Why I chose Prague as one of my “must see” cities, I really can’t say. Honestly, I really only know of it from movies. Mission Impossible, for example. And if I’m not mistaken, a few TV shows are set there. By that I mean “Alias” had a headquarters or something in Prague and “Chuck” has a few episodes set there. So that’s why, when we headed out on Monday, I posted as my Facebook status that I fully expected to see something spy-movie-like happen while there. Closest we came to seeing something like that was when two Ferraris FLEW past us on the Autobahn. I’d have to ask my dad about how fast they were going, but they scared us half to death when they went by.
We drove from Wiesbaden to Prague in a van that seats 8 people, only stopping twice: one potty break and one picnic lunch. Upon our arrival we found the perfect parking spot right in front of our apartment. It was so perfect that we decided not to chance moving the vehicle for fear of losing that spot. I don’t recall seeing another empty spot during the entire time we were there.
We unloaded the car and the man who takes care of the apartment for the owner took us to the third floor. (Note: By “Second Floor Apartment” they mean the third floor. The ground level is not the first floor in Europe… it’s “E” and the second floor is the first, the third floor is the second, and so on.”)
Top Left: Parker’s room; Bottom Left: half of the living room; Right: view of the street from our balcony. (You can see the blue van we borrowed for the trip so all 8 of us could fit in one vehicle. It looks like a monster compared to all the skittles beside it.)
After we got settled and let the boys expend some energy we walked to the castle. We arrived 30 minutes before it was to close, and I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed in Rick Steves’ info: the pod cast says it’s a good idea to tour the castle in the evening as there are so few tourists there. I am not quite sure what hour he considers evening, but they close at 1800.
I must say, however, that the view from the castle was breathtaking and worth the hike up the hill, especially in the beautiful evening lighting. We decided that we would find out from the tour guide the following day if the castle was worth all the hype to return and tour properly.
Because the castle closed at 6:00 we headed to the one place Matt had to eat while in Prague… Hard Rock Café. I believe I’ve said this before… I eat here for one reason and one reason only: Matt likes it. Not much to say about this, other than that it was not nearly as good as the one in London. We had the best customer service in London, as well as the best food. In London the food wasn’t just “good for a Hard Rock” it was GOOD food. Period. My parents were still not accustomed to having very little ice or to having to pay for water… things that, after being here almost two years, we’ve gotten accustomed to. With our military discount my family’s portion of the dinner came to 1,000 Kč. Koruna. Not dollars! That’s about $60. More than I like to spend on a meal, but hey… it’s vacation. The following two pictures were taken on our way from the castle to Hard Rock.
By the time we finished our dinner the sun was completely down and I tried my best to navigate us toward our apartment. The streets there do not work on any system that I could follow. I knew which direction we needed to head and made a decision. We came out at the edge of the river, in the direction of our hotel, and looked toward our right. We were rewarded with the most beautiful sight: the Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle lit up* and displaying their magnificence. I got some pictures, though, I wish I had had my tripod. Because we weren’t sure if we would make it back to the bridge in the dark the next night, we decided to walk toward it (and away from “home”) in order to walk across it at night. Very glad we did that, as we never made it back the next evening. Well, the Hamricks didn’t anyway. Mom and Dad did… More about that later…
We got home and the boys settled in very quickly. Parker didn’t even make a peep when I put him in his pack-n-play. We all slept very well.
* Fun Prague fact: The Rolling Stones came to Prague in 1995 and performed a concert. They purchased the lights that illuminate the four of the castle’s grand halls! Tell me that some of these pictures don’t just scream “spy-movie!!”