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Travel log

Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by LARon, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    Thank you Ron, I thoroughly enjoyed all your entries. Keep them coming. But I have to say "this thread worths nothing without pictures."[​IMG]

    I have plenty, which I'll try and post upon return -- including one special one that I'll share as a PM with the bros who don't have objections (if you've dropped in on the other thread you'll know what I'm talking about).

    Thanks, guys, its good to know there's an audience. I let half a day go by because I was a bit surprised by the initial questioning of a few posts, and thought the better part of valor should prevail. Now that I know others are interested, I'll recapture that period and submit an update.

    For the moment, though, I've gotta pack and czech out; on to Boedapest (Czech spelling).
    Enjoy.
     
  2. whodini

    whodini Senior member

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    Heh...I've had coffee on the same terrace, I think. You should see the Reduta Jazz Club - it's not far from the Charles bridge. It may have become a bit touristy now, after the Bill Clinton/Vaclav Havel "Two Presidents' Jam" but still has tremendous charm.
    That cafe will forever be engrained in my memory. Previous to my first trip there, I was told by several people that Prague was one of the lesser diverse cities in Europe as it was resistant to outside influences during Communism. I found this to be true for the most part until the second or third day that I stumbled upon the cafe with a few tourists, dressed up waiters, and the soft sounds of jazz greats such as Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and Duke Ellington emanating from their nearby kitchen. It was like entering a time machine that lasted a few espressos and a couple of pages of my moleskin.
     
  3. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    Returning briefly to the subject of the medieval, a subject they actually exploit and commercialize here, and for good reason: they have a very popular torture chamber in Prague castle. Being in Eastern Europe, Prague has a long history of knighthood and warfare (something at which they've not really excelled, nevertheless, they have the weaponry).

    Prague castle itself is the largest castle in Europe, a beautiful (if drafty) structure with glorious stain glass windows on which construction began in the 14th century and wasn't completed until the early 20th century. As my tour guide pointed out, the facade contains two elements that clearly mark it as a modern building (at least the completion), despite its neolithic appearance: the head of an American Indian -- in full head dress -- and busts of the two lead architects, in modern business suits!!! Its quite comical, if you catch it; you have all these images of saints, holy men and kings then two guys in suits and a native American. Unbelievable.

    On the grounds of the castle, in addition to the torture chamber -- with some wicked armament -- are a number of lesser palaces, home in times past to noble families, the temporary residence of Franz Kafka -- he lived in one of a corridor of small shacks built into one of the rear rampart walls -- and a Barbie museum containing over 1,000 dolls. Go figure!

    On leaving the world of torture chambers, neolithic architects wearing Armani and the Barbie museum, I walked back across the nearest bridge into the Jewish quarter, a small community in the Old Quarter. Its hard to imagine people being relegated to a relatively small area, which the Jewish Quarter is, but they did well with what they had.

    I stopped and had a real -- and my only -- genuine Czech meal at a little place called Svejk, which the menu described as representing the unglamorous Everyman of the Czech Republic. Had Bratwurst in beer sauce, goulash w/dumplings and a big mug 'o Pilsner. I passed on the pork knuckles; having once eating a knuckle sandwich, I'm trying to mind my knuckle intake (also helps preserve my dental investment).
     
  4. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    My trip to the airport was as efficient and enjoyable as the rest of my experiences here. In conversations with my tour guide and taxi driver I learned that they really have welcomed and embraced capitalism with great gusto since '89, and it shows.

    Prague is a very fashionable, efficient and well organized city. My only regret, if any, is that I didn't have another chance to sample their food (the first night I ate at a fancy hotel for the view; the second night my "date" wanted sushi, and I was only too happy to oblige -- she returned the favor, several times over; and last night I had pasta. There are a lot of Italian and Argentinian restaurants in town, and quite a few French as well. I ate breakfast in my hotel each morning).

    But, that's OK, this was a journey of discovery; I'll definitely be back. Seat up, tray table locked and stowed . . . Up and away.
     
  5. Alter

    Alter Senior member

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    LARon,

    Have a safe flight! Great job on these reports; much appreciated!
     
  6. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    LARon,

    Have a safe flight! Great job on these reports; much appreciated!


    Thanks Alter; stay tuned.
     
  7. fortune

    fortune Senior member

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    man i really want to visit europe now. god damn being in highschool. >.<
     
  8. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    Looking out from the plane while taxi-ing onto the tarmac, the biggest image in my field of vision: the Citibank banner, not only on the exterior of the terminal, but covering all the retractable jet-ways.

    Within seconds of turning on my Blackberry I get a greeting from T-Mobile, welcoming me to Hungary.

    I think the Americans have landed.
     
  9. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    Judging by the dark-haired female border guard who stamped my passport and flashed a pearly welcome to Hungary, I think I'm gonna like Budapest.

