Thursday, June 17, 2010

Trip to Europe~ first stop.... Prague

Chris and I have been planning a  trip like this for many many years. Now,after 26 years we are able to do it!
Our whirlwind trip consists of 4 different countries and 6 different cities.
We spent a lot of time trying to carefully prepare using most of the advice from Rick Steves travel books.
So far, the books and advice have been great. We decided to take just one backpack each ( weighing no more than 20 lbs) so we never have to check in luggage. That has worked out very well with the exception that I did not consider the weight on my arm and chest so soon after my surgery and radiation. Chris has become the "pack mule" :)

Our first leg of the trip began at 9 pm with a straight through flight to London. All went well and I was kind of amused with the awkward positions hundreds of people can get into on a long crammed overnight flight. Also with how the flight attendants treat it like a giant day care. Ok... fasten seat belts, sit up straight, here are the rules,eat your dinner, shut the "blinds" here is a movie...go to bed!

We arrived safe and sound and tired! Now in London and on to the Czech airlines, again amused with all the English accents ( which I absolutely love) and the terrifying feeling the first time you are in a vehicle that drives on the wrong side of the road!

A short wait and on to another plane to Prague! Flight went fast and Tim was there waiting for us! It felt so good to finally hug him after nearly a year!

Ok, so out of the airport onto a bus and "CULTURE SHOCK"! There are a few differences here you notice right off the bat. #1 Many people do not use soap or deodorant. Combine that with the hottest day of the year so far, a bus crammed with people and no air... oh wow! This "practice" is from the communist  time period where those things were considered luxuries. Mostly it is the older generations that continue this practice.
People walk everywhere and you have to be pretty fast.Weight does not seem to be an issue here, they walk everything off! I have no idea how many miles we walked today, but we were gone 11 hours.Most of it on our feet!

Czech your etiquette- Question- why don't people on buses, subways, trams give up their seats for women, and older people?
Answer- you only give your seat up for the elderly,very young kids ( under 5), pregnant women or people with disabilities. Otherwise it is an insult.

Question, How much do you tip? Answer- 10 % is high and optional.If you tip 20%, they think you are weird. Our first dinner was left with a tip of 20 crown ( about one dollar).

Dogs are loved by all, very well behaved and allowed ANYWHERE! Yup, restaurants, buses, subways, all parks, anywhere. If you go out to eat and bring your dog, he gets water before you! Surprisingly, the parks and streets are clean as far as the dogs go.
Smoking, well, they have not caught on to how bad smoking is and it too is allowed everywhere.

Fashion.... hmmm what to say here. I am by no means into fashion at all. My typical attire is running clothes. But here, ANYTHING GOES and it really does.Wow, I have seen some crazy stuff. I would say overall, there is no particular fashion.

Beer and meat, that's about it and cheap, cheap, cheap!
 (ano)means no, and then shortened no, means yes. (ney) means no, Prosiem means please and, or excuse me unless you are at fault and then it is pardon.
yo means "ya" and chow is used for hello and good-bye.
Thank you is dekwee  and I am sure I have mis-spelled all of this. Not being able to understand the language or communicate is difficult, but we have Tim who does a pretty good job and orders our food for us :) By the end we were catching on and could order ourselves :) I think it would be a great experience to live somewhere you are immersed into a new culture and language. You learn quick! For now, as long as we don't speak, we blend right in.
You don't point or count on your fingers like we do. Ordering 2 of something would be your thumb and pointer finger, not your pointer and middle finger.

We have visited; Old Town Square,Wencesles Square met my pen pal Jirgina, went to Letna park and took a nap on the grass,Saw Vysehrad castle/ park. Had to have a sausage ( Kilbasa) and a beer. Wasn't fond of either, but... when  in Prague :)

For all the Prague pictures  from day one & two click here!/photo.php?pid=33169880&id=44401295

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