Monday, April 6, 2015

herring sissy vaca: Prague

Hello long lost readers! I'm not even going to apologize for leaving the blog for so long because, you know, life happens (and man has it been pretty great these past few months). You'll soon find out as I hope to get updated to the present sometime before 2017.. 

I realized the big Herring sissy vaca to Europe was almost one whole year ago, so I knew it was time to jump back on the blog saddle before it lapped 365 days! If you want to see pretty pics, feel free to scroll ahead. This being my scrapbook and all, I'm trying to recall as much as possible, so it's a bit wordy in the beginning before there were pics. Here we go: 

Before this, my sister Binky had never been to Europe. I was lucky enough to go on a class trip in high school, then study abroad in college for 4 months. When she graduated in May, her graduation present was to get to take a Europe trip! She wanted to go solo. Say what? That's a Dateline waiting to happen. Mom wanted her to go on a trip through Auburn, but that didn't appeal to Bink because she wanted the freedom to do what she wanted, when she wanted.  Everyone compromised when she decided to go on a guided trip with Auburn for a couple of weeks, then she would backpack around after that. Who got to be her travel companion? Me! This is one of those times I am very thankful to be able to make my own schedule.

It worked out perfectly because I had done western Europe before, and that's what her Auburn trip consisted of (London, Paris, Rome, Milan). We decided to check out eastern Europe, and come back towards the west where we eventually flew out of London. Binky had been there for about two weeks before I flew over on May 19th and we met up in Rome. 

I met up with my mother in Auburn, and she drove me from there to Atlanta. We left at 2am (woof), and I didn't sleep at all. I had a layover in Philadelphia for 10 hours, and you better believe I found myself a perch, threaded my arms through all my items, and fell asleep. This should be a good time to mention all I had was a backpack and a purse. For three weeks. Those who know my packing skills should be impressed! Binky wants to write a post on here with some packing tips, so that'll come up soon. ANYHOW, I slept for about 7 hours, then went in search of food and beer. I've found it's a lot easier to sit alone at an airport bar now that I'm older. I recommend it to everyone! I boarded the plane, and it was an overnight flight to Rome. Being the nervous nelly that I am, I ordered several vodka drinks and got ruhl comfortable to watch some movies. The nice thing about transatlantic flights is that every seat has a personal screen to watch movies, tv shows, play games, etc. I chose to watch movies. I watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Frozen. Yep. No shame. I had never seen it, so I decided the flight was a good enough time. Funny enough, Binky also watched it on her way over without me knowing. I woke up when we were about to descend. I missed breakfast (le sigh), but figured I could get something in the airport. 

Before I left on the trip, I had found Bink and I a flight to Prague that departed about 2 hours after I landed on one of those cheapo airlines they have over there, RyanAir. The flight from Rome to Prague was about $35 if I remember correctly. Our plan was to meet up in the airport and board the next flight. We downloaded the app Viber to communicate via wifi so we didn't have to use our data. We also got everyone back home to download it as well, and that's how we called and texted friends and family.  

Well wouldn't you know when we landed, the wifi wasn't working correctly. I couldn't find Bink for the longest time, so I went to the terminal for the Prague flight. I sat there for a bit trying to get the wifi to connect, then decided to walk down the main walkway to test my luck. Miracle of miracles, I ran right into Binky! We walked back to the terminal, I got some food, and we texted mom that we had found each other. She told me all about her adventures from the previous weeks while we waited to board. The thing I had forgotten about these cheap flights is you can only have one carry on, which meant my backpack and purse counted as two. Binky somehow shoved my purse and hers into her backpack while we were trying to board. I also realized that they do not like electronic tickets aka the one on my phone. The lady finally got it to scan, but next time, I'll definitely print. We were packed on the plane like sardines, and everyone on board clapped when we landed (which is either a European thing, or a "we made it on this cheap ass plane ride" thing). I remember it from studying abroad and taking those airplanes. Too funny. 

Once we landed in Prague, we went in search of a hostel. Binky had the app WeHostel where you could find hostels nearest you along with reviews, maps to them, etc. We stayed at Miss Sophie's Hostel. After we dropped our bags, we went exploring a bit. 

Such a cute flower stand with an authentic Czech Republic restaurant in the back. For some reason there were a ton of KFCs.. they must love the colonel's secret recipe. 

We found this little restaurant and decided to get some dinner and beers. 

Pretty sissy!

