Friday, July 11, 2008

Different views of Prague

Prague is replete with beautiful views of… Prague. The city is surrounded by hills (mountains) and from both above & below there are gorgueous views of Prague’s center, the Vltava river, Prague Castle, etc. etc. Here's the Old Town Square & Týn Church from the top of the Old Town Hall:



One of these views is from my current (and second) Prague residence, a dormitory on Petřin hill. Though the views from Petřin, the funicular ride to get here, and the rose gardens nearby are all great, the dorm itself is a bit depressing. What’s getting me down isn’t so much the dorm’s bare minumum Soviet style or the lack of a social area to meet people (aided by my minimal Czech language skills to meet people), as it is the lack of wireless internet. Like I said, the view & funicular ride are great, but all this makes it a pain to get to other parts of town (read: cafes with free WiFi).

The dorms are near the Eiffel tower-like structure sticking out from the top of the hill (Petřin tower):



And my dorm is the last in this row of depressing buildings:



Anyway, I’m moving to a new location tomorrow, at which point I’ll have resided in three neighborhoods of Prague.

My first hostel - Hostel u Melounu (Hostel at the Melon), where Alicia and I stayed before, was a cute little place with a courtyard (which was perfect, except for 50% of the time when it was raining). But I couldn’t get a reservation there after Alicia left and so moved up to Petřin hill on the recommendation of a Czech guy we met on the train back from Budapest. This place is super cheap and I have a private room, but, well… I already told you about its disadvantages.

We went out with the Czech guy from the train (Tomáš) and his friends the night before Alicia left, which was interesting (as it is always interesting to meet locals). We learned that Czechs have a quiet culture and don't really appreciate loud tourists who come to Prague without much knowledge of its history, language etc. I haven't heard from Tomáš since we went out that night, so perhaps we overwhelmed him with our loud, post-beer drinking, American tourist nature. It's like the Budapest shrug, I may never know.

Despite my perhaps bland presentation, Prague really is a nice place to visit. The beer is free flowing (Czechs reportedly drink the most beer per capita in the world), and Moravian wine is free-flowing too. The people are in general friendly (and not just the tourists, who seem to make up 1 in 3 of its July population). Perhaps why I’m having a bit of trouble putting together sparkling prose about the city is because there has been dreary weather for a few days (though today was nice), and I’ve also lost my traveling partner, Alicia, so I’m getting used to backpacking/traveling alone again.

More pictures of me and Alicia and our travels should be coming soon (at least they have been promised!) For now check out my Prague gallery. Also stay tuned as I attempt to get pictures of certain "actor" types requested by blog readers. However, I must point out that getting pictures of random men on the street is a lot easier to demand than to deliver. I don't think it's so easy to get a good picture of a person without him knowing. Yesterday I tried to take a picture of a group of what I thought were Czechs, which led to 1) them seeing me trying to take the picture and 2) me discovering they were not in fact Czech, but rather British. In other words, be patient!

Oh, and last, but not least - here is a map of the Czech Republic for reference:

4 comments:

Sandra said...

Prague looks like a beautiful city. I'd love to be there. Funny how much weather affects things though. Your pictures are awesome. I wish I could submit a couple for my class. See what kind of pics you can get at night...

patentexaminer said...

Seriously, those dorms are sad-looking. Bozo the Clown could get depressed there!

cg said...

Prague looks gorgeous. Was it cost-effective to travel there despite the weak US dollar? Oh, and does the Petřin Tower sparkle at night like the Eiffel?

Julia M. said...

Prague is expensive now, unfortunately (at least more so than it ever was before). Except for beer - that's cheap!

And I don't think Petřin sparkles at night... that's a good question actually - I'll have to double check when I'm back there!