Monthly Archives: April 2009

Day 5 Evening – Prague

Hola!!!

Reached Prague around 2 hours late. The bus ride was comfortable though. First bus I have taken where they gave headphones like in the plain and free flow servings of coffee/tea/hot chocolate. Passed a place called Bruno, which is also in Cheksey. It looked like quite a big town.

Reached hotel around 2. Its a nice hotel, situated in a residential area. Before I explain what I did around Praha (the chesky name for Prague), let me name the locations:

There is Charles Bridge (a bridge), Letenske Sady (a hill with numerous lookout points) kurlov most ( a small man made ‘waterfall’ near the bridge, its supposed to be famous but dunno for what), Old town square, Stare Mestro, Wensleslas Square.

Well, decided to walk though the hostel is a bit far from the city center. I think walking gives the best feel of the city. First went to Letenske Sady, then Charles bridge then the rest one by one.

Prague is quite nice, I realise the various countries are in the following categories: Barcelona and London the cosmopolitian city, Paris the old-trying-to-be-new city, Sevilla and Vienna the grand old dame, regal and elegant, Madrid and Prague the blooming girl, chirpy and cheerful.

Prague is nice, its compact but with the same number of people, so its crowded and very lively. Its just full of life, no wonder people like it so much. The people are most helpful. More than once people have come to be when they see me even opening the map and helped me out with directions. Twice, the ladies actually accompanied me to the place I wanted to go to coz they found it difficult to explain. In the train, when I asked one person if this is the right direction and she answered softly, invariably the rest would come up to me and ask me if I got my query answered. The tram driver waited patiently until I looked up the station board, then went to the front of the tram to look up the tram’s no and climb in. Apparently, he was the same uncle whose Tram I took in the morning to the hostel and figured I looked too nice a girl to go anywhere but home at 9 in the night. (Thanke for the applause again!)

Food here is pizza, pasta or various asian cuisines. Falafel, my faithful food so far, is not very common in Praha. I have not found many falafel stalls. But there are significant asian stalls. I had thai food in the evening. Met another girl in the restaurant. Apparently she works for the Associate for International Research, a prvate ocmpany which does cost-of-living research for expats. They have clients all over the place as any company which wants to find the appropriate renumeration package turn to them for research data. She was having dinner alone too and we just joined up. Had a good conversation with her.

That’s it. I need to go to two more place,Kutna Hora (bone church) and the Praha Castle. Kutna Hora is another town 1 hour drive away, which is not feasible on Saturday, when I am leaving. So am going there tomorrow and then visit the Praha Castle on Saturday before coming back.

Ok dead tired. Later!

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Day 7 Night: Vienna

Today started off very good and ended very bad ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Ok, lemme start my narration.
Went to the K-museum, Its actually called the Knutchhistoriche museum but that very long, so am going to call it the K-museum (typical IT style :P)
Anyway, the lobby of the museum was nice and so was the main dome decorations. But painting and sculpture wise nothing great. Photographs were allowed and I took some but I was honestly speaking, disapppointed. The main reasons why I went there was coz they said they have Raphael, Titan and Rembrandt. But they had one or two of each. However, objectively speaking, I have seen all the other paintings by these painters and they have done only a finite number of paintings.
The other paintings I have seen before, usually when they had some to Louvre or Prado (Madrid). The time we went to spain, a lot of paintings were on loan from other museums, some of them from here.
Ended my museum tour around 6 hours later, at 330. Plan was to eat and then go to Belvedere, the place of Eugine, Duke of Saxony. Then went to this recommended pizza place and had the most enormous pizza possible! Well, that’s where bad stuff started.
See the pizza as HUGE (check out the pic), its like a canadian supreme, but with very very thin crust. ย I initially wanted to pack the rest to eat later in the evening but then realised that with computer, waterbottle etc, a pizza box was too much and would not fit into the bag. So decided to convert it to a one-day meal and have it there. BAD decision.
Took me around one and a half hour to finish the pizza and ended up so full that stomach started hurting. So decided to walk to Belvedere, which s quite a distance, to digest off.
Belvedere was ok, see the pics, nothing great but ok. Anyway, on the way back it started pouring and there was no shelter in belvedere, it being mostly a garden. Got royally drenched and in my haste to get to a shelter took the wrong direction, as I wanted to head back to the K-museum and from there hostel. So ended up way off where I wanted and thus extra walk with 60kmph wind and pouring rain. Anyway, checked the comp and it was safely covered.
Well on the way, I met this interesting guy. He works in the non-proliferation department of UN and he had approached me on the street (I had sat down in one of the benches to have some water) for directions. Well, the first question he asked (after directions) was “give me 10 reasons why India should not sign the nuclear non-proliferationย treaty”. Well, honestly speaking, I did not know enough to argue with a guy from that department and changed the subject to economic climate in India (something I knew about :)) Well, what went wrong here? After a good 30 mins conversation (very interesting conversation about nuclear security in Pakistan and the army’s real control over the northern frontier etc), we went to our respective directions. then I realised. I did not know his name and did not ask for contact!!!!!!!!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Talk about a brilliant networking opportunity flown off ๐Ÿ˜ฅ
Well, by then with my stomach, the cold clothes, and this realisation (which left me very irritated indeed), I headed off to the hostel. Half way through (I did not take the train to still work off the food and in general), my legs started hurting very badly. So though of taking the station but the next station is 100m from the hostel, 1.5 km from where I am ๐Ÿ˜ฆ So walked to the hostel.
On the way, decided to go to the pharmacy and buy some anti-acid (just in case). Well all pharmacies were closed so resorted to the next best thing I knew: Coke. Now some coke later, am feeling much much better. Came back and asked for a change of room coz I really need to sleep. Ended up getting a mixed dorm with 6 people. Tomorrow will tell if that was a good decision. Anyway had a good hot shower and now am here mailing ๐Ÿ™‚
Will heading off from hostel at around 730 tomo (or earlier if the receptionist suggests so, will check with him). Nothing more to add here. Uploaded the pics. Oh! I want to save the caption on local as I would need to delete some albums to create space, how can I save the captions on local? Am sure there is a way but too lazy to google the net on a holiday.

