Eurotrip 2011: Prague.1

Our travels through Europe have taken us to all kinds of interesting places! Read about each one of them here.

As I concluded in my last Eurotrip post, we had boarded an overnight sleeper train traveling from Amsterdam to Prague. And we both felt pretty pleased with our choice: We had a four-bunk berth all to ourselves, the movement of the train was rocking us to sleep, and we had the anticipation of an unexplored city awaiting us in the morning.

But at 12:26 a.m., as I was completely and utterly fast asleep, my dreams started to include the sound of pounding. The sound was coming from our locked cabin door, but my blurry mind just couldn't compute what on earth could be happening, thinking, How many times does the conductor need to check our tickets?!  Fortunately, NS realized someone desperately needed to come in, and as he undid the chain lock, the conductor (with a thick German accent) barged through the narrow door.

"This bunk is occupied! And this one!" he shouted, pointing at the bunks below us. "So what can I do?!"

My mental response: What a ridiculous question. If you can't figure out what to do, I'm not going to tell you.  With that, I rolled over in disgust. Waking me up with angry, stupid questions is not the way to my heart. Or my cooperation.

Thank goodness for N. He scooped up our stuff and starting putting it all in the few spare spaces on our bunks. I ended up with a backpack at my feet, making the fetal position necessary for the remainder of the night. Not only did I feel more cramped than before, but the knowledge that some stranger was sleeping three feet below me prevented my mind from being 100% at ease.

At any rate, the night did pass, and in the morning I attempted some semblance of my "morning routine" within the areas of the my headspace-cramped top bunk, the shared bottom bunk (that included a mirror AND a male stranger), and the bathroom down the hall. Needless to say, I figured wearing sunglasses would be my safest beauty accessory for the day.

Finally pulling into Prague's main station, we found all signposts and subway maps to be in Czech, which is not a language either one of us was even remotely familiar with. We also quickly discovered that we needed to buy Czech Korunas (approx. CZK17 to $1) to even buy subway tickets. While sorting out our language and currency issues, I was still in zombie-mode from our sleeper car experience, and my 40-pound backpack wasn't getting any friendlier. When we (read: NS) finally got some proper money and figured out the subway map (in his defense, I was absolutely no help), we headed off to the Charles Bridge area to find the segway shop where we had tour reservations later that day.

The Charles Bridge: Grandiose. Imposing. Old.

As you can see, the bridge is a major tourist attraction, which is understandable when you see the views that it boasts:


A hot air balloon? Puffy clouds? Green grass? A river? All this "perfect" scene is missing is a castle.

Oh. Found one:

Our tour guide later told us that due to the lack of bombings during WWII, the Prague cityscape has remained largely unchanged, and the historic buildings are still in tact for us to enjoy today.

Views from the bridge's tower
As we wandered away from the bridge into the town's main square, we were surrounded by colorful buildings, a very elegant astronomical clock tower, and many traditional food and drink stands.

It seemed we were enjoying some sort of autumn-fest (my terminology, not theirs); it reminded me of the Pennsylvania Apple 'n Cheese Festival that my mom used to take us to in Canton, PA. I think some of the best food is made in the fall.

We soon found our hands full of (literally) grilled cheese, fresh pomegranate juice, and cinnamon rolls made on a wooden cylinder.

Cheese that's grilled. Grilled cheese.

So sugary that the bees just can't stay away.

We could have eaten enough for several meals, with all the heavy brats and potatoes and cabbage and onions, cooked in huge cast iron fire pits and grilled before our eyes.

We hung around the square long enough to see the astronomical clock hit 2:00 p.m., which meant all the moving parts starting rotating, and doors starting opening, and little puppets stuck their heads out. And there was a live bugler! I didn't know we still had those in the 21st century.

As you can see, Prague has charm coming out of its pores, which necessitates more than one post on my part. In the next Eurotrip post, I'll share photos and experiences from our segway tour throughout the hilly city of Prague. With only two days in this land of fairytale scenery, we needed to cover ground quickly. Plus, we had to make our way to yet another couchsurfing host's house before Day 2 began. The adventures continue.


  1. JENN! You look amazing, despite your morning routine getting thrown off - haha. I have to pick on a typo - "heavy brats" ? Haha. I got it ;) Prague really does look fairytale-ish! :)

  2. I love the one with the park and the hot air balloon. So whimsical.