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If you have your heart set on visiting particular sights. Fresh fruits and vegetables and most meats are not allowed. You can also bring in duty-free a liter of alcohol.
Any liquid- containing foods must be packed in checked luggage. When possible. Sightseeing Sightseeing can be hard work. You can mail the documents from home. Most sights keep stable hours in the summer months. On holidays see list on Holidays and Festivals. Plan Ahead Set up an itinerary that allows you to fit in all your must-see sights. As for food. For a one-stop look at opening hours in Prague.
If you bring.
To adapt. To get the most out of the self-guided walks and sight descriptions in this book. Some exhibits are included in the entry price. Flashes can damage oil paintings and distract others in the room. Study up. Look for signs or ask. If cameras are permitted. Try visiting popular sights very early. Even without a flash. Some sights include or rent audioguides. Museums may have special exhibits in addition to their permanent collection. Flash photography is often banned.
To avoid checking a small backpack. Evening visits are usually peaceful. At sights. This book offers tips on specific sights. At churches—which often offer interesting art usually free and a welcome seat—a modest dress code no bare shoulders or shorts is encouraged. Going at the right time helps avoid crowds. Expect changes—artwork can be on tour.
Some important sights have metal detectors or conduct bag searches that will slow your entry. A major feature of this book is its extensive listing of good- value rooms.
I like places that are clean. I make it standard operating procedure to ask when I arrive at a sight if there is a film in English. Monolingual Americans are in luck in Prague. Use the information in this book as an introduction— not the final word.
Before you leave a sight. Guards usher people out. I choose two or three favorite neighborhoods and recommend the best accommodation values in each. Ranging widely in quality. Sleeping I favor accommodations and restaurants that are handy to your sightseeing activities. Most sights stop admitting people minutes before closing time. Many places sell postcards that highlight their attractions.
Every sight or museum offers more than what is covered in this book. Rather than list lodgings scattered throughout a city.
If you bring along your own pair of earphones and a Y-jack.
At sights outside of Prague. These are generally well worth your time. Some sights also run short films featuring their highlights and history. As you look over the listings. If a hotel is well reviewed in a guidebook or two. To write a review.
Comparison-shop and make your choice. Travel Review Websites: TripAdvisor www. See Holidays and Festivals for a list of major holidays and festivals in the Czech Republic. Prices listed are for one-night stays in peak season. Given the economic downturn.
Using an online booking service costs the hotel about 20 percent and logically closes the door on special deals. Book direct. You can also try asking for a cheaper room or a discount. In the Czech Republic. Traveling alone can be expensive: A single room is often only 20 percent cheaper than a double. To guard against theft in your room. Breakfast is generally included sometimes continental. The price is usually posted in the room. If this happens to you. A triple is much cheaper than a double and a single.
For more complicated problems. Hoteliers can be a great help and source of advice. But even at the best places. Some rooms come with a safe. You should be able to safely check your bag at the hotel and dive right into sightseeing. Report your concerns clearly and calmly at the front desk. See Making Reservations If you suspect night noise will be a problem if.
Most know their city well. To get these rates. Air- conditioning malfunctions. Rick Steves discounts apply to readers with ebooks as well as printed books. Some readers with ebooks have reported difficulty getting a Rick Steves discount. Most hostels offer