Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Germany Trip Part 8 (aka, the Last Leg of the Trip!) - Prague Day 1

We woke up super early on our final morning in Munich so that we could haul our suitcases down the sidewalk to the large train station just around the corner from our hotel for our train trip to Prague.  Getting through the train station was not intuitive and when we finally reached our train (a rather normal, old school looking one, which was quite disappointing since the station was chock full of super modern looking bullet-type trains...) we were all a little tired and stressed.  On top of that, our first seats on the train turned out to be in one of the cars that would not be going all the way to Prague, and so we had to switch seats after we'd taken off from the station.  On the plus side, we found an empty compartment that we were able to keep all to ourselves.  Given my motion sickness issues and the early hour I just popped a Dramamine and zonked out.  S and K said I missed some really beautiful countryside covered in orange and gold leaves, though...  We arrived in Prague, changed out our money from Euros to Koruna at the station and then caught a cab to our hotel.  K had some hotel points saved up so we all stayed in a really nice Hilton right in the Old Town of Prague.  After we checked in to our rooms we set out to get some food (we hadn't really eaten much yet that day).

I had found U Medviku online, it is a beer hall in Old Town Prague that is known for having the strongest beer in the Czech Republic, X33.  Naturally this was quite high on S's list of things to do in Prague, so we decided to hit that up right off the bat.  After dinner and some beers in the downstairs beer hall, we headed up to the special bar and S got to try his X33, which surprisingly was quite good and didn't taste very strong at all - a dangerous combination!  On our way out we also found these guys (above) playing some old school music for a group of tourists in one of the back rooms.

After dinner we wound our way through the streets to Old Town Square.  On our way we discovered that there were a number of temporary light exhibits that had been installed throughout the streets.  One was a chandelier display (above) on a street corner.  There was a huge one in Old Town Square that had a light, sound, and smoke machine display within a huge cube of transparent fabric and metal beams.  And a third exhibit was an interesting movie/light display that was projected onto this old building about a block away.  We naturally took time to look at the famous Astronomical clock as well.  I had SO MANY memories of my last trip to Prague back in 2006 with my friend K Koz as I wandered the streets on this trip.  The city itself was very much the same but what blew my mind was the ridiculously huge number of tourists EVERYWHERE!  It was so much busier and more crowded than it had been on my last trip, the tourist stops were charging more money, and many of the shops had become more touristy as well.  The Czech Republic hadn't been open to tourism back in its Communism days and it's amazing how just 8 years (since my last trip) has changed Prague into such a busy tourist destination. 

Since we'd woken quite early to catch our train, we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.  Day 2 of Prague (and our final day of the trip - finally!!!!) is up next!

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