Hello, this is Dave here to do a little update on our travels. From Berlin we took a train to Prague a little over a week ago. When we arrived at the train station there we only had our Euros from Germany but no Czec money (koruna.) So we got some money at the ATM but it only gave us large bills. Since we needed small change for the subway ticket machine I had to go buy a cheese burger at McDonalds to break the bills. And then when we got back to the ticket machine I realized we still didn't have enough change so I had to go buy another cheese burger. I wasn't really hungry since I'd eaten on the train but I scarfed down the one burger. And I kept the other because I figured I'd give it to the next homeless person I saw, but unfortunately there were none around. I ate it cold later that night.
We had heard wonderful rave reviews of Prague and about how gorgeous it is. But when we walked out of the train station we were a little let down. Our bus ride from the subway to the hotel didn't make us feel much better either. The town, at least where we were, was pretty run down and looked like any other dingy graffiti-ridden city. But we knew that our hotel was far from the Old Town which is where the tourist draw is and where all the beautiful old buildings were. So we were looking forward to getting down there, but it was late when we got into town so we hung out in our hotel doing some reading and writing and then turned in.
The beauty of Old Town didn't disappoint when we finally got down there the next day. We went to the castle and church up on the hill where we got a great view looking over the city.
View from the castle:
Afterward we came down through some narrow cobble stone streets. The sun was setting, which it does at the early hour of 4:00, and the old street lamps went on. It was really gorgeous. We saw that a tavern offered "mead" which we just had to try since you always see people drinking it in medieval time movies. The waiter didn't know what we were talking about and kept thinking we were asking for "meat" which we thought was strange because it clearly said "mead" out on the sign. But fortunately, after much back-and-forth, he finally understood what we wanted and said, "oh, honey wine!" So we learned that mead is just another name for honey wine, as if just "honey wine" isn't cool enough or something. We tried it and Lynette said she'd never have to drink it again, not a big fan. She likened it to a liquid form of Halls cough drops, which I thought was a pretty good description.
There is a great old stone bridge across the river with sculptures along its walls. We passed across it several times during our few days in Prague. And every time we saw something different.
View of the castle and cathedral from the bridge:
There is a huge astronomical clock on one of the towers in the Old Town. On the hour the little doors above the clock open and you can see little statues moving by inside. And a skeleton on the outside bobs its head while ringing a bell in its hand. We didn't even know about this clock and its little show, but we found out later its a huge tourist site. We walked by it several times for the first few days we were there but I guess never at the top of the hour. Then on our last day we happened by and saw this huge crowd gathered out front looking up at it. It was 5 minutes til so we figured something was going to happen and stuck around for the show. Supposedly the clock is said to be the most over rated tourist attraction in Europe. And granted, I guess it is nothing SPECTACULAR so maybe if we had known about it and came there specifically to see it then it might have been a little disappointing, but since we didn't even know it was there we thought it was pretty cool to see. That's the upside to not doing any research beforehand.
We thought the story of the clock was rather interesting. Supposedly, "way-back-when" (not sure exactly when) the king wanted to do something grand and beautiful within the city to set it apart from others and to make it special and unique. So he commissioned a wise clock maker to design and construct the huge astronomical clock with its fanciful display. Once the clock was completed it was a huge success and people came from all over to admire its beauty. But the king realized that if the clock maker could build this one then he could also build ones in other cities, making his city not so special anymore. So to prevent this he had the clock maker blinded! (How wrong is that?!) But the clock maker eventually got revenge when many years later he was able to get up into the tower. He glided his hands across the clock workings and flipping some kind of mechanism brought the gears to a halt. No one saw what he did and could not figure out how to turn it back on. So it remained out of commission for over a hundred years until finally another wise clock maker was able to figure out how to get it working again, luckily for us.
We were in Prague for Thanksgiving, but as I'm sure you can guess, they do not celebrate this American holiday there. So we missed out on any turkey feasts. Instead we went to the laundromat and got some much needed washing done. Later we did get out to a nice place for dinner but had some tastey pork ribs and some good Prague beer instead.
Some other shots from around Prague:
a tower of books at a Prague library:
So from Prague it was back on the train to Munich. So we are now back in Germany. We left too early from Prague to partake in the hotel's breakfast so we just had enough time to grab a danish on the way to the train. The ride was to be 6 hours and most long train rides have a food car so we figured we'd head there later for lunch. But once on the train we learned that there was no food car on this trip. So we ate what now seemed like our pea sized danishes and by the end of the 6 hour journey we were starving. Luckily all sorts of food stands and cafes awaited us at the Munich station and we quickly gobbled down some fantastic bratwursts.
We sure have had some great food on this trip and this continues to be the case here in Germany. Tonight for dinner I had what I can only imagine would classify as the largest pork chop known to mankind. It said "jumbo chop" on the menu but I guess I didn't really know how true that would turn out to be. It is served with fries but I actually ordered an additional small side of pasta which ended up being absolutely unnecessary. I should have known when the waiter began to walk away after I ordered the chop and then his eyes nearly bulged from his head when I stopped him and asked for the extra pasta dish, as if to say "this boy can eat!" or "this boy doesn't know what he's in for!" But of course he didn't warn me. Anyway, this thing came out and it was the size of the plate, literally! But it was so good, fried in a golden brown breading. Not at all healthy, but Lynette and I have put any concept of a healthy diet out the window for this trip. So when we return home you may notice a bit more strain around the button on our pants. I was not able to finish the jumbo chop and barely made a dent in the pasta, but I assure you I gave it quite a go.
Here's just a few shots from Munich. I'll put up more later. For now I have to go to bed. Good night.