I had a pleasant five-hour train ride to Prague today. I really enjoy traveling by train; it’s so pleasant to just sit back and watch the changing landscape.
June 19, 2012
I’m happy to find another free walking tour in Prague. I like hearing the stories behind what I’m seeing. I learn that the astrological clock tower in one of the many squares was the first of its kind. The officials of Prague invited the inventor to a meeting, but failed to mention that the purpose for meeting was to burn his eyes out in order to prevent him from duplicating the clock tower anywhere. For revenge, the inventor stuck his hand in the gears and broke the clock. It was decades before they could get it working again.
It was also very interesting to learn more about living here during the communist regime - I think many Americans (myself included) don’t fully comprehend how bad it really was, how controlled and regulated the peoples’ lives were. When the regime left, many children were so excited to drink Coca-Cola, one of the many products prohibited during Communist rule. And wear jeans. And read books.
June 20, 2012
Today, the plan is to hike from the small town of Beroun to Karlstejn Castle. Well, I take the train to Beroun, no problem, but I can’t’ find the trail someone told me about, even after asking a shopkeeper and a hotel receptionist. I end up walking along the river on a footpath at first, but then a road. Still, it is pleasant walking along in the hot and sunny weather, with greenery all around me...
My last day in Europe! Three and a half weeks is the longest I’ve ever been from home, but it went quickly. I think venturing to a new location every few days contributes to that feeling. Always on the move, exploring new places, just doesn’t give time a chance to “slow down.” Today, I take the train to Kutna Hora, a popular day trip. There is an ossuary that’s decorated with human bones dug from their graves, and it’s pretty surreal. The chandelier contains every bone found in a human. In the town, there doesn’t appear to be much of any interest, so it’s a pretty quick trip. Still, I think it’s worth it to check out the ossuary - it’s almost difficult to pull your eyes away, it’s so hard to believe what you’re seeing.
I’m excited to go home. I feel lucky because probably not many people love going home as much as they love leaving for vacation - but I do. I miss Nick and my friends and my home. And my bed. :)
A bartender recommended Lucerne when I inquired about a restaurant that served typically Czech food. So, I went there for dinner and enjoyed garlic soup and goulash with bread dumplings. (I also discovered my fondness for hruskovy napoj, pear juice. It’s very refreshing on a hot day after spending all afternoon traipsing around with a large backpack. The brand, Cappy, offers much more interesting fruit juice flavors than the typical American orange or apple.)
Address: Vodickova 36, Praha 1
Address: Narodni 22, Praha 1
There are many street stands selling sausage. I had a klobasa sausage - it was huge and tasty. The mustard, called estragon senf, was really good, and I’d love to figure out the name of this type of mustard in English so I can get some!
Address: Dlouha 33, Praha 1
Free walking tour - www.extravaganzafreetour.com
National Company Czech Republic Puppetry Performances - Shows are twice daily (17.00 and 20.00)
Address: Karlova 12, Prague 1
Day trip to Karlstejn Castle
Address: 267 18 Karlstejn c.p. 172
NOTE: I found it difficult to know how much Czech crowns to get, since I didn’t really know how much anything cost. I traded 200 euros when I arrived. After four days, I converted my remaining crowns, and I received 50 euros. So, I spent about 150 euros on food, transportation, activities, and souvenirs (minus whatever I lost in conversion fees).