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JASSENDEAVOR 'm going to travel around the world, easternly, from the good ole USA. I plan to be traveling for about 4 months, but who knows what will happen? This is my global adventure. It's a chance to write my own story; but the details will have to be filled i

the Czechs like their garlic!

CZECH REPUBLIC | Wednesday, 11 March 2009 | Views [851]

The one thing everybody has told me, in retrospect of their own European trips, is 'I just wish I had spent more time in Prague' ...and they always draw out Praaague with this legit european accent that makes them seem even more wistful than they might be being...


Anyway, I took this as sage indication to leave plenty of time for myself here. Plus, I hated the idea of spending one more $$$ night in Munich! No kitchen is a REAL downer for me, as far as hostels go. Kitchen has pretty much surpassed location for me, (any location is pretty accessible anyway, it's usually the difference between 2 minutes walk or 5 to get to the historical center of these places... rome it was 30 to get to St. Peters Basilica... but that so far has been the city with the most walking. Even Barcelona seemed more accessible on foot, though it was a close second.)

More than the expenses of Munich, which I may be using as an excuse, I was feeling bored... I had mastered the art of arriving in a city, locating the hostel, settling in, touring, etc. It was too rote, too mundane. Hostelworld might be handy on the weekends but it's mostly a rip off as far as I'm concerned. It's few and far between hostels that will really turn away a traveller. (Though I've heard of it happening, I feel a hostel should be primarily a haven and secondarily a business that uses its smarts to run bars onsite and charge unprepared travellers 3€ for sheets, 2€ for towels, 2€ for locks, etc.)

So I decided to fly by the seat of my pants. Shake things up a bit! Armed with a scrappy, hastily-drawn self-made map, set to arrive in Praha at 11 PM with no hostel reservations, it was not without some growing anxiety on the train (much-needed anxiety, mind you) that I realized that the arrival station would be different than the one I expected. That, and I had no local currency! (Thus far the Euro reigned.)

I walked hastily and with purpose to another hostel, for which I did have a map (part of my guide book, thank you Rough Guides!) Found this reception the first to NOT be open 24/7, despite a welcoming sign on the front door that announces it is available all hours. This was about midnight.

I was kindly let into an intermediary entryway by the barkeep of an adjacent bar. I was thus found 10 minutes (20?) later resting my head on the iron bars of the intermediary passageway's locked gate, staring balefully at the dark, closed doors of reception across the locked courtyard, stuck in contemplation mode... The cold, dark alley I was in was at least protected by one locked outside gate, and if there is one reason for me to be lugging around a zero-degree EMS synthetic down sleeping bag, this was it!

But, in walk a happy group of 2 Canadians, 2 Ustatiens (US Statiens), 1 Albanian, all friends on weekend trip from studing in Vienna.

'You need a bed? We got a bed! Come with us!' They said. You didn't need to ask me twice, and in we went. Then, we went out.

I spent most of the weekend with them. The distraction was delicious. I ate it up, just what I needed.

Highlights, which I also ate up: Kozen beer, dark with a slightly coffee aftertaste; real goulash, beef in a dark smooth stew, served with 'dumplings' which are really just crustless, cake-like, almost wet thick bread with which you mop up your goulash.

Also, the Czechs like their gralic! I had one crepe earlier that was heavy on the garlic, and then my meal would have come with garlic soup, but that seemed a little, ummm, garlicy to me. So I used sign language on the menu to swap for plain vegetable soup. The comfort food was perfect.

So: in Prague I loved it - the Krown is cheap, the beer is good, and I stayed a perfect 3 nights before heading to Berlin to round out my german experience... Krakow would be fun, to play with a Zloty, and have more cheap good food... but Berlin next it is.

Tags: astronomical clock, czech, czech republic, prague

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