26.02.2010 - 28.02.2010
This is what I feel like I am trying to do. Trying to keep the gray sky from turning my mind and thoughts gray. If you read my last post, you'll know that I have been suffering from a bit of feeling 'down'. I had decided to put an end to it and get out to explore, regardless of the weather.
I talked another civilian RN into taking a spur of the moment trip with me. Where? How about Prague? It's only 5 hour drive away and we have a 3 day weekend to do it in. Now, this sounds like a lot of time but in reality it isn't. You will see below that 3 days (when working nights) is a horribly short time to travel and explore a city. I am still trying to convince the scheduler at work of this....
Lets run a quick time-line:
0730 We both get off work and head to my place to meet and drop off the extra car and pick up Aco.
0845 Coffee is had (couldn't start the day without it), clothes are changed, car is packed, Aco is rounded up and we are off to pick up the rental car.
0910 Arrive at car rental desk. Wait in line, pick up keys and receive instructions on return and obtaining a gas card. (Gas card 'must' be obtained in order to fuel the car ~ in Germany only ~ at the American base prices). This is extremely important due to the price of gas on the economy here. It's over $6/gallon here in Germany and I have no idea what the price might be in Czech Republic. Off we go...
1010 Arrive at Vogelweh base. This is the base that is closest to my apartment where we will drop the other car due to the fact that you CAN NOT park your car at the car rental place on Ramstein Base. Who has ever rented a car at a place that won't allow you to park your personal vehicle for the duration of the rental? Not me! Never....already frustrated that we have to drive back to my place to drop off the other car before we can hit the road toward Prague.
So we are at Vogelweh, after dropping Switzer's car at my place. First stop is the ATM, yes...we both forgot to get some Euro and although we will be spending on the Czech currency, it's always good to have Euro. Especially since we are traveling through Germany to get there.
Now onto the gas station to get the Gas card. No coffee in the coffee machine at the station. Getting more aggravated. I'm getting tired! Woke up at 3pm yesterday and still have more errands then a 5 hour drive to an unfamiliar city and exploring to do....
Stand in line for said Gas card....
Teller informs me that I can't get card for rental. I have to go to the security office to get the card then I have to come back here to get it loaded with funds. Uggggghhhhh!!!
Off to the security office. On arrival, the window has the blinds closed. Not certain if we are in the right place we stalk a passerby and ask. Yeah, right place...just pick up the phone on the wall. Oh, right! The phone (that I didn't see). Thanks. Phone picked up and I asked about getting a Gas card. The answer went something like this "yes, this is the right place....but we are closed now......on duty days we are open after 4pm.....on non duty days we are open at ???......but it's a duty day and we aren't open.....you have to go to Ramstien.....to the security bldg num.........." FUCK IT! I am SO DONE! Yes, that's exactly how I felt at this point. I had the piece of paper that told me that I could get this done at Vogelweh and that's why I came here because I hate trying to navigate the base at Ramstein and I had to come back this way to my house to drop off the car anyway. So I ranted and bitched for about 10 minutes to Switzer (who pleasantly listened), then we hit the road....nearly 11am now.
As it turns out, you really don't need to get a card for a rental. Oh, yeah you probably 'should' get one but no one asks in the economy to see the registration and make certain that you are gassing the car that is on the card. Why should anyone care anyway? Gas is Gas. Does it matter what car you are gassing? Well, obviously someone thinks so. Let's just say that I know you can use your card but I can't discuss how I paid for MY gas on the economy!
It's pushing 6pm when we finally get to the hotel, checked in and to our room. It's been a long day and we are both exhausted. But...we are in a new city and don't want to totally waste the evening. We have no Krona on us so we head to the Metro station to use the cash machine. Finding it without difficulty about 10 min walk from the hotel. Very convenient. Next item on agenda? FOOD! I am starving....and I really want to try out the Czech Beer that I have read so much about.
Not really wanting to venture into the city we look around the local area and find a restaurant/bar about a block away from the Metro. It's a cute little place and we end up sharing the far end of a table with some locals. It looks like a local place. We are the only English speakers here. I think there might be others that are tourists, many languages are being spoken. The waiter brings Switzer a dark brew and myself a medium brew. I don't know the names but they are both WONDERFUL. I'm certainly not a beer connoisseur but these are the easiest drinking beer I have ever tasted (the dark was especially good).
After looking over the menu for quite some time, we finally decided on eats. I ordered 'Mother-in-laws Breath' or something like that. It was potato pancake's with some sort of white cheese in the middle and fried.....Wonderful tasting with the side of sauerkraut. Switzer got a steak that was unfortunately, a little on the tough side. The local couple at the other end of our table took great delight in watching my reaction to the food when It was delivered and tasted. They were smiling and giggling...weird? I didn't get any pics...didn't want to embarrass Switzer too much! A couple of beers were had then it was back to the hotel for an early turn in due to exhaustion. Man, I am getting old!
I think we slept for about 10 hours.....I don't remember anything except having to get up around 0200 to take Aco out to potty. (poor girl, I have got to find a sitter for her).
We started out early the next morning and spent the entire day exploring, mostly wandering around lost and gawking at the architecture. Street food was considered as there were multiple stands set up in the town square.
But it was early and we resisted since we were still full from the hotel breakfast. Lunch was Nachos and quesadilla at a little bar alongside more Czech beer. Not very original for Czech food but it was good and filling and the beer a delight...again (although the service a bit poor).
I think we got to see most of the main tourist sites:
Of course with all this beauty, I felt that it wouldn't be complete without a statue of me and there was an open space for just such a statue:
Charles Bridge: This was full of people and half of it was blocked with scaffolding. It was much prettier at night and I got a shot of the full moon as well. The street performer was fun to watch and I also have a video that's pretty cute. I have to get back for a Marionette show sometime.
Old Town Square and Misc Buildings and views and such:
I took my time picking out select postcards to mail out. If you didn't get one this time, maybe I'll get you next time. Make sure that you have given me your address though or you'll never get one! haha
The Jewish Quarter: We saw the graveyard completly surrounded with fencing and were unable to figure out how to get into it. I got a couple of pics from the gated door, but nothing up close. It would have been fun/interesting to have been able to explore this a little more up close.
The Horologe (Astronomical Clock): We took some great pics here but didn't see it hit the hour and get to experience the figures moving at the top of the hour.
Now for the not-so-touristy type stuff. These were the sights that I will probably remember the most. There were the man-hole covers that were quite unique.
Then we searched out the Graffiti Wall
Just before we found the Graffiti wall, we ran across the Love locks. I think my favorite is the one with a yellow ribbon....
There was an underground tour that we had hoped to get to but timing wasn't on our side. I'm sure that there are many more things that we could/should have seen but overall, it was a good trip. The weather (although still cool) was wonderful with the sun shining most of the time and we were greeted with a full moon after dark.
Another local bar was found for dinner/drinks and we enjoyed the gallivanting of a group of Englishmen out on the town for the weekend. They were put in their place when a couple of girls they were flirting with suddenly decided to start making out. We all got quite a laugh out of that....
Here is a pic of Switzer and I at the bridge....
Self photos make me look like a dork, but we had a great time and can't wait for the next adventure!!