the fine on public transportation in Prague.

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTop...e_Bohemia.html
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Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 05:48 AM
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Hey sinagua ("no water"???), if there is any consolation, your brief trip report had more useful info that many three-pagers reports posted here. Hope you had a great trip!
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 06:28 AM
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I'll add: Beware of pickpockets on the subway in Prague, especially during rush hour.

The pickpockets are aggressive and work in groups.

Woody
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 01:25 PM
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On the pickpockets, BEWARE is the operative word. MY wife and I were in Prague with our grown-up son two years ago in August. I was pickpocketed on the Metro on our very first day in Prague!

I thought I was prepared, having read 3-4 guidebooks and their warnings about Prague being the pickpocket capital of the world (which I wholeheartedly agree with). Instead of carrying my wallet as usual in my backpocket, I thought I was prepared when I put it my trousers side pocket, thinking, "Who can lift it w/out my feeling it?"

Guess what! They (he) did! I lost $360 and three credit cards and my driver's license. Just as I was getting into the Metro, I was jostled, and in those few millseconds, the deed was done. In fact, I remember saying "sorry" to the young man that bumped into me.

My son cautioned me against needless pulling out of wallets and counting the money etc. AS it happened, I did pull out the wallet outside the Metro station and was looking at the money. I gathered later that pickpockets are always looking for prospects, and I am sure I was a marked man even before I entered the station.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Be careful. Prague is a beautiful city. Enjoy!
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 02:40 PM
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I am glad that the weather was sooooooo bad last week when I was there that I did not have to deal with the pickpockets!
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 02:47 PM
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I hardly think sympathy is in order because someone got fined because they were trying to ride the bus/tram without any vaid ticket at all. What kind of advice is that -- be sure you have a ticket on something you ride? well, yeah, I guess so. Buying one and leaving it elsewhere, it wasn't even on you, is meaningless.

Sorry, but I was also questioned by a ticket inspector on the Prague tram, but I had no problem with that because I had a valid ticket. Anyone who isn't violating the law won't have a problem.

They do tend to give out big bills in ATMs, that's true, and it can be a problem finding a place to break them when you first get them. I always try to use them for a restaurant meal or bigger purchase up front so I get small change.

I personally didn't have much problem using credit cards at all, and I don't eat in expensive places. I would never try to use it for minor charges, though.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 02:57 PM
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Anyone who isn't violating the law won't have a problem.

Are you suggesting we should have just waited at the top of the tram until someone came to open the ticket booth? It was hardly our fault that the ticket machine wasn't working and the booth was closed.
 
Old Jul 25th, 2008, 03:03 PM
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Christina, I think you could be a little more charitable to Sinagua. She wasn't telling us about the fine so we would feel sorry for her. She realized her mistake and just wanted to warn others to make sure they always had their pass with them.

I for one appreciated the info she provided.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 04:25 PM
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Heh, I agree with the large bills. For whatever reason, some of the larger outfits get downright snotty when they have to make change.

Train stations will not give change, even for the automated ticket machines. Go figure. Just buy something from the newstand.

I saw more traffic cops on the trams/subways than ever before. And they were fining the locals as well, so don't feel bad. We got asked a few times; had our passes with us, though. I did see one local get nabbed without a ticket.

One reason they're not taking Euros is that the Czech currency is so strong that the Euro is in a tailspin compared to the CZK. So by the time they can get CZK they've lost...

The pickpockets are bad. Never carry anything of value in a backpack. Typically you get hit if you do touristy things; we got hit after checking with the info desk about train schedules. Fortunately we carry nothing of value in our backpacks. Typical places are escalators, stairs, and subways as you are entering and they're leaving.

I recommend getting a 'compression pack' - it has buckles and a flap that completely covers the zipper, and allows the pack to be compressed tightly. Ask at your local REI/Dick's/etc if you don't know what that is. Also / alternatively, braid or otherwise tangle your zipper pulls. Fortunately the pickpockets are non-violent.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 08:36 PM
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I actually got a better rate using the Euros I had with me to buy some paintings at a store. I would ask in various currency what is the price and then figure it out!
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Old Jul 26th, 2008, 04:27 AM
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The OP writes: <<"....to my dismay I discovered I left mine back at the Hostel,...>>

From there, Christina interpreted: <<I hardly think sympathy is in order because someone got fined because they were trying to ride the bus/tram without any vaid ticket at all.<<

Reading and Interpretation: Priceless.

