Monday, July 20, 2015

Eurotrip 2015 - Day 14 (7/10/2015) - Prague's Remaining Bits

Today had another late start, which was fine since I had seen everything that I had initially planned on seeing in Prague.  After a shower and catching up on the interwebs in the lobby (I'm almost convinced that they have never had WiFi working on the second floor), I departed on foot once more for Old Town Square.  I made it there, even with a quick stop at Starbucks to pick up a muffin and a bottle of OJ, in time to join the free walking tour at 11 with the guide (Keith) that I had spurned the day before.  As an aside, he does not work for Sandeman's, but another company which I think is named Prague Green Tours.  Keith (an American who had lived in Prague for 10 years) was a nice enough fellow, and a pretty good guide.  He took us on a 2.25-ish hour jaunt from Old Town through a bit of New Town, into Josefov (the Jewish Quarter), and back to Old Town Square, pointing out some interesting buildings/structures and providing some historical context along the way.  These guides provide the free tours for tips, and I thought he was worthy of the 200 Kč I gave him at the end.


As the tour had ended back in New Town Square, I went over to a nearby vegetarian restaurant that I had read about in my guide book.  Called Country Life, it was actually an organic food store in addition to a vegetarian buffet where you pay by weight.  I don't know most of the things that I put on my plate, but they were almost all delicious (the lone exception being some berry tart dessert thing that I didn't finish).

Lunch complete at around 2 PM, I walked back through Wenceslas Square and to the National Museum (the exhibits of which are now temporarily in a new adjoining building while the old building undergoes a 7 year, originally planned for 5, renovation).  I'm not sure what to make of this museum's disjointed exhibits, which seem to have no common theme.  The one on the ground floor about death was interesting, and the large collection of stuffed/preserved animals (i.e., real former animals, not toys) was kinda cool despite the references to Noah.  But the tiny Jan Hus exhibit and the one about the naming of species did not hold my interest at all.  Oh, and the elevator system (where you need an attendant to badge in before you can go to another floor) was kind of a mess, especially since you couldn't just take the stairs.

Once that experience was over, I decided to try out a tip that Keith had provided earlier during the tour (which was prompted by a question I asked about the housing situation in the outskirts of the city) and take the 22 tram all the way out to one end and back.  I first bought a 24-hour metro ticket (good for the subway, the trams, and buses) at the museum station; this experience was kind of a pain in the rear - the ticket machines only accept coins, and I didn't have enough in coins to get the pass, and the guy who sold me a ticket at an adjoining convenience store made it seem like the biggest hassle ever that I was taking all his change (though I will give them slight props for selling the tickets at manned stations so you can actually use bills, but they need to allow more modern payment systems).  Then I took the C line (red) one stop down to I. P. Pavlova (like in Vienna, there are no turnstiles or anything to keep out freeriders), where I was able to hop on the 22 tram in the direction of Bílá Hora.  I took the tram all the way to the end, where I'm not sure how to describe the area except to say that it was different from the central part of the city, and then hopped back on the same line in the opposite direction to get back.  I got off the tram at Štěpánská, one stop before where I originally caught it, as that was a fairly short walk back to the hotel.

At this point it was approaching 5:30 PM and I had run out of things to do in Prague.  I tried researching if there were any shows going on that evening/night, but nothing that I found interested me.  I eventually decided to go see a movie, picking the 7:40 showing of Jurassic World at a Cinema City that wasn't too far away.  I walked there to buy a ticket, and then found a Subway literally across the street to grab a quick dinner (I needed somewhere fast that would accept credit cards, as I only had 100 Kč in cash left on me and 30 minutes before the movie was to begin).  I made it back to the theater at showtime and bought a medium sized popcorn to snack on (as an aside, I'm pretty sure the girl at the snack counter said that one of the popcorn tubs was flavored "ham and cheese").  The movie turned out mostly as indifferently as I expected, though it did provide a couple of nice laughs.  After it was over I walked back to the hotel and prepped for the return trip that was to begin the next morning.

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An album of all my favorite photos from the trip can be found here:
Google Photos (no photo spheres)
Google+ Photos (includes photo sphere functionality)

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