(Warning: Photo Heavy Post!) Now..moving onto Prague, the City of 100 Spires. Having earned it's place in my top favorite places in the world, Prague is everything Bubs and I had hoped for: beautiful, affordable, friendly and easy to travel. I would highly recommend a visit to Prague to anyone not afraid of a bit of adventure. Though neither of us speak Czech, it doesn't matter. Nearly everyone under the age of 30 speaks some bit of English and those who don't will help you out enough to get by just fine. One thing to note, however, is the millions of cobblestones that make up every street and walkway throughout Prague. Trust me, your feet and legs will ache, but wear good shoes and you'll be fine.
Chris, our fantastic Program Director from Viking, accompanied us to Prague and showed us some great sights and gave us the run-down on the town (because I really feel like Prague is a big town and less of a booming metropolis, just how I like it...a big town with super-easy mass transit and great shopping, but not intimidatingly ginormous, like, say, London. Even though London is still my fave-o place in the whole world.)
The Czech crown-to USD exchange is pretty good too...17 to 1 at the time of our trip. Grocery stores are your friend, as are the out-of-the-way restaurants down back alleys and across the Charles Bridge to the Old Town (near Infant Jesus of Prague Cathedral, for example.) I highly recommend drinking Pilsner Urquell. It's really, really tasty. And cheap. Did I mention it's cheap? At the grocery, a big bottle was 9 crowns. That's about 50-cents. Cheaper than chocolate! OOh and the bakeries! Just go. Point. Eat. I had chocolate-filled donuts for 6 crowns. 35-cents. Hallelujah! Prague makes my mouth happy. ^-^
The only down-side to Prague in the off-season, besides the obvious chilly weather, was that the beautiful gardens and parks surrounding the castles are closed and the fountains not running. I can't begin to imagine what a sight to behold they are in the summer. I hope one day I get to see them for myself. We both agree...we'd go back in a heartbeat.
Sightseeing was a breeze, as everything is very old and very beautiful. If you like to walk around, see churches, castles and bridges, people-watch, eat and drink and ride mass-transit, check out amazing antiques, go clubbing and/or have a great vacation for not a lot of money, Prague is for you. Everything you could possibly want can be found. The people are really relaxed and friendly; no one and nothing seems to be in a huge hurry. The food is tasty and sticks to your ribs. Everyone warned us a billion times about pick-pockets. Apparently, it's something of an issue in busy areas, like the city markets and subway. Seriously, use your brain everywhere you travel. Keep your wallet in a front-inside pocket. Don't flaunt valuables. Keep your purse closed and near you. I know this sounds rude (and perhaps a bit too honest), but if you don't behave like a stupid tourist and make cardinal rule travel mistakes, you'll be fine. Just relax and enjoy yourself. Be respectful and smart. That's all it takes, really. That and some common sense stuff. No one is lurking in every dark corner to mug you. Get a good city and subway map, take notes and adventure!