They gave us these bowls of water. We weren't sure if they were for cleaning your fingers or something else.

We decided their "bud light" was Pilsner Urquell. There were signs for it everywhere, and it was pretty delicious. 

Most restaurants in touristy areas have English menus, so luckily we didn't have to figure out how to read Czech. I ordered this delightful meat plate!

And Bink got this DELICIOUS pork knuckle. Always order the pork knuckle if you're over there. It's so good. 

Since the Czech Republic isn't on the Euro, we had to do some conversions to figure out how much our meal actually cost. Their currency is call the Czech koruna. It was something like $1 equaled 29 koruna. We got our bill, and it was something like 720 koruna. We incorrectly converted and thought we had spent $100. After some quick math, we celebrated for getting several beers and the delicious meal for around $29! Amazing! 

We continued to walk after our meal. In the back here is the Zizkov tv tower. It know holds a restaurant and viewing area. 

The map reader

We went to this lookout place (the name escapes me just now), but there were amazing views. 

It was full of people watching the sunset. 

Naturally we made our way to a beer garden. 

It was packed!

There was a soccer game on, and the entire crowd was into it. I felt a little bit like game day! 

We were back home by 9pm and in bed shortly there after. Our hostel had 3 sets of bunk beds, and we slept in one. There were lock boxes under the bed where we stored our stuff. I was out like a light due to the massive time change (I think it was 9 hours ahead). 

I woke up bright and early at 6am the next day (I've done this every time I've been to Europe. Why can't I do this at home?!).  We checked out of the hostel and went to a cafe down the street for coffee and croissants for breakfast. 

We walked to the train station to buy tickets for our next destination, Austria. We put our backpacks in lockers so we could explore more of Prague without them.

Time for some sight seeing!

We spotted this funny little sausage man around town.

We stopped for lunch and some beer at a little sidewalk cafe. 

We made it to the Astrological Clock in Old Town Square.

I spotted this funny dangling man statue near the square. It's apparently Sigmund Freud and is suppose to depict his fear of death. 

Next stop was the Prague Castle

Cheesy tourist photo!

Annnnd a selfie, since we didn't have any pics together. There's a lot more of these on the trip!

We crossed the Charles Bridge. It connects the Old Town and New Town.

There were lots of artists out there, but I didn't have a lot of room to carry souvs. I mainly brought back magnets. 

We stopped by the Lennon Wall. 

It's filled with images of John Lennon and Beatles lyrics. 

We found some fellow tourists to get a pic of us together.

We had to climb this million step hill to get up to the castle. Sadly, my little legs just about gave out halfway up. 

The Petrin viewing tower. Looks like the Eiffel Tower from far away.

Finally made it up the ginormous stair case!

Entrance to the castle! 

Inside the castle walls.

Rachel pose in front! 

We paid a couple of euros to climb the bell tower. 

Flying buttresses! 

They had these nifty little signs showing you what you were looking at from each corner of the tower. 

So many pics, but I just loved the architecture!

Another selfie!

One of the bells inside the tower. 

This hilarious statue of a teenage boy is right outside the Toy Museum and cafe. We saw people standing around it while we were getting a snack, and walked over to discover that people rub his peni for luck. Wtf. That's why it's shiny gold, as opposed to the rest of it being almost black. We named it the Golden Penis statue. Oh Praha, you funny. 

Speaking of snacks, did you know Diet Coke is called Coca Cola Light over there? I noticed there is also a lack of cold refrigeration. This one was almost room temperature. 

There was a winery on the castle grounds. Should've had wine instead of coke. 

My trusty guide. 

Bink and I became big fans of taking "pano" shots during the trip. 

We went to the U Medvidku brewery that afternoon. We spotted our little friend again:

They boasted having the strongest beer in the world. 

We both tried it, and they had to be joking. Definitely not the strongest I've ever had. 

Bink had read about these bilberry dumplings, so we tried some. They were pretty good!

We also took this time to write some postcards to friends back home. I loved their stamps. 

Some pics of the small brewery:

We walked to a park before heading to the train station. Most of the sideways in Europe are like this cobble stone, and it's almost impossible to walk on with heels. Of course I didn't bring any on this trip, just wanted people to know! Even though it's hard to walk on, it's quite pretty. 

Interesting tree

We made it to the train station on time, and slept on there overnight to Austria.

Next stop: Vienna and the 29th anniversary of Rachelpalooza! 

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