Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bohemia, Bavaria, and Beer, Part I: Prague

We didn't really know what to expect when we landed in Prague.  We had only decided to go there because a German tourist in Rome told us we would love it.  We had originally wanted to do a grand Heart of Europe tour, but after doing a little planning and budgeting, it was painfully apparent we could not visit 27 countries in 12 days, so we whittled it down to the cities that drew our attention most: Prague, Budapest, and Munich.

Since not too many US tourists seem to visit the former Communist Block, there wasn't a whole lot of information on my normal research channels: Fodor's and Tripadvisor message boards.  Combine that with the huge language difference, and you get two fairly nervous but brave travelers.  But when we got to Prague, we knew we were totally wrong to be worried.

The town is beautiful.  Very clean, very very safe, and English is widely spoken.  Prague is very small and walkable, and has undergone a great deal of restoration since "The Change", the term everyone used here and in Budapest to refer to the move from Communism to Democracy.


We hired a guide to show us around, since we knew very little about Prague.  Jana with Personal Prague Guide was marvelous.  She took us all over the town, telling us the history and about all the sites.

  Prague's big attraction is the Astronomic Clock that tolls every hour.  A huge crowd gathers and cheers every time it goes off.  Compared to the Glockenspiel, which we saw in Munich this same trip, its much smaller, but I think more fun.

We were also worried about the food, but I don't think I've had better vacation food anywhere as I had on this trip.  I have one word for you:  Goulash.

We toured a couple of breweries, because Mark loves beer, and Czech beer is purportedly the world's best beer.  After a full survey of beers, we would have to agree with this statement.

I highly recommend Prague to anyone looking to explore Europe.  It is a truly beautiful city. 

Next up, Part II: Budapest.

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