Day One Prague
Every single first impression was a positive one. The airport was new and spotless. The airport hotel was clean and the Czech Goulash to die for. The cab ride into the Crowne Plaza was a little expensive, but it beat the bus and two tram changes for the newbies in town.
Our hotel is an old original hotel of the Soviet leadership when they were in control. The markings on the hotel are still of Soviet influence. We arrived before our room was ready and the staff was extremely helpful with the public transport into the Old Town area. The tram is right in front of the hotel and 3 tram stops away is the metro which was 3 stops to Old town. 26 Czech Krowns or about $1.25 one way.
The original part of Prague is as beautiful of an old city as I have been to anywhere in Europe… or the world. The architecture is beautiful and the buildings are adorned with unque sculptures and carvings. The weather was perfect in the low 70′s with not a cloud in the sky. Old town was very busy for a Sunday afternoon, filled with tourists. Again we did not hear many Americans, but the waiter at the outdoor cafe spoke English well enough for us to understand. Friendly people again.
I just can’t rave about the food enough. This stuff just fits my palate to a “T”. A bowl of goulash soup with meat potatoes and vegetables fills you up. With bread to soak up the juices, it is magnificent. We will seek out another Czech restaurant for dinner!
Breakfasts are not included in the PointsBreak stays. They were a rip off at the airport Holiday Inn and here at the Crowne Plaza. $20-$25 is way out of line and the buffet is minimal at best.
Monday we are off to Hunta Kora, a small town on the outskirts, about 70 kilometers away to see the Bone Church with altars and adornments made from the bones of 40,000 Czechs. A famous saying by a matron at the church is that: ”It is not the bones that scare her, but the living that scare her most.”
Tuesday is Cesky Krumov and the medieval town, a UNESCO site, is 3 hours away by tour group bus ride. I’ll leave the driving to them and watch the countryside roll by.
Wednesday will be the Prague Castle and at some point we hope to hook up with Zach who emailed me saying he is on a last minute holiday in Prague and wants to have a coffee or soft drink.
First Day Impressions: Come to Prague. You’ll be glad you did!
Budapest was a 4 day adventure that should have been three. It is so hard to tell how long to spend in each city and I guessed with all of these. We did the Capital Hill (Budapest), the Baths and Hero Square, and the shopping district with the rest of the tourists and farmer’s market. We did lots of walking and have a good feeling for the people of Hungary. They were all warm, helpful, and courteous.
Traffic was atrocious at times, but what big city isn’t crowed with cars. The buildings, although old, are mostly in good repair or being modernized. The McDonalds at the train station was the nicest one I’ve ever been to. It was built in the entire original station with high ceilings, crown molding and all.
Maybe we have traveled so much in our lives, but it just did not seem unusual to me. I couldn’t understand a word of the language, but it was not issue. With a map and a finger point, we got where we needed to go. I don’t think we ever got ripped off, but we could have taken cheaper cabs. The Mercedes cabs just happened to be in front of the hotel and they cost a few bucks more. A cab ride was $15 instead of $10 in a street cab.
The food was fantastic. I had goulash soup 3 times, a variation of a pork dish with paprika and onions, at the outdoor stalls for the National Gallop Horse show and breakfast on the house in the Hilton. The pastries were also outstanding as was the ice cream.
In short, I’m glad we came and have now seen Budapest. I doubt if we will be back, but you never know.
Our flight on the 6th to Prague was non-stop on Malev Hungarian again. We stayed the first night at the Holiday Inn at the airport as we had an 8 PM arrival. Our next 4 nights are at the Crowne Plaza on a 5,000 per night PointsBreak special. We will be going outside the city twice during this stay to a historical city and the church with the human bone altar? Weird ,huh?
City life is OK, but we’re happier when we get out in the countryside. More photos and reports to come!