    Oops, check that -- they drive on the wrong side of the road, like the Brits! (That's always dangerous when you're walkin, 'cause, as an American, you're not accustomed to cars coming at you from the other direction. Did you know that the number one cause of American illness and injuries in the UK is being hit by cars? True fact.)

    The road from the airport is pretty grungy; running past what appear to be VERY low cost housing and your usual patchwork of nondescript industrial structures.

    Incidentally, like a damn fool I've been traipsing all over creation carrying a full size umbrella. Can you imagine how foolish I fee, let alone how it looks to others consdering how nice the weather is. When I checked the 10-day forecast before leaving LA, rain and low temps were forecast for every city on my itinerary, yet here I am in destination number three and nothing more than a light mist has fallen anywhere; and its been sunny (even if sometimes cold).
     
  10. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    Its definitely not Prague.
     
  11. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    This place looks like the backdrop of a movie about communism; a bad movie. Though bustling w/commerce and activity, the place is drab and looks both grungy and perhaps even a little unsafe (in some parts).
     
  12. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    The Sofitel is a beautiful hotel, very much in the American model, and my room is quite nice with neo-art deco styled woodwork on the bedframe, dresser and table. Very nice.

    But enough of this crap, its high noon and I've got a date with the Lady Eva -- Vass that is (Ms. Vass to you!)
     
  13. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    I've not yet been in the country more than 1.5 hours, yet I've already scored my first pair of Vass. Cha'ching!! And despite my need for black shoes -- a mantra I've been chanting since I began planning the trip -- I just couldn't do it; I could't bring myself to buy a pair of even basic black shoes. Instead, I got the Old Enflish medallion model, U-last, in Bordeaux -- a color I don't really have. Why is it so hard to buy simple black shoes???

    By the way, on the walk over I passed by the "Tabledance Cafe" and I thought of the forum. With my destination set, however, there was no chance I'd be deterred, not even for a little lunchtime jiggle!

    Also, on the walk over, I was recalling a comment made to me two weeks before I left by a friend of Hungarian descent and he, himself a great traveler (a former investment banker with a bank full of money and nothing but time to spend and invest it -- an enviable lifestyle that); he said, "don't waste your time in Amsterdam and Budapest, spend your entire two weeks in Prague." It was too late to change my plans but, in hindsight, he may have been right.

    According to him, the cognoscenti party/summer in Ibiza and winter in Prague. Lesson learned; oh well, at least there's a big Van Gogh exhibit in town at the national museum, where I can again spend time with one of my favs. Otherwise, this might have been a day trip.

    And the worst of it is they didn't really have many options in my size, and no monks. I had my heart set on only two things for this trip: to have a good time and to come home w/at least one pair of U-last monks; well, at least I've been having fun (even though Amsterdam and Budapest have not filled me with awe). Nevertheless, they're reputed to have a healthy tango community here; I'll find out tonight.

    The folks here kind of share some physical similarities to the Turks. (I'm actually writing this from a pretty swanky LA-lite cafe -- where I've just consumed cappuccino and a piece of tiramisu -- around the corner from Vass. The place/city has a rather heavy (architecturally speaking) look about it.
     
  14. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    For those interested in knowing I paid a hair under 600 for the shoes (which I understand sell for 1,200-1,400 at Bergdorf).
     
  15. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    Feeling pretty good about my shoes I think I'll go out and smoke a Cuban, then I'll have a cigar. [​IMG]

    Clarification on the hotel: the first three floors are very nice, gorgeous even; the floors themselves are like your run of the mill Hilton/Sheraton/Marriott; nothing unique.
     
  16. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

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    What were prices like in prague? hotel, food, etc.?
     
  17. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    Thank god for that umbrella! Who's laughing now; ha, ha.

    Now I'm worried about my suedes.
     
  18. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    What were prices like in prague? hotel, food, etc.?

    Figure it this way: 1 dollar is about 2.2 Kronos. I spent about 60 bucks on a bottle of champange and about 65 on a meal at their fanciest resturants (for one). Spent about 90 US on a BIG sushi dinner for two. I think my hotel was about 150-175 a night, for a pretty upscale boutique hotel.
     
  19. edmorel

    edmorel Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    (the first night I ate at a fancy hotel for the view; the second night my "date" wanted sushi, and I was only too happy to oblige -- she returned the favor, several times over;


    So she had the sushi and you had the tuna????

    Enough about Vass and stuff, get to the good stuff, you pimp!
     
  20. LARon

    LARon Senior member

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    Angelika, 30, is a redhead from Odessa. She works a week, either in Prague or Budapest, then takes off two months. She lives in an apartment overlooking the Black sea with her 8 year old, who's father is a big shot businessman who decided he no longer wanted a family.

    For more details, send a PM.
     

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