Prague

Pardon my absence...after Vermont, I worked, ran a half marathon, worked again, and then left the country. I guess I've been busy.

Wednesday/Thursday

We left Anchorage at 1:30am on Wednesday, flew to Seattle, then to LAX. In LA we had to hike across the airport in 80 degree weather...in our sweatshirts...to get to the international terminal. Once we got there, we had to check in and then wait in the not very long, but extremely slow security line. We had some coffee and lunch while we waited to board our flight to Amsterdam.

We flew KLM, on a 747, which turned out to be relatively comfortable given the number of people they manage to mash into the airplane. The entertainment (personal TVs) selection was good and they fed us at least twice (I was asleep most of the time, so I don't know if they fed us more than that). KLM might be my new favorite airline. Pretty much the least amount of nonsense I have ever seen on a plane. We took off out of LA and very shortly after we hit 10,000 feet (or got out of LA air traffic) they turned off the seat belt sign and did not turn it back on until we were landing in Amsterdam. Also, as we neared the gate in Amsterdam, people stared getting up before we stopped and no one said anything (quite the contrast from the big scene that was caused on our flight into LA when the guy behind us tried to get up to take his daughter to the bathroom while we were stopped waiting for traffic on our taxi into the gate).

We had a few hours to kill in Amsterdam, so we walked around a bit and had a snack. We were both so tired when we got on our flight to Prague that we fell asleep before we left the ground and pretty much didn't wake up until we arrived in Prague.

When we arrived in Prague we collected our bags (we didn't have to go through customs because we had done that in Amsterdam and the Czech Republic is also a Schengen country) and then took a bus to the Metro, took a train, transferred to a different line and went another few stops and then walked to the apartment we are staying in. The owner of the pension took us to our room gave us keys and a whole bunch of information about what to see.

Then we decided to take a short nap...which turned into a longer nap. Finally we got up and went in search of dinner. There was a reasonable looking Italian place just down the street where we had delicious freshly made pasta and gnocci (I have since learned that Italian food is everywhere here...even the Afghan restaurant we went to had pizza). It was delicious!

After dinner we stopped at the grocery store to get some breakfast food items and snacks and then headed home to bed.

Friday

We got up around 8, had breakfast in our apartment (yogurt, muesli, and rolls with salami) and then headed out for our day. Along the way we stopped for coffee.

First we went to the Old Town Square where we saw the Astronomical Clock and a couple of churches.

Then we went to the Jewish Museum (several sites around Josefov, the old Jewish town). We saw several synagogues and a cemetery that supposedly has 100,000 people buried in it, 12 layers deep (you can see approximately 12,000 gravestones at this time). Some of the oldest graves are from the 14th century and it was last used in 1787. The synagogues had collections of Jewish historical items (from religious items to people's report cards), and our guidebook said that the only reason those things are even there is because the Nazi's collected them with the intent of making a museum of "an extinct race."

After brushing up on our Jewish history, we had lunch - goulash for me and chicken in some delicious sauce for John. After lunch we walked across the Charles Bridge, went to the bridge museum, then walked along the river to a fortress that has a cemetery where Dvorak is buried.

After doing a lot of walking...we were tired and took the Metro home. We laid down with the intention of taking a short nap, but we both fell asleep for longer than expected and when we woke up, neither of us felt like going anywhere or eating anything for dinner, so we ate a granola bar and went to bed.

Today (Saturday) we had breakfast at the Cafe Imperial (in the Hotel Imperial) and then went to Prague Castle. We poked around there for a while, saw St. Vitus Cathedral, which was rather impressive. It's where St. John of Nepomuk is buried, he's famous for getting pushed to his death off the Charles Bridge because he wouldn't tell King Wenceslas I the Queen's confessions.

We had another delicious lunch - John had goulash and I had dumplings stuffed with smoked meat and sauerkraut on the side, and then headed to the train station to inquire about tickets to Poland for tomorrow.

Turns out it's cheaper to buy them tomorrow (some kind of Sunday special). Then we headed back to our apartment to regroup, I had a nap, John did not. Then it was time for dinner. We found a delicious Middle Eastern restaurant, I had lamb kebab and John had ravioli stuffed with meat and mint.

Now it's time for bed because we have to get up and going in the morning so we can catch our train to Poland (Wroclaw...we'll be hunting for gnomes there...stay tuned!).