Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Czech Republic!- Day 1

We had it all planned out.  Get up by 8:00am and get the bathroom business out of the way ........


Somebody is really enjoying that fancy schmancey shower......hahaha


ok, got that all done....finish packing the little odds and ends and go and meet Eva to pick up the laundry.   I was to wait in the lobby while he went to get some Euros and the laundry. We used my pink overnight bag to bring it back having emptied everything out of it the night before.


And the next thing you know he was back with the clothes all clean and sparkly........:-).  Thank you Eva!....:-)


We were ready for check out.  I was sad that we did not get the extra day that we thought we had, but maybe another time..?


We are on our way to the Czech Republic!


I took my last picture of the place that had been our home for 3 days.......

 We had discussed taking a cab to the train station which was only about a city block away.  The problem was that the streets were in such disrepair that rolling two suitcases, a computer bag and a carry on didn't seem feasible.  trying to get over those ruts was exhausting and we had to take a little break at least once half way there....

And I was hanging onto our clean clothes with all I had.....


But, we did it anyway and got it done in record time. Next order of business is to get the tickets to Prague.  We decided to go first class.....:-).


Then we thought that perhaps since we had missed breakfast with the exception of some yogurt, we should get some lunch.  I have no idea, but it is something like a Gyro and it was VERY good.....:-).


Our train was to arrive in 30 minutes at track #1.  We sat there and ate our food and heard the announcer saying "something" in Slovak.  Then he said it in English, but it was so noisy that we looked at each other and said, "what did he say"?  Well, then we found out!  The announcement was that the train had switched to track #2.  Now, one would think that this would not be a problem, right.  WRONG. Track 2 was down the steps, through the corridor and UP the stairs.

We started running as the first announcment had been made a few moments earlier, so this one was apparently the last one!  And run we did. In the WRONG direction.  First class; it turned out was in the very BACK of the train; the last car!  WHAT!!??  Soooo, after getting a "revelation" that we needed to jump on no matter where we were, we did.  And I tell you, just as Chris put through the suitcases up on the train and put his last foot in, the doors closed behind him.  Any later and it would have drug him down the tracks.......

We made our way through at least 5 cars before making it to first class only to discover that second class was much better! haha...We set the bags in place and sat down, out of breath.....


The capital city of Bratislava was quickly disappearing behind us. Now, it was time to see other parts of the country of Slovakia.


The further away we got, the better it began to look. You will have to look through the "smudge" on the windows....the train was not very clean.


And we were moving at break-neck speed, so you'll have to excuse some of the blurr too...:-(.
I really had to zoom in to get some of these shots and I have a cheapo camera.


The countryside was beautiful.  I love to pass by little villages and farms.  I think they speak of a different kind of living.....:-)


And when we passed through this little village, it reminded me of a village I lived in when I lived in Germany.  There were only 13 houses there and I was house number 13!


We got to the half way mark of our journey which was this stop.


The guy with the cart came around to see if we needed anything.  We ordered coffee with cream and sugar.  Big mistake...ha.  I have had tap water that was warmer than that! But it was ok.   I drank half of it and took the rest to the bathroom (which happened to be lacking toilet tissue), and poured it down the drain.  I pulled out my "reserve" beverage that I saved just for an incident like this.

 I put my headphones in and decided to enjoy the ride anyway.  After all, we also just learned from the guy with the cart that the trip that we thought was going to take 2 1/2 hours would in fact take 4 1/2 hours. We would get to Prague right about dinner time.....




Somebody is having fun!  ......:-).


Some of the cities that we passed by where much bigger than others, but all of them seemed small in comparison to where we were headed.....:-)


And of course, some seemed more developed than others and that they took more care of their environment than others....


shooting through this side of the train posed a problem for me as it seemed that every time I saw something picture worthy I had this "bar" thingee in my way.  There was no time to get up because we were moving too quickly.


I wish this picture had come out clearer..it looks very peaceful in this little town.....:-)


Now, this is cute...don't you think so?


Too bad we would not be in this town long enough to see what this actually is.


The closer we got to the Czech Republic the more the houses changed...at least to me they did....


I like the way some of the houses seem to be coming out of the hillside.....:-)



And some seemed to be growing out of the ground like cabbage!


There is a lot of farming between Slovakia and the Czech Republic.....


If people didn't have large fields that they grew produce in, they had little green houses to do it in...


And as is typical of Europe, the religious life is often the center of the town.......


Prague was in view!


We happen to be right by the back door and had already placed our luggage in the hallway to give us a head start and not get caught in the "crush" of people that would be getting off when we did.  Some were traveling on to Berlin, Germany.  After getting off the train, we still needed to purchase some transit tickets and change some money into Euros and Korunas.  The station was very busy everywhere you looked.


