Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The group trip through the American Women's Club of the Taunus was a great experience. First of all, we met people that we might not have otherwise and we all had a wonderful time together "running" around seeing as much as possible. Secondly, we didn't have to plan anything, which was a freeing experience because we didn't have to think about any details just show up to the airport with a suitcase. This was the first trip that we did through the AWCT, but definitely not the last as we had a great time.
After walking all over the city for three days, I felt the definite urge to watch Mission Impossible again as many scenes were shot there and I couldn't remember that far back. There is so much history and so much to see and with a guided tour you learn so much. The architecture is grand and diverse with buildings from the Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance periods and so on. Once you drive outside the main city center you can see the imprint the communism left on the city with the large, spartan, and window deficient apartment buildings.
We walked non-stop for two and half days touring the city - seeing so much that I had to look through all my pictures once home to fully absorb it all again. My eyes were definitely stimulated taking in all that there was to see. The St. Charles Bridge was one of my favorite places. From this vantage point you can so much of the city on each side of the river and the bridge is decorated with statues on each side depicting different saints.
The food was delicious and the sip of Pilsner Urquell that I had was refreshing - it seems best to drink a beer in it's home country. With the cold temperatures most restaurants and cafes were serving Gluhwein (hot spiced red wine) at little tables set up at the entrances - based on the honor system.
This past weekend was also the opening of the Christmas market in the old city center, which also meant tons of people. We were told to be cautious of pick pockets and it was crowded. The market was quaint and festive, but mostly full of tacky items with no artistic or even homemade quality - more mass produced stuff than anything. The back drop of the old town square was very picturesque and the atmosphere was certainly spirited.
Two intriguing facts: 1) The Czech Republic is a member of the European Union, but not on the Euro currency, but almost everywhere we went accepted Euros (not the best exchange rate, but still convenient) and 2) Almost everyone spoke English and it was super easy to get around - surprisingly it seemed easier to get around using English than it does in Frankfurt.
A great experience and I'd go again!