Days 8 & 9: Prague

Jess: We’re currently on day 20 of our trip…or, as we like to call it, HALFWAY!! Clearly we have some catching up to do! **Don’t worry, Pepper, Mommy didn’t leave you with those mean relatives forever. You’re 50% done with your torture.**

Pepper recently managed to send me this from the depths of New Jersey.

Pepper recently managed to send me this from the depths of New Jersey. She sent a note with it saying she’s fine but she hopes she doesn’t have to stay there forever because they make her walk 5 miles a day.

Day 8 started in Berlin with us saying goodbye to our stupendous host, Sam. He waited so nicely for us to get all of our stuff out of his apartment and walked us to the UBahn stop on the corner. Such a gentleman. Hilary and I then made our way to the main station and boarded the train bound for Prague.

Hilary and I have Eurail passes to easily travel via train all over Europe. They are wonderfully convenient because we can just hop on and off the trains without having to buy a ticket. The one thing we didn’t realize with that, however, is that even though we don’t need a ticket, that doesn’t mean we don’t need a reservation. Some of the trains are comprised completely of 4-or-6-seat cubbies that are enclosed with a hallway going all the way down the right side of the train. When all of those seats are reserved, you end up in one of those narrow little hallways, standing for multiple hours all the way to your destination.

Remember last post when Hilary said, “Man, we walked 20 miles yesterday, I’m excited to sit on the train for a few hours.” She said it out loud… therefore, yes, we stood in a hallway with all of the other sad saps who didn’t make reservations, the entire trip to Prague. At first we held out hope that one of the cabins was open and we could sit down but as we moved between cramped train cars it became more clear that there was no hope. We became the lowest class of train-goers: the aisle idlers.

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The view from our “seats” on the train. Imagine someone trying to get to the restroom in between train cars from the middle of the aisle. Imagine that happening about 50 times in four hours.

As we stood at the back of train car 5 we both made a decision to make the best of it. We befriended the adorable Irish lads in front of us named Colin and Owen that were on holiday through Europe as well. They played “Heads Up” with us to pass the time but they quickly noticed that Hilary and I knew far more about American Movie and Pop Culture Trivia than they did.

Hil: Surprising. Also, shout out to Emily and Clare, sisters from Los Angeles who are on a trip almost identical to ours. Coincidentally, Emily works in production, too. Thanks for the cherries!

Jess: Just as we lost our will to survive, the train pulled into the main station in the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague. We made our way to our AirBnB in center-city and czeched in (I’m so so sorry, I had to. You’re welcome, Dad). After a late afternoon nap, we decided to just walk around a bit and see what Prague was all about.

Hil: That short walk around the city before bed turned into a multi-hour one as we walked deeper into Old Town of Prague completely mesmerized by the city at night. We weren’t the only ones, either. At midnight, Prague’s famous Charles Bridge was packed with people. Prague was the first city that slapped me in the face with it’s beauty and left me speechless.

Prague Castle in the distance

Prague Castle in the distance.

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Old Town Hall Tower.

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Jess: We were hungry after our trek through history and after multiple sad attempts at finding a place with an open kitchen, we walked into the Prague Beer Museum. As June 29th ended we were sitting at a table enjoying some cheese, sausage, (we still couldn’t escape the sausage), and Czech beer. As June 30th began, we were still doing the same thing but at this point, it was Hilary’s birthday.

Hil: Wahoo! Not a bad way to ring in 27. At the bar we made friends with some lovely Finnish gents who were stopping in Prague for one night on a road trip back up to Scandinavia. Some of my favorite experiences on this trip so far have been running into fellow travelers and instantly bonding. If you’re reading this, hey guys!

Our new friends: Atte,  Miikka, Juhis and photographer Henrik

Our new friends: Atte, Miikka, Juhis and (photographer, not pictured) Henrik

We stayed out a bit later than expected, so we slept in and woke up in time for lunch at a traditional Czech food restaurant-by-day/ club by night called Lokal. We filled up on multiple kinds of dumplings, chicken soup, mint tea, vienna coffee, various forms of pork and chicken, and multiple desserts. Yes, this was just lunch.

Main course at Lokal

Main course at Lokal

Once we stuffed our faces an adequate amount, we rolled over to Old Town Square for a walking tour. By the end of this trip, Jess and I are going to be experts on Western Europe’s free walking tour options. Being embarrassingly ignorant of the history of the Czech Republic, I was fascinated during the walk around Old and New Town Prague and the facts and unique stories our guide shared about King Charles IV, Jan Hus, the Nazi occupation, the Jewish Quarter and Prague’s rich musical history.

A candid photo of our guide.

A candid photo of our guide mid-story

Statue of Antonín Dvořák in front of the Rudolfinum, where he used to conduct the Czech Philharmonic. #classicalmusicnerd

Statue of Antonín Dvořák in front of the Rudolfinum, where he used to conduct the Czech Philharmonic. #classicalmusicnerd

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The “Powder” gate. One of three gates to the city still standing

Now for something completely different: UnUtero, a sculpture of a pregnant woman. She's hollow, so you can climb inside of her to watch a video of a fetus in the womb.

Now for something completely different: UnUtero, a sculpture of a pregnant woman. She’s hollow, so you can climb inside of her to watch a video of a fetus in the womb.

I had two options for an evening birthday-ish activity: a Prague Pub Crawl or a classical concert of Vivaldi, Brahms, and Pachelbel performed by an eight piece string section in Prague’s Municipal House that we happened to see a flyer for at the last minute. Guess which one I chose.

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Hint: this is not a bar.

The concert was in an intimate room with about two hundred seats, perfect acoustics, and an incredible guest violin soloist. Even the other musicians in the group were smiling and yelling “Brava!” after his solo moments. Since we had decided to skip Vienna, Austria (arguably the classical music capital of the world) for timing reasons, my goal was to see at least one classical performance somewhere else in Europe. With this concert, we checked that off the list!

We ended the night at what I’m sure is Prague’s worst shisha bar. IMG_0273

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