Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Weekend in Prague

One of our favorite things about living here in France is the ability we have to travel to many different places. Countries are so close together, and we love not having to deal with the jet lag that I always found so difficult when visiting before. Neither Sean nor I grew up with much opportunity to explore the world, so we are very grateful to have that chance now. We sometimes wonder what our children will have to do when they are grown as they will have been so many places already!

Whenever we get the chance, we take advantage of our situation and plan a weekend (or longer) away. The girls had a 4-day weekend due to teacher development so we decided it was time to go somewhere we have never been. Sean has always been dying to see Prague; we read many articles that said winter is the perfect time to go to Prague, so off we went. Claire had to play in a basketball tournament on Friday so we decided to leave Saturday, stay for 2 nights and return late on Monday night giving us Tuesday to still relax and enjoy a “free” day from school while getting almost 3 days in Prague. We often end up flying EasyJet as the airfare can be so inexpensive when you only bring a small carry-on. Prague isn’t a super hopping destination in the winter I guess, and we got a great deal on a hotel right near Old Town Square and cheap plane tix – so off to Prague we went!

We got our guy Philippe to drive us to Charles de Gaulle where we caught the 11:50am flight to Prague. Less than 2 easy hours later, we landed at the airport in Prague. We were surprised that there was no passport control or customs check in Prague – this is Eastern Europe after all! Went to the AAA taxi desk to get a taxi into town (they are the only ones recommended to be trustworthy); it took less than 30 minutes to drive to our hotel. After doing lots of research on TripAdvisor and various blogs, we decided to stay at the Ventana Hotel Prague where we got a good deal on The girls were very excited that our 2 rooms were both loft rooms on the top floor – they had beds upstairs, and a sitting area downstairs. Lots of room to hang out and relax. The location was awesome – right next to Tyne church just off Old Town Square. Took us awhile to get used to the exchange rate of the Czech crowns. The notes were large, usually 100 or 1000 which was worth around 4 and 40 euros.

It was very cold in Prague; it snowed on Sunday, but didn’t slow us down too much. We walked from one end to the other, saw all the major sites, searched out some vegan/vegetarian restaurants for Claire, enjoyed Czech beer, shopped and just generally explored. Another good weekend exploring another part of the world. This was the girls’ first visit to Eastern Europe (maybe Sean too? Deb went to Russia in grad school) and a great chance to see some different versions of history. We went to the Museum of Communism and what was really interesting is that our children had no idea what communism even was. It was a great way for them to learn about “history” that happened not that long ago. They couldn’t believe the last revolution, the Velvet Revolution, was just in 1989. How different the world was for Prague even that short time ago. When we left the museum we visited Wenceslas Square where so many of the demonstrations for freedom occurred.

In Prague we saw Charles Bridge, Dancing House (Fred & Ginger building), Jewish Quarter, Lobkowicz Palace, Museum of Communism, Old Town Bridge Tower, Astronomical Clock, Old Town Hall Tower (great view from the top), Old Town Square, Powder Gate, Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral (saw the Prime Minister of Turkey there), Tyn Church, house of the Golden Bears, Wenceslas Square, Palladium and more. A full and fun trip.