I am not Short!

No comment

I studied some Czech politics in the university so I wanted to talk to someone who was involved in Czech politics. How should I know that he was an ultra nationalist? Only after I started to talk to him, and saw his shirt, that I realized he was a neo-nazi....Oops.

I love eating at the square, I love people watching and seeing all the activities

Prague: Day 1

Looking out the window, all I could think was, "Man...we are REALLY in Eastern Europe now. Man..." The buildings, the factories, and machinery all looked liked they were made in 1953. Very cold-war.

Prague, Czech Republic

Our train ambled into the main Prague station at about 9am (we were late by an hour). We were tired, hungry, and we had no Czech Kroners (no Euros here yet...) But finding money was not as easy as Rick Steves claimed. We went up and down the train station at least three times, climbing up and down stairs looking for an ATM. We really only needed the equivalent of $0.50 for both of us to ride the train, but we had nada. And time was ticking. We wanted to get to Prague Castle before all the "tourists" made it up there. But the seconds and minutes ticked away before we finally found the lone ATM machine tucked away in a quiet corner, got some cash, and had a quick bite to eat in the station, while we watched the crazy Czech train-station denizens watch us.

The subway in Prague was very fast and efficient, and dumped us off on the outskirts of Old Town. Momentary disorientation passed and we found our hotel (and a sushi place right across the street!)

They let us check in, gave us map of the city, and we were off!

This is where we were trying to get to

And just as quickly we were lost. I mean, look at this map man! Were the early Praguites suffering from dementia? We tried to head towards the Charles bridge (and thus to the castle), but got totally turned around and ended up way south along the river. But at least from there we could see the bridge, castle, and a vague route to get to said sites.

Prague Castle

Lin-Wei downed a quick snack at a deli, and we climbed climbed climbed up the stairs to the Castle. By now it was around 10:30am, and the place was PACKED with these scurrying tourists. Our ticket for the castle got us into six sites (numbered 1-6, with 1 being the already overflowing Cathedral), so we did them in reverse order.

Home sweet Home

First up was a series of shops that made Lin-Wei feel that she had finally found her people. All the doors were about four feet high.

Next, an old guard turret, with a very disturbing statue outside.

We next saw the residenze and some other random crap along the walls before heading into the Cathedral. As cathedrals go, it was pretty standard, but of course we climbed to the top of the bell tower (despite numerous warnings that it would be difficult. Pah!). And we did get to see the crypt and the grave of Charles IV, one of the Holy Roman Emperors. That is some A+ history there, my friend.

Where is your god now?

At lunch just outside the castle walls we were munching on our lunch when some Europeans came into our little room and asked if we minded if they smoked. Up till today we had had to endure the smoking of nearly everyone around us at nearly every meal, and it was getting a little tiring. So, we sighed, and Lin-Wei, "This is Europe, do whatever you want..." But they were nice enough to take it into the next room!

Joseph - Jewish Quarter

Jewish cemetary in Prague

There is no time for a Bonney to rest on vacation, so our next stop was the Prague Jewish quarter, also known as Joseph. Seven hundred years of Jewish history in Prague was laid out over a number of sites. Most moving where the Temple with names of all those killed during the Holocaust written on the walls, and the old Jewish cemetery. For hundreds of years the Jews were only allowed to bury their dead in this one place, so over time they had to put grave on top of grave, raising the "ground level" much higher than the streets surrounding it. Thus there were many gravestones per plot, and over time it just became a sight of chaos.

Our walk back to the Old Town Square was subdued, but once back we took time to relax and people watch while sipping some dark Czech beer at an outdoor cafe.

Lin-Wei rested for a bit that afternoon while I took the subway back to the main train station trying to get information on routes to Kunta Hora the next day. Kunta Hora was described as a quaint little Czech town, but more importantly, it had a silver mine, and was the site of a church made almost entirely out of human bones. Yes sir!

The lady at the tourist office gave me some very confusing information about trains to Kutna Hora, and the confusing instructions were reconfirmed by the woman at our hotel. So we figured we'd wing it the next day and see what happened.

And I've taken the liberty of adding your tip, sir

That night we ate dinner at a restaurant on the old town square. Now, all the restaurants were very touristy there, and they charged accordingly, but we were eating right on the square, with all the hubbub, and the food was decent, so we didn't care too much. The waiter made sure to point out that he was adding 20% to the bill for his tip, which in regular Czech tipping terms is outrageous, but whatever.

After dinner we saw a bunch of guys handing out information in a white tent on the square, and they had a picture of a left-turn arrow inside a crossed out circle. Lin-Wei started to talk to them, and the guy seemed really nice to her, despite the gray eagle on his shirt clutching a nationalist symbol. So the left-turn thing was an anti-left political statement, nice. Lin-Wei said that only after she started talking to the guy did she notice his shirt. So she made some new Nazi friends that day.

Prague at twilight

Some magical pictures of the castle and local churches were taken, and we took a quick stroll through the red-light district (conveniently located two blocks from our hotel!). We got totally lost there. Yes, only two blocks from our hotel we got totally lost, and ended up back near the Old Town Square. That is one messed up city plan, man. We then turned in for the night to be fresh for Kutna Hora.

Kutna Hora and the Bone Church

Copyright (c) The Sticklers 2006