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Prague, part 2

So, even though I was just here, a friend wanted to go somewhere and Up had some great prices for good weekend flights to Prague. So, we're here for the weekend.<br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;"><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;">For those who haven't flown Up, it's Elal's discount airline, and like all discount airlines, they charge for everything. Fortunately, we checked in online, only had backpacks for luggage, and ate before the flight, so the only real way we felt "discount" was by the lack of legroom.<br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;"><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;">Upon arrival in Prague, we got a 24-hr public transit pass and headed downtown. We walked around Wencelas square and stopped at one of the 7 Starbucks on the square, since my friend had never had Starbucks before. Seriously- it seemed like there was a Starbucks on every corner. I got "Prague cake," which is a very good chocolate cake. We also stopped at a great cheese store and I bought some very good Gran Moravia cheese. It was halfway between a good cheddar and a parmesan.<br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;"><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;">Next, we walked right past our hotel and into old town, where we saw the astronomical clock and heard some band playing in the square. In general, we did a lot of stuff today that I already saw, so I won't spend a lot of time on those details. We walked up to the river, and had a very calm stroll over to one of the bridges, and then walked across it.<br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;"><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;">From there, we went up the funicular to the top of the city. We enjoyed the nice view, and even played in the snow a bit. That was a nice, but unexpected treat. We walked through the park down to the middle funicular "station" and then finished taking the funicular back down.<br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;"><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;">Next stop was the castle. This time, the cathedral was open, and so I was able to go in. It's a pretty standard cathedral, but the stained glass was gorgeous.<br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;">The castle grounds were quite a bit colder than the rest of the city, so we descended the main ramp back to where it was a bit warmer.<br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;"><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;">We decided that it was hotel time. We are staying at the Hotel Melantrich, which is about a block from the Mustek metro station right downtown in the middle of things. It's a lot nicer than what I usually stay in, but was also reasonably priced, despite the great location and great quality.<br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;"><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;">After getting settled, we went to the mall. Yes, you read that right and no, I don't mean a grassy area like the National Mall in DC. I mean a real shopping mall. My travel partner had said that she'll go with me (tomorrow) to Kutna Hora if I go shopping with her. I warned her that I am not the most useful shopping buddy, but promised to try.<br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;">So, she picked out the malls she wanted to go to and today, we went to one at the Andel metro stop. First, we went to the food court, because we were starving. There are a lot of international chains there, but I also found a local chain that was fast-food vegetarian. They had a by-weight buffet, and I enjoyed all the food I got there. Next, we did shopping. I think she was a bit frustrated because she had been told that all the brand-names were less expensive here than home. Instead, they all had the same items at the same prices. In the end, our only purchases were a few food items from the grocery store. I'll admit that this is not how I want to spend my vacation, but it is also important to me that she gets to do things she wants, as well.<br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;"><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;">After our less-than-successful shopping trip, we came back to the hotel to get ready for going out. The plan was: dinner, pub, club. We made it to dinner ok. We had some buffet-style Indian food that was spices-spicy, but not hot-spicy. Also, it wasn't particularly temperature-hot.<br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;"><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;">We attempted to find a pub that is famous for being very old, but ended up walking past it. At this point, my travel buddy decided that it was maybe a bit too cold to be going out in tights and a sleeveless dress. Also, it was pretty early to be going to pubs, so we ended up back at the hotel again, this time to change and nap.<br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;"><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;">There was actually a place next door, but just walking in coated us in a thick layer of smoke. I turned right around because I couldn't breathe. So, when we finally headed out, we asked the guy at the front desk where to go that was good and not too smokey. He seemed to be under the impression that most places were smoke-free, and sent us to a place by Charles bridge.<br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;"><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;">We first walked the bridge at night and took in the gorgeous views of the city lit up at night. Then, we went over to the club, Karlovy Lazne, which was billed as "the largest music club in Central Europe" or something like that. The cover wasn't too bad- about $7, but that only included entrance to the 5 floors. There was also an ice bar on the ground floor, so naturally, we had to try it.<br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;">The entrance was "free" but you had to buy a drink for about $8 in order to get in, and they had a timer on the wall telling you how much time you had left in there. My recommendation is to do the ice bar first or last because the thick hooded ponchos they give you aren't quite enough and the coat check ladies won't let you add or take off things from the coat check without paying again.<br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;">In any case, it's worth doing once, if you're there, but not something I really need to do again or would go out of my way to do. It's basically a room where they line the walls with a coating of ice. Then, they get some ice sculptors to make a bar, a few tables, and some decorations out of ice, but there are also things frozen within the ice. The glasses are made of ice. It's pretty much what it sounds like- an ice bar.<br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8000001907349px; line-height: normal;">We also went to the other floors. A few of them had good music, but were full of smoke. A few of them had less-good music, but they were pretty empty and had good air, so we danced there for a while. We headed out just as the place was filling up, but we were both tired, and the areas with air that wasn't choking me were shrinking rapidly.

Town Hall

Town Hall


Winter view from funicular

Winter view from funicular


Cathedral St. Vitus

Cathedral St. Vitus


Inside St. Vitus Cathedral

Inside St. Vitus Cathedral


IceBar

IceBar

Posted by spsadventures 16:00 Archived in Czech Republic

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