Back to Prague

Trip Start Oct 20, 2003
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13
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Trip End Dec 22, 2004


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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

We had a great visit with Tom and Bev. Because they had to fly into Frankfurt on 11 May , we took the train over to get them. We went over the day before they arrived. The train ride was very interesting. It is beautiful between here and Dresden. You go through a very hilly area near the border which is a big tourist area. The tracks follow the Elbe River for miles. Lots of Lombardy Poplars and flowering trees of all sorts. The trip from Dresden to Frankfurt was notable because of the miles and miles of rapeseed fields. They were in full bloom and the brilliant yellow of the flowers almost hurt the eyes to look at the fields. You could also notice the difference in architecture between Germany and CR. The train to Frankfurt from Dresden was a bullet train. Very fast. The engineer sat in an open cabin at the same level as the rest of the cars. You could look out past him and see the tracks.

Like most European cities we have seen, public transport is wonderful in Frankfurt. We got off the train and caught the subway to the airport. At the airport we found out where they would deplane in the morning. We then caught a hotel bus to our Holiday Inn Express. It was about five miles from the airport. Like most hotels we have seen, it was expensive. The room was small but clean. One interesting point was the wc/bathroom. The room was arranged so that when you opened the door to enter you closed off the wc area. A rather ingenious design, we thought. We ate at a small Italian restaurant down the street from the hotel. It was the only thing around. It was good, but expensive.

In the morning we collected Bev and Tom and put them on the subway and then the train home. Bev slept quite a bit and toward the end of the trip, Tom kept nodding off.

They slept late the next day and were pretty well rid of their jet lag by the time we headed to Vienna on the 13th. We put them on the D tram and took them to our pension. Since we couldn't stay at our regular one, we took one right around the corner. It was very nice and large. There were two bedrooms, a bath, a wc, and a large parlor. Bev and Tom were very impressed. After settling in, we walked down Kaertnerstrasse to Stephansdom then around to the Winter Palace. On the way we looked in at the fancy Julius Meinl supermarket and stopped for a beer (soda for Bev) at a typical Viennese coffee house across the square from the rear of the Winter Palace. We walked through the Port Couchiere (spelling) to the square beyond. In the square we saw lovely blooming trees. The flowers looked like purple horse chestnut flowers. We saw the Rathouse and walked on between the National Museums. We then walked up through Spittleburg to our favorite restaurant, the Neubau. After a wonderful dinner of Schnitzel, potato salad, and beer, we retraced our steps so we could see the city by night.

The breakfast at the hotel was quite good. Besides the normal cold cuts, cheese, breads, rolls, butter, jams, cereals, and fruit, they were serving eggs. Tom and Fred both ordered one. They came in an eggcup. They were brown eggs with heavy shells. I wish I had a picture of the two of them trying to eat their eggs! One thing for certain, they aren't Englishmen!

Tom wanted to see the Danube, so in the morning we took the number 1 tram around the city to the Danube canal. The tram goes by many of the landmarks in the city and it is a very nice ride. We walked along the river and saw a tour boat about to leave. We hopped on and took a two-hour trip down the canal and then up the Danube to Vorgatenstrasse. During the trip we went through a large lock on the Danube. The weather was mostly cloudy and chilly, so Tom and Bev spent more time inside than outside. Towards the end we all got cold and went downstairs to the bar for beer and hot chocolate. After leaving the boat we walked to the Underground and took it back to Stephansdom. From there we went to the hotel and collected our luggage. Then on to the Sudbahnhoff and the train home. They really enjoyed the short visit.

In Prague we visited Old Town Square with the Astronomical Clock, Tyn Church and beautiful buildings, Wenceslas Square, Charles Bridge, Mala Strana, St. Vitus Cathedral, and the Castle. (Bev fell in love with one of the guards at the Castle so we had to get a picture of her with him. She put Tom in the picture to make it look good.) We traveled by tram and Metro. We all had passes, so we didn't have to worry about buying tickets.

We had lots of food. The restaurant in Mala Strana wasn't a hit, but the Golden Keg sure was. Another big hit was having a beer while eating foot-long klobusy al fresco. We did that on two occasions: Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square. Great people watching.

One day we took a twenty-minute carriage ride around Old Town and the Jewish Quarter. Again the weather was cool but not uncomfortable.

We introduced them to daily shopping trips and cheap food prices. We also introduced them to paying for shopping carts and carrying your own bags to the supermarket. Seeing the cashiers sitting down was also new to them. Money was a bit of a challenge. We don't think they had trouble with the Euro, but the Czech Korun was a bit of a challenge.

On the 18th we took them to the main train station by tram during the morning rush hour. It was packed but the four of us managed to get on with all the luggage. They made it back to Frankfurt and the hotel with no problems (at least that is what they told us). We were really glad they came and feel that it was probably a trip they won't easily forget.
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