Monday, November 30, 2009

Morning in Vienna, evening in Prague

We decided we were tired of European breakfast so we found a cafe that served "American breakfast". It was so good to get fried eggs and ham, rather than a variety of meats and cheese. Three sunny-side eggs served over thin sliced ham with rolls and butter seemed almost like breakfast back home. It's funny how the unusual choices for breakfast went from tasting wonderful to "Oh, please! Just gimme a fried egg" in just a couple of weeks.

Before heading off to Prague, we decided to cram in one more museum visit, so we went to the Freud Museum, located in the apartment where he lived and practiced psychiatry until he fled Austria in June, 1938. We took a taxi to the museum but decided to walk back, which turned out to be a mistake. It was farther than we imagined and we both were quite uncomfortable by the time we got back to the hotel.

Here are the pictures taken in Vienna that morning.

In Budapest we had learned two important things about taxis: 1) Never accept a ride from a driver who approaches you in the terminal, and 2) know the conversion rate for the currency in the country so you know how much you are being charged. There was one more lesson to learn, unfortunately, and when we arrived in Prague we had a problem again. From lesson 1), we went directly to the taxi stand where there were a number of taxis waiting together. The driver showed us a lamenated (more official looking) chart telling his rates to various parts of the city. From lesson 2), we knew that the amount to be charged was about $50. What we didn't know was what was a fair charge from the train station to the hotel. Since we didn't know how far he would have to take us, we agreed to the charge. When the ride was only about 5 minutes, it was clear it was a scam but I had already agreed to the charge up front so I went ahead and paid it. At the hotel the receptionist told us it should not have cost more than $15. So, lesson 3) is "always know in advance what the ride SHOULD cost". Live and learn.

We settled into our new hotel, a lovely boutique inn located right on the old town center called, logically enough, "The Old Town Center Hotel". From there the receptionist directed us to an authentic Czech restaurant where we had a delicious meal. The locals in the restaurant/pub drank a lot and got very loud with back-slapping and table-pounding laughter, literally. The noise was deafening but the food was great. Even though we were stuffed, Andrew order an apple struedel that was incredible, served with a delicious ice cream scoop coated in crumpled hard caramel candy. A cherry sauce topped it all off to perfection.

Here are the shots from our first evening in Prague.

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