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Quite the Walk!

Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 05:51 pm from Czech Republic Czech Republic
Day 95

I mentioned it last night but the Use-It map for Prague has 3 different walking routes outlined on it. I did one yesterday and today I wanted to do the other two. These two routes took me on quite the adventure today. Here's the route all said and done: 11+ miles in Prague.

The end of one of the walks started pretty close to the hostel. Rather than hike to the official start I ended up just doing the walk backwards. It took me up Vitkov hill to a decent view of the city and the Zizkov Television Tower. The TV tower was the next big sight. It's a very interesting building. Some people hate it but it is what it is. In 2000, an artist put some giant crawling babies on the side of the tower which made it even more strange. From there I zig zagged through the city back to the Wencleslas Square where I started the next walk.

I headed north and ate a sandwich and had some mulled wine (hot spiced wine) before continuing across the river into Letna park. I hiked up and gained some elevation until I was behind the big castle. The route had me follow through a really old neighborhood called Novy Svet which has some really cool old windy streets and buildings dating back to the 14th century.

There's an old monastery in the area that has been brewing beer for a long time. I stopped in and had a beer then went over to Petrin's tower. It's modeled after the Eiffel Tower and you can climb to the top for some good views. It was pretty crowded and I didn't feel like dealing with more crowds and lines so I kept on going.

The park around the tower is extremely confusing to navigate. There are paved paths that double back on each other, split into 3 different directions, merge, change direction, etc. All of this while surrounded by big trees and steep elevations so you can't actually tell where you're going. Eventually I made it down into the city and made my way back across the overly crowded Charles Bridge.

The crowds here in Prague have been pretty bad. I'm not sure if I've just been lucky earlier in the trip, but it seems like the crowds here are far beyond what I've run into elsewhere. Rather than continue walking around I just went to the grocery to get some food for dinner and came back to the hostel. I had a full enough day and it felt good to get back and shower and take my shoes off.

Tomorrow afternoon I get on a train to Vienna where I'll spend a few nights before heading into Italy.
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Prague
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Zizkov Television Tower
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Novy Svet - A section of the city dating to the 14th century
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Got to have some beer brewed in a monastery

Exploring Prague

Saturday, September 28, 2013 @ 04:47 pm from Czech Republic Czech Republic
Day 94

After checking into the hostel last night I started talking with an Australian guy in my room. We went out to the lobby and the lady working at the hostel counter had just ordered some Vietnamese food from across the street. It smelled good so we went out and had dinner there. When I get sick in Albuquerque I pretty much solely consume green chile stew or Vietnamese Pho to help fight the cold. I jumped at the chance to get some Pho which I happily spiced up with chile sauce.

After that, I watched Breaking Bad, took some cold meds then went to bed. This morning after breakfast I set out to walk around the town and explore Prague. I started out by walking to the famous Charles Bridge. By the time I got there it was already pretty crowded. The bridge goes to the other side of town where the castle, cathedral and basilica are on top of the hill.

I walked up there for some good views of the city. Unfortunately I got there in the early afternoon so the sun made it a little difficult to photograph and see the city. After that I walked down the hill and started on a walk outlined on a guide map that I was given at the hostel. The walk took me along the river through some parks and scenic parts of town.

Along the way I made a stop to try a trdelnik. It's actually a hungarian treat but they make them here as well. It's basically a cinnamon roll that's made by wrapping the bread around a rod and heating it up rotisserie style. Mine wasn't quite as warm as I was hoping for but it still tasted good.

The movie Mission Impossible (1996) was filmed partially in Prague so I ate the trdelnik by the river overlooking the Charles Bridge where they filmed several scenes in the movie. There was some kind of rowing race going on. It was funny to watch because each boat had someone yelling "row" but no one was doing it at the same time and it just looked like no one could follow directions. I'm sure whichever team got their act together and actually rowed on pace would have destroyed everyone else.

I started to follow another walk outlined on the map guide but decided to cut it a little early. I made it back to the old square / astronomical clock area where I was distracted by all the food stands set up. I read that while in Prague I really needed to try one of the sausages. Eventually I found a stand that was selling them and ordered one. Instead of being served on a normal bun like an american hot dog, they're served in a cut open baguette.

On the way back to the hostel I stopped at a grocery store and picked up some apples, oranges, a couple beers and some food for dinner. By the time I got back to the hostel it was getting close to 4 so I'll probably just stay here the rest of the night. My cold is still present so I'll take some more meds and hope that another full night of sleep helps.

Tomorrow I'll take another walk on the guide map which will take me through some parts of town I haven't visited yet. Some of the cities I've visited so far have maps by a company called Use-It. Each city map is created by locals for tourists. It's all free and they're usually really informative and don't have any kinds of ads or anything on them. That's what I've been using here in Prague.
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Old Square
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Trdelnik - a hollow cinnamon roll
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Charles Bridge
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John Lennon Wall

Late Arrival in Prague

Friday, September 27, 2013 @ 07:23 pm from Czech Republic Czech Republic
Day 93

Today was pretty much entirely a travel day. I left Berlin around 12:45 this afternoon on a train for Prague. When we were in Dresden something went wrong with the engine and we had to wait around 45 minutes while they got us another engine car.

South of Dresden we started following a river and there were some really nice views along the way. The towns and villages we passed were very "old fashioned" looking and there seemed to be a pretty active mindset with people hiking and biking around.

I finally made it to Prague and checked into my hostel. I'll probably head out and get some food then call it an early night so I can help fight this cold.
The Shambles. #europetrip2013
Atomium in Brussels. #brussels #europetrip2013
Buttresses at Notre Dame. #europetrip2013 #paris
Riomaggiore in the Cinque Terre. #riomaggiore #europetrip2013
Berlin Wall. #berlin #europetrip2013
Churros y chocolate. #valencia #churros #chocolate #europetrip2013
Manometer. How much of a man are you? At the Sv. Norbert monastery brewery. #prague #europetrip2013
Cliffs of Moher. #europetrip2013
Schobrunn Palace. Its the mini Versailles of Vienna. #vienna #europetrip2013
Roman forums. #rome #europetrip2013

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Where I've been:

Good Evening… Planet Earth
All the countries I visited on this trip (in yellow).

What's this about?

Traveling is something I've loved doing for as long as I can remember. I've been lucky enough to travel out of the US a few times but never longer than 2 weeks at a time. I decided that I should go see the world and experience all it has to offer. I booked a one-way ticket to Dublin, Ireland to depart on June 26, 2013. After I get to Europe I'll let serendipity take hold and see where I end up. No schedules and no itinerary… just go with the flow. That's as close to a plan as I'm making.

Who am I?

My name's Brandon O'Brien and I'm a travelholic. Before this journey I've been to 11 countries and put over 17,500 miles on various motorcycle trips through the USA and Canada. I'm a self-employed web developer so I'm fortunate enough to be able to work anywhere there's an internet connection. That's what truly made this experience possible.

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