Not having yet planned our day for tomorrow, we decided to get that done while we were at the station.  This currency exchange place was right there......


and now, to look at a map and make sure that we are going in the RIGHT direction ......:-).  Also, we read in our research that you must validate your ticket as soon as you get it at a machine that is sitting there at the station.  If you do not and the transit police randomly ask to see your ticket, there is a fine upward of 1000CZK or 800.00 CZK if you pay it on the spot. That is equal to about $50.00 US.   We made sure we punched our tickets before boarding the train.


Getting to the platform was not a big deal as there was an elevator or a "lift" as they call it in some places in Europe.  But the first train was packed like sardines.  We waited for the next one and only had to go one stop before getting off.


THEN, we had to transfer to another one that would take us to our hotel......



so far so good.  Checking to make sure we are on the RIGHT side of the tracks......:-)
ok...cool.....:-)


What we didn't expect was to have to bring the luggage up these!  Holy Moley!!  what happened to the lifts!?  Well, we did it.  This shot was after the fact, after we had a laugh about it and caught our breath!


We rounded the corner and saw this........YES!  (I think.  Looking pretty steep....:-(.


We got up the escalator (and yes, it was working) and came out onto the street that we were looking for.  Although we didn't know it...haha.  We asked two or three people where this particular street was and nobody knew...We were standing right on it!  Perhaps it was a language barrier.


Our hotel was maybe twenty steps away from us.......YaY! The receptionist was just about to take a smoke break, but there was another worker inside to assist us..


We gave a thumbs up to the fact that we had FINALLY made it to Prague and a very nice desk receptionist who was intent on helping us settle in comfortably.


This hotel reminded me of the one we stayed in when we visited Munich a couple of years ago.  On a main street with a tiny lobby and the hotel rooms are upstairs.


Here are the stairs, but at least after this there is a lift.....:-)


 this is the lift without us in it......TINY! haha.....this is going to be interesting...



This is the elevator with just Chris in it!


but by golly we made it to our room! haha.  In ONE trip. Room 61.


 It is "no frills" compared to the one in Slovakia, but it is clean and we are glad to be in it after a long, adventurous travel day.


this is the bathroom. The toilet is in a separate room behind the door that you see there.  Like a little closet of sorts with nothing but the toilet.


And this is the view from our window.......:-).



It looks like a painting. The local weather is predicting rain for the next 4 days.  It is in the mid 60's here and people are wearing jackets and coats.


Well, it was dinner time....haha.  You know by now that we are "foodies"......:-).  No sense in coming all this way to eat typical food, right?  We headed out to see what we could find.  Right outside the door was this fruit stand.  I thought it might be good to grab some fruit in the morning for a snack during the day.


This is a shot of the street down from the hotel......



This was on the opposite corner.  The first floor is a convenience store.


Somebody is ready to eat.....haha


I have no idea what this is, but Chris thinks it's a smoke stack of some sort......


By now, I was TIRED of staircases, but this was getting weirder by the minute.  We found our place for dinner and it was taking us into what seemed to be the bowels of a cave.....


We passed a little enclave that was being used as a wine cellar.....


We finally reached our destination......down under....


and as I proceeded to the table I almost stumbled into what I thought was a massive hole in the floor.  In fact, this hole in the floor is stumble proof because it is covered in glass and is right next to our table.....


With my mind on tilt....I started to look around and realized that there was an aquarium right next to me in another little enclave.. with a snake in it.  At first I thought it was a stick.  Nope.  It was a snake alright...ha
sheesh.....I didn't take a picture of it.......


my camera really doesn't take good pictures in low light, but you hopefully get the idea of what this place looked like.


This is the entry way to the room we were sitting in.......


We looked over the menu and made our selections.....


Chris ordered grilled mozzarella and parma ham in a tomato sauce topped with fresh basil........


along with a potato and mushroom soup the like of which I had never tasted before......EXCELLENT!


I ordered lamb on a bed of creamed spinach with mashed potatoes in a brown sauce of some sort.


I absolutely could not do a desert.  So, I had a little piece of Chris's fried apples which were prepared in a light batter, deep fried and served with ice cream and whipped cream.


We pushed away from the table, exhausted and ready to head back to the hotel. If you ever visit Prague, check out this restaurant. It is quite the experience....:-)


and so my dear friends and fellow bloggers, this ends today's adventure.  Time to contemplate tomorrow's!


signing off from the Czech Republic.....

See ya soon!


.

















4 comments:

livin'itup! said...

whew! glad you made it! :) Scootard's dinner and dessert looked amazing!

Patricia Carpenter said...

So are we, Shawna! haha. What a ride this has been. And his desert was good. My dinner was "ok". The flavor was great, but the lamb could have been a bit more tender.

Scootard said...

Great write up Baby. I like thr picture you tool where I look like a mouse sniffing out some cheese, and how about that restaurant eh?

Trobairitz said...

What an adventurous day. Almost missing the train and then finding the eclectic down under restaurant. Can't wait to see what today brings.