Saturday, June 19, 2010

Czech Me Out - Part 1 Prague (Post #15)

March 17 myself and six of my friends; George, Brandon, Seth, Kelly, Isa, and Juri went to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. From Milan to Prague was maybe an hour flight which flew by. A little background info for you guys is that my friend Kelly knew a girl from UCal back home who is studying in Prague. The three girls stayed at her place just across the river while the four of us guys stayed in a hostel in the center of town. Our hostel was in a great location because we were a five minute walk from all of the historic sites and center of Prague. In addition, the girls had to wake up an hour earlier than we did because they had to shower, get ready, and then walk 25 minutes to get to our hostel so it worked out perfect!

We got off the plane and immediately went to an ATM in the airport to withdraw Korunas which is the Czech currency. It asks us whether we want to withdraw 1000, 2000, or 4000 Korunas whereas in the US I think the options are like $40, $60, $80, and $100. Haha we hesitantly went up 1 by 1 to withdraw; I strategically placed myself last so I could figure out the conversion rate in my head. 1 USD is 18.something Korunas so 1000 Koruna is the equivalent of about 55 USD. The Korunas come out in very colorful bills with values of 500, 1000, 2000, and 5000. Hahaha we thought Euros looked like paper money; Korunas put that to shame. (We later find out there are also Bills of 20, 50, 100, and 200 Korunas while they have so many coins I will not even get into it).

Both groups have directions how to get to their destination. The guys grab the first bus and are on our way as the girls wait for the second bus. We get a little confused because everything is written in Czech and Seth's directions apparently were a little shaky. As a result, we hop off the bus so we can check a map out at the stop. We realize we need a different numbered Bus and it comes within three minutes. We all get on and there we find the three girls on this bus. Immediately they start making fun of us because we got lost for a minute. We all get off the bus and take the metro to our destinations and say we will meet at a certain place and time. We got out of the metro station and we ascend to street level. Wow, it was beautiful. We saw one big gothic church right off the bat as we looked straight ahead and we turn left while standing in place and see another beautiful gothic building. The guys went to the hostel to check in as the girls were doing their thing. The receptionist at the hostel was super cool, extremely helpful, and spoke English very well. To the right of the desk were 3 computers which we constantly found ourself at whenever we were at the hostel. We got in our rooms and it was very colorful (no joke!) and very neat as you can see below. As you can see it was indeed colorful as hell with the bright orange comforters and crimson red rug. Seth is on the left, George is in the middle, and Brandon is on the right. I slept in the middle bed if it matters to anyone and I slept like a baby every night. The bathroom was very nice as well even though in the shower you push a knob to get the water going. It slowly comes back out as your shower runs out so you have to constantly push the damn knob in. The bathroom and shower are depicted below.
Oh, and our "included towels" was the size of a wash cloth so I literally dried myself off with a wash cloth every day.

We left to meet the girls in the center of town. A couple of us including myself got Pizza for 80 Korunas while the rest ate at KFC. YEAH! Some American food! Never have that option in Italy besides McDonalds. After eating we all walked down towards the main attractions just to scope some stuff out. We took a minute to decide where we wanted to go. I snapped a picture that we all enjoyed very much. You can see everyone talking while George is taking a picture of god knows what. Can you find George twice in the picture to the left? Yea, pretty cool huh? Ha well if you don't like it thats alright because I do. We continued our way through Prague, a very Americanized, midieval city. I mean come on! If anyone appreciates Subway half the amount my brother and I do then you will enjoy this picture. It was the coolest car I saw all week there! We walk another twenty feet and there is another KFC. We walk another block and there is Starbucks whichhhhh we had to stop because Kelly has been dieing to have one since she has gotten to Europe.

We found the Communist Museum and were about to go in it until we saw the price of entry. We were directed to an Information Desk where we ended up purchasing the Prague Card. The Prague Card was like 500 Korunas (about 25 USD) and it includes a brochure packet. It possesses 54 vouchers or free entry tickets to 54 attractions with detailed descriptions of each one. It was a great deal and was valid for four days; the length we would be staying in Prague. As we walked around the city center we were constantly confronted by guys trying to sell us the idea to go to their Irish Bar for celebration of St. Pattys. They were offering flyers and discounts so we told all of them we would be back. The group wanted to get Czech food which consists of mainly meat dishes such as pork, beef, and chicken along with dumplings. Most of them had Goulash or a Beef Entree with dumplings on the side. I simply got a plate of spaghetti. It wasn't a very big portion but it was a solid meal. We were still hungry so we got dessert. To get dessert you had to walk up to the main register where there is a display of the desserts and a number on it. I chose the Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake or whatever the hell it was. It was easily the best part of the meal. We got our check and I freaked out for a second when I saw the total. The total was 1699 Korunas which is about 82 USD. This restaurant was on the corner right in front of the Vltava River. From it you could see the Architecturally-stunning Dancing House which you can see below. It was the only building with this style of architecture that I saw as the rest of the buildings are mostly gothic and some are Baroque.

We all went back to the city center we scanned earlier in which I will go into greater detail in the second part of Prague Blog. It was St. Pattys of course so we went back to one of the Irish bars we passed. It was pretty neat inside as there was a balcony with a bar upstairs looking over the floor and the people enjoying the moment. Live music consisted of this guitarist singing old school songs. It was a great atmosphere between the live music, the drunk locals, and enthusiastic tourists. The best part was that you could request songs. Kelly went up to request a song and the guy didn't know it so he tried to get Kelly to sing it. Lets just say she had no part of that. In the picture below I am wearing a friends hat which you got for free by buying 2 glasses of Guinness.

Prague Part 2 will be Posted soon. I have been greatly struggling trying to keep this going so here is some reading material while I do the next part.

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