Part 5/Prague

Getting into Prague about 8 PM, I do the quick walk from the train station to the hotel. Once I’m checked into the hotel, I decided it was too long of a day for me to go out again for dinner, so instead I ordered room service for the first time this trip, and ended up ordering the duck. I’m sure my parrot back home doesn’t approve of me eating her feathered friends. Though, apparently eating duck is something you’re supposed to do in Prague, or so I’ve been told.

Room service duck

This is also the first time on this trip that I am not staying in a Hilton property. Instead I am staying in a Sofitel property, that was once the office of Franz Kafka.

While I appreciated Rotterdam for the large amount of their core that they dedicated to pedestrian space, Prague has done this to an even greater extent. Plus, unlike Rotterdam where most of the people were getting around via bike, here people were getting around mostly via walking or the tram system.

On my first day out in Prague, I headed to a French pastry shop for breakfast. This was the first day of this trip without hotel breakfast, so I had to get out and find something else. I followed this up with a trip to a Starbucks, located inside a shopping mall next door to my hotel.

I decided then to go back to the hotel room and make future plans, deciding that my next stop is going to be Vienna, where I would head three days later, and I would once again be staying in a Hilton, mostly by using points I had accumulated in my prior cities on this sabbatical. I love it when corporations give me free stuff.

Now, it was time for me to get out again, so I take a walk across old town, past the powder tower, and across Charles Bridge. Prague is quite hilly, almost like my home of Seattle, so I needed to take a couple of breaks along the way. I then took a tram back to the old town, which resulted in a charge on my credit card of 4 cents. Which takes me to my next point, that everything is cheep in Prague. Sure, its a bit more expensive if you stick to the tourist oriented stuff and activities, however, the up charge for that is pretty much a normal expense of traveling. If however, you just stick to the places catering to locals, you can easily get a meal for under 5 dollars.

After taking the tram back to the hotel area, I had a lunch of a goat cheese salad. I’ve been trying to eat healthier for this trip. Having something like a salad for lunch is something I would have never considered previously. And if I had taken off then for six weeks the way that I am now I probably would have eaten terribly the entire trip. Yet, now, in my mid forties, I am trying to eat healthier. Although, I did follow this salad up with a beer, can’t be healthy all the time.

I then took a hop on hop off bus tour of Prague, which not only got me out of the core tourist area, but got me off my feet for a while. I’m still trying to bring my ankle back to health from spraining it just before the start of this trip. So far, its coming along, but it still bothers me after standing on it for a few hours at a time.

For dinner that night, I headed to a bar for chicken gnocchi, not really the local flavor, but none the less, it worked, and it was not a burger. After that, I did some evening people watching, and managed to get completely lost in relation to my hotel. Thankfully, Apple Maps was able to tell me that I had wandered in the wrong direction, and essentially need to walk for about another 20 minutes to get back to the hotel, to turn in for the evening.

The following morning I sleep in a bit, until 8 am, and headed out to see if I could find another cafe for breakfast. However, after wandering around for a while, visiting the various cafe’s that showed up on Apple Maps, none of the places opened until 9 or 9:30. Finally, I found a Starbucks and went there. Generally, I love Starbucks for coffee, having had it so far every morning on this trip, but their food leaves a lot to be desired. However, being the only place that was open at 8:45 that morning, I decided to give in and get a chocolate muffin for breakfast. It was about what is to be expected. Edible, but nothing too spectacular.

After going back to the hotel do do my morning writing, I made my way up to Prague Castle, uggh, why do they always need to put these things on hills, with so many steps involved. Making it to the castle, it gave me a good view of the whole town. After hanging out up there a couple of hours, I thought about going into the church, but there was a line of river cruse people trying to get in at the same time I was, so I declined. Instead, I walked back down to the hill and made my way to the Astronomical Clock.

A few blocks away from the clock, then was the Prague Hard Rock Caffe. I haven’t been to one of these since the 90’s, but decided to get my usual bar fare from Seattle of beer and nachos for lunch.

At this point, I decided I should look into how I am going to get to Lisbon in a couple of weeks. So, after a couple of beers, I went ahead and made flight reservations from Barcelona, a city I was planning to visit later, to Lisbon, as well as hotel accommodations for the first few nights before my wife joins me, and we spend our time in Portugal hanging out in AirBNB’s.

After that, I went to the Lidl grocery store, to purchase some additional tortilla chips to absorb the alcohol, in addition to the nachos that I had had at that point.

That evening, heading out, I was initially going to just go to Mcdonalds for something quick. However, upon thinking about it for a second, decided that this being my last night in Prague, and since I have stayed under budget for this trip so far, I should splurge for something fancy, so I got myself some pork schnitzel from a Czech restraurnt on the pedestrian plaza.

The following morning, I got up again and headed to Cosa Coffee. I checked the weather forecast for Prague and saw it’s now supposed to be quite a bit cooler next week. Winter is coming. I’m starting to think I am going to have to buy a thicker coat at some point. I checked the weather in Vienna, and it was largely the same. Being in Vienna until Sunday, I need to decide if I want to go a southern route from there, or more northern. If I go north, through Zurich, to France, I know what trains and rail routes I should take. However, going south, through Italy, I am less certain of what trains I should take, and it appears I might need to take an overnight train, which I am trying to avoid. This is something I’m going to have to sort out in the coming days, as I don’t really have space in my luggage to include a heavy coat as well as what I have currently packed.

A little after noon, I hoped on the train to my next destination, Vienna.

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