Sunday, November 25, 2007

Prague--City of a Thousand Spires

I have returned from a wonderful trip to Prague. It is an incredibly beautiful city and I understand why it is often referred to as the most beautiful in Europe. To be able to compare with Venice is not possible--Venice is an island and its history is 180 degrees different than Prague. But let me remark on a few things that were a surprise.

First, the people of Prague are soooooooooooooooo nice. They smile, they say 'can I help you', 'thank you', 'please', 'have a nice day' and most importantly, 'excuse me'. Being in Venice for 7 months and hardly experiencing that made me realize how unfriendly I have become. It was an amazing study on human nature. When people are nice to you, you get the same in return. I will always wonder why Venetians are so rude.

Next, the stores and hotels and restaurants in Prague are not afraid to use the heater. In fact, many of the buildings were almost too warm on the inside. Either their utilities are much cheaper than Venice or they dont buy into the 'just put another sweater on' line that the Venetians espouse.

Also, the water pressure was wickedly strong. I dont think we even have water pressure like this in the US. It was enough to move you to the other end of the shower if you didnt brace yourself.

Prague is overrun with casinos and strip clubs and sex museums (sex, torture, etc). It was a very unsightly scene. I remarked that they were like a kid in a candy store after communism and they copied so many things from the free world and unfortunately, with that, came some of the worst.

Finally, there is an unusually large number of Americans that live in Prague. The numbers were almost overwhelming. I was truly surprised at the availability of American restaurants, stores and people.

As an American, I am seriously lacking on history and geography. We visited the 'Communist Museum' which provided a nice high level description of the life they led not so long ago. You really dont realize how blessed you are until you see things like this. The hard part is to keep that humble attitude in check.

Thursday night we had a wonderful American turkey dinner and even watched a bit of the Green Bay Packer game at a local pub!! Friday lunch was a goulash meal (very tasty). Friday night we ate at TGIFridays and had a wonderful margarita and hamburger! Saturday lunch was another traditional Czech meal and Saturday night was American pub food (potato skins, chicken fingers, onion rings, etc.). And throughout the days, we snacked on traditional Czech pastries and desserts. It was a great food smorgasboard!

My souvenir purchases were mostly food items--American and Czech! I did buy one small item for myself to remember my travels. It was always a bit daunting when you saw your bill in Czech crowns and had to convert to Euros.....our turkey dinner for 3 people was 1,396 crowns which was about 50 euros---but when you see a bill with 1,396 on it for food, you can help but get a hot flash!

I wont bore you with my stories as they probably wouldnt be as funny written down but suffice to say, I had a wonderful time. I am happy I chose Venice to live in as I do love this city. But I am also happy I experienced Prague. Not only did I get to see more history, but my eyes became more global and that is priceless.


Ashley said...

We are very jealous of the margarita!!!!

Imani said...

What wonderful pictures...I take it the goulash is what is in the bread bowl...yummy! I never thought of Prague as a place to visit until now. Thank you for sharing.

Heather said...

Ahh... just as beautiful as I remember. It is disappointing about the sex stuff they are into... was not there when I went, but that was back in 1993, right after they split from the Soviet Union.

Gil said...

The good thing is that a dose of "frostbite" didn't make you end up in a hospital. You must have one heck of a camera as the pictures are so SHARP! They are also very beautiful and everything looks so clean and no graffiti!

Thanks for posting them.

Monica said...

Ciao Susan!
You are sooooooooo Italian now!!! you always talk about food as we do! welcome in our club!
About the heater: well we don't have so much sources, we buy them from Russia and our governemet hopes it won't be a very cold winter in Russia because in this case they will use their sources for them and won't sell them to Italy!!! Could you understand why we are so afraid of using heater?
Anyway in the south we use less heater than Venitian do!

Susan said...

Gil...we had fantastic weather.....couldnt have asked for a nicer weekend! And thanx for noticing my camera...its almost 5 years old (Fuji) but I love it...was just thinking of getting a new one but maybe i will wait! haha

Anonymous said...

I love that the bread bowl had "handles". The photos are great.

Daniel said...

I visited Prague two times! And enjoyed my trips so much! Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe especially due to its historical sights. And also it is a modern European city with a big choice of restaurants, cafes with traditional Czech cuisine and amazing night-clubs (I liked one night-club on the ship board) and Prague hotels, which offers free transportation from airport!
Just look around at the great monuments, the Prague Castle with the Golden Lane and the St Vitus Cathedral, the facades in different colors and styles along the Vltava, the 1001 peaks all around, the numerous cathedrals, basilicas, churches, synagogues, the national theater, the lovely little alleys and so much more.

Anonymous said...

I’ve been to Prague many times and I never get sick of it. I love the small streets and the mystic environment, its like magnet to me. Walking from street to street, even if alone always makes me feel so small but at the same time so well connected to the city. I found the city very safe, as you can check in this link form the government. I never had a problem for being out until late and alone or ever saw any incident.
What I also enjoy in this city is the night life, the Prague music clubs are all so cozy and have such a nice environment and decoration and make you want to stay long. If you want to go there again I leave you here a nice site with good clubs to go.

Carl said...

Interesting peace of information about the beautiful and city of spires,Prague,pictures are just awesome about the city.


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