Christina: why are you so angry all the time? You know, chemistry does wonders for some "angry" issues....

Sinagua-- your posted info was great and had tons of great advice. Happy travels!!
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Old Jul 27th, 2008, 06:15 AM
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ttt
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Old Jul 27th, 2008, 03:50 PM
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I am also going from Berlin to Prague. Could you provide the same insight and hints about Berlin? Your Prague hints were great!
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 05:33 AM
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filthy looks all right!
you were lucky you werent shortchanged as well!
we saw a few people being fined- some tried to escape and were pursued by the conductor-the embarrassment of not paying a bus fare
inspectors appear from nowhere on buses and trains
hey but the consumption of large amounts of alcohol on trains is A Ok!
only catch AAA taxis- the rest , who knows? one certainly ripped us off big time- someones uncle- and this was arranged by our hotel!!!!
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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 08:59 AM
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Viajero2, si no agua. I'm a swimmer/scuba diver so I'm at a loss when I'm not in the water Thanks, I tried to kept it brief and to the point.

An no Christina I wasn't looking for pity or for anyone to feel sorry for me. I was just trying to keep what happened to me from happening to anyone else, the point being learn from my mistakes. Forwarned is forarmed.

Didn't have any problems with pick pockets. I use my Akona scuba dry bag (keeps everything dry) which I is hard for me to get my own hands into. Since I carry loads of camera lenes I'm triple careful.

Phillyatty - As for Berlin, didn't have to many issues. I purchased at the subway 3 day passes for the subways and buses, I'll have to look to see how much they were, and just date stamped them each time I got on the bus or subway for the first time each day. Didn't have any issues there.

We took the buses to Brandenburg Gate to do the free Berlin walking tour http://www.newberlintours.com/nbt/ which others have written about here. It was informative and a nice diverse group of people to chat with as we covered a good portion of Berlin in 3.5 hrs. We liked their tour a lot that we came back the next day for the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp tour which you have to pay for which includes the train fee and entrance fee to Sachsenhausen. The tour was great, it's amazing to me the many cruel ways men invite to tourture others. Makes me sad and mad at the same time. I'm just glad my Grandpa's side of the family got out of Germany before Hilter came to power.

You can easily walk Prague, not so for Berlin, it's just to darn big! I would totally recommend going to the TV Tower to see the 360 degree view of the city.

A couple of general observations for both cities that I found interesting.

1st - My friends are total movie goers so we saw one movie in Berlin at the Sony building, very cool building, you have to check it out at night. In both Prague and Berlin they have assigned seating. In the US, there isn't assigned seating for movies, only for concerts or plays. Just seem odd to have to sit right next to another couple or group when one row down is totally empty. Guess we just like our personal space.

2nd - The WC, translation the water closet aka, the el bano, the bathroom or restroom. Pretty much wherever we went we had to pay a fee to us the WC. There were very few places we didn't have to pay or leave a tip. The good thing was that they were clean, so I don't mind paying for a clean place to go it, just that it was a bit pricey at some places.

Generally speaking it never hurts to always carry a packet of tissue with you. I have allergies so I always have some on hand, also some handy wipes in cases where there is no soap or hot water. There's nothing worse then having to go and nothing to wipe with. Not fun.

Still working on my photos, will post a link when I'm done.

Take care,
Sinagua

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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 12:07 PM
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My friends are total movie goers so we saw one movie in Berlin at the Sony building, very cool building, you have to check it out at night. In both Prague and Berlin they have assigned seating

We went to a movie at that same theatre in Berlin. I'm pretty sure you can get reserved seats or non-reserved. It was empty when we were there and I agree, it was odd to be sitting so close to the few others who were in the theatre with reserved seats.
 
Old Jul 31st, 2008, 10:58 AM
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Have prices for the Berlin daily bus/subway pass, it was 6.10 Euro.

The 3 day transfer ticket for Prague was 330 Kc.

The TV tower in Berlin was 9.50 Euros. The lift takes up and down.

The Observation Tower was 70 Kc, in Petrin Park. You have to walk up the 299 spiral steps to get to the top. There are bench along the way for folks to rest, views all the way up, another set of steps goes down.
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