So, I have been delinquent in my updates, but here goes: after Hamburg I took the bus to Berlin, and then then train to Prague, the Golden City of Europe. It lived up to its hype! The city is really really beautiful, as it was never bombed during the world wars, so it is pretty much complete. It was also a trade and political center forever it has always been rich and put a ton of money into the churches, statues, buildings etc... and gold plated everything! It is pretty amazing because the gold hasn't really tarnished or weathered like the stone or copper so it really stands out. I had booked a hostel for the evening I arrived, but the directions weren't so good (and I didn't follow them exactly...) so i wandered around until 10:00 pm trying to find it, while it was snowing and extremely icy roads... that was fun! I ended not finding it and settling for one above a pub which worked out well... and got me a good head start with their most excellent beer: Pilsner Urquell (Pils in local terms). My uncle John had told me about it and it definately lived up to my expectations! The Czechs drink more beer per capita than anyone else in Europe, and I can see why! That is all I drank when i was there... a 0.5 liter of Pils was about $1.50 and a 0.25 liter of water is about $2.50, so... yeah... I hydrated heavily with Pils!
I think that I agree with most Europeans that Prague is just about the perfect city: its in a beautiful setting, its expected to drink lots of great beer, good cheap food, and there are really beautiful people there. Besides many of the women being tall and slender, their basic fashion consists of black tights, really tall boots and really short skirts. Like I said, the perfect combination :).
I spent 2 full days just wandering the city, I pretty much just put the map in my pocket and started walking from one spire to the next and covered a lot of parts of the city that most tourists never see. It is crazy how many smaller churches and just regular buildings that have some sort of really neat architecture there is in a city like that, and I really enjoyed discovering them.
I walked about 6 or 8 hours a day and by nightfall, I was beat. I didnt remember how hard 8 hours of walking was! This puts a crimp in the social aspect of travelling because europeans dont go out early! They head out around 11 pm (some clubs dont even open until 9 even on weeknights!) and stay out all hours. Its insane! I decided to go for it the second night and ended up meeting a tour group of mostly Austrailians and we hit a few of the local clubs until we decided to go home sometime after 5 am... unfortunately there are no straight streets in the town and i got lost, so i didnt get home until 6:30... and I had to meet Karli (moved from Boise) at 10 am!
3 hours later, I was back on the streets, found Karli and we toured all day, which was nice. We met up with one of the Austrailians, Sandra, a med student from Tazmania for coffee at lunch and I hope to meet up with them when I make it down that way! They were a blast, so it would be fun to get the local tour from them! Karli has her own blog that has the pictures of that day, so check it out at: http://karlibell.blogspot.com. I wont go into any more detail, except: at the end of the day, we found this great little mom and pop restaurant and it was one of the most excellent meals that I have ever had. I dont know if I was just really hungry, or if it really was that good but it was superb! The steak was pickled and then peppered, (I got it because it seemed like a good local choice...) and was very suprised- delicious! somehow, they also mananged to make the best potato wedges I have ever had (like the insides were mashed with butter... yum!), fresh bread, vegtables and then the Pils just topped it off! It doesnt sound like much, but combined with the local atmosphere, it was amazing!
I left the following morning for Koln (Colonge) but thats the next blog!