Day 5 Morning: Vienna

Nothing to add from last night except that I slept ๐Ÿ™‚ The room turned out to have all girls though I realise it does not make any difference. Am out before anyone else even wakes up and in bed before anyone else comes in. So all good ๐Ÿ™‚
Leaving for Prague now. Will mail from there if there is wi-fi. If I dont mail, then there is no wi-fi there ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 4 Evening – Vienna

Today started off very good and ended very bad ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Ok, lemme start my narration.

Went to the K-museum, Its actually called the Knutchhistoriche museum but that very long, so am going to call it the K-museum (typical IT style :P)

Anyway, the lobby of the museum was nice and so was the main dome decorations. But painting and sculpture wise nothing great. Photographs were allowed and I took some but I was honestly speaking, disapppointed. The main reasons why I went there was coz they said they have Raphael, Titan and Rembrandt. But they had one or two of each. However, objectively speaking, I have seen all the other paintings by these painters and they have done only a finite number of paintings.

The other paintings I have seen before, usually when they had some to Louvre or Prado (Madrid). The time we went to spain, a lot of paintings were on loan from other museums, some of them from here.

Ended my museum tour around 6 hours later, at 330. Plan was to eat and then go to Belvedere, the place of Eugine, Duke of Saxony. Then went to this recommended pizza place and had the most enormous pizza possible! Well, that’s where bad stuff started.

See the pizza as HUGE (check out the pic), its like a canadian supreme, but with very very thin crust. I initially wanted to pack the rest to eat later in the evening but then realised that with computer, waterbottle etc, a pizza box was too much and would not fit into the bag. So decided to convert it to a one-day meal and have it there. BAD decision.

Took me around one and a half hour to finish the pizza and ended up so full that stomach started hurting. So decided to walk to Belvedere, which s quite a distance, to digest off.

Belvedere was ok, see the pics, nothing great but ok. Anyway, on the way back it started pouring and there was no shelter in belvedere, it being mostly a garden. Got royally drenched and in my haste to get to a shelter took the wrong direction, as I wanted to head back to the K-museum and from there hostel. So ended up way off where I wanted and thus extra walk with 60kmph wind and pouring rain. Anyway, checked the comp and it was safely covered.

Well on the way, I met this interesting guy. He works in the non-proliferation department of UN and he had approached me on the street (I had sat down in one of the benches to have some water) for directions. Well, the first question he asked (after directions) was “give me 10 reasons why India should not sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty”. Well, honestly speaking, I did not know enough to argue with a guy from that department and changed the subject to economic climate in India (something I knew about :)) Well, what went wrong here? After a good 30 mins conversation (very interesting conversation about nuclear security in Pakistan and the army’s real control over the northern frontier etc), we went to our respective directions. then I realised. I did not know his name and did not ask for contact!!!!!!!!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Talk about a brilliant networking opportunity flown off ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

Well, by then with my stomach, the cold clothes, and this realisation (which left me very irritated indeed), I headed off to the hostel. Half way through (I did not take the train to still work off the food and in general), my legs started hurting very badly. So though of taking the station but the next station is 100m from the hostel, 1.5 km from where I am ๐Ÿ˜ฆ So walked to the hostel.

On the way, decided to go to the pharmacy and buy some anti-acid (just in case). Well all pharmacies were closed so resorted to the next best thing I knew: Coke. Now some coke later, am feeling much much better. Came back and asked for a change of room coz I really need to sleep. Ended up getting a mixed dorm with 6 people. Tomorrow will tell if that was a good decision. Anyway had a good hot shower and now am here mailing ๐Ÿ™‚

Will heading off from hostel at around 730 tomo (or earlier if the receptionist suggests so, will check with him). Nothing more to add here. Uploaded the pics. Oh! I want to save the caption on local as I would need to delete some albums to create space, how can I save the captions on local? Am sure there is a way but too lazy to google the net on a holiday.

Day 4 Morning – Vienna

Harlow!

Start of another day.Lemme tell you about my night. I had chosen a nice bottom-bunk bed (so that if the others keep their lights on, it would still be dark in my bed). Well, in came an old mexican lady (from mexico! Hope the hostel has checked her for the swine flu etc) who had some form of back problem. So, being the nice girl that i am (thanke thanke for the applause), I gave up my bed and took over the upper bunk. The other two were used by some other ladies.

Anyway, the whole night the lady was snoring so loudly it was impossible to sleep. It was not even a consistent snoring, it changed tones, becoming gruff at some points and high nasal at others. It would suddenly increase in volume and suddenly disappear. And it was oh so not musical. Well sleeping became quite difficult with that kind of noise.

Anyway, heading to the museum now and then belvedere castle. Its a cold rainy day today and I hope the weather clears up soon.

Day 4: Vienna

Start of another day.Lemme tell you about my night. I had chosen a nice bottom-bunk bed (so that if the others keep their lights on, it would still be dark in my bed). Well, in came an old mexican lady (from mexico! Hope the hostel has checked her for the swine flu etc) who had some form of back problem. So, being the nice girl that i am (thanke thanke for the applause), I gave up my bed and took over the upper bunk. The other two were used by some other ladies.
Anyway, the whole night the lady was snoring so loudly it was impossible to sleep. It was not even a consistent snoring, it changed tones, becoming gruff at some points and high nasal at others. It would suddenly increase in volume and suddenly disappear. And it was oh so not musical. Well sleeping became quite difficult with that kind of noise.
Anyway, heading to the museum now and then belvedere castle. Its a cold rainy day today and I hope the weather clears up soon.

Day 3 – Vienna

excerpt of my day 3 in Vienna since morning.
well came to the hostel, which is 2 mins from Westbhanhof – the western station. Check in is only at 2pm so left the luggage in the locker and went touring.
True to my style, I decided to walk as much as possible and have been walking pretty much non-stop since 10 am. First I decided to walk from the hostel to the city center, its through a shop filled street which is like the Orchard road. Actually not the orchard road as OR is all dept store, while high street in Europe is more like individual shops. It’s like the high street in Madrid.
Upon reaching the city-center, my first aim was to visit the houfbourg palace. That and the art museum (which is some long k-name and I don’t have the map with me) are my must see places. Well entered the place through a garden which led straight to the butterfly house. There were not that many butterflies in there so was not worth the money. Anyway, from there bypassed Albertina (a museum which is showcasing a Rembrandt collection and am sorely tempted to visit it, Rembrandt being my favourite painter after Rephael). Anyway, I saw a good Rembrandt collection at the Prado museum in Madrid and so did not want to go into another one. Then I went to the Austrian National Library, it was beautiful!!!!!! check out the pics!!! Then visited the palace. nothing great. The building is huge and imposing, but so are Versailles, Alcazar in Madrid, and Buckingham. I guess I have seen enough palaces. The interior was not that impressive either. The one interior I really loved was Marie Antionette antichamber (?) which is white carpet with green embriodery. Here, there was nothing great.
Then at 3 decided to get something to eat, wanted to go to Natschmarket, where Asian food is and try Chinese food, but saw Sacher on the way and went in to try the Sacher torte, which is very famous. I must saw it was really good, it was a chocolate cake which a layer of raspberry. The thing is I did not quite like the raspberry taste but I don’t like any berries in my cake. Objectively speaking, it was very good and well worth the 4.90 euro is cost (yup, Vienna is expensive).
Well then decided to walk to Natchmarket thinking it would take some time. Ended there in 15 mins and saw the place I wanted (Mr. Lee, a recommended eatery) and ate Thai Chinese. Was good, the tofu was not fresh, it was hard but the rest was good. Oh btw, the recommended are all by hostel brochures, city maps and people.
Then walked back to the Opera and from there to the palace followed by City Hall, Parliament, turning into the Museum and the palace courtyard. The palace had multiple entrances and I guess the above route is not going to make sense unless you have an idea of the place. Will take a pic of the map.
Came back to the hostel. according to the receptionist, I have walked close to 26.5 km today (they actually calculated!)….needless to say, don’t expect me to lose weight as I more than made up for it by food ๐Ÿ™‚
Well, tomo planning to visit the art museum (can any trip be without a visit to the museum?) and then walk around coz I think I have seen everything.
I have uploaded my pics in picasa (p4-p5 Day-) check it out! Did not caption much, hopefully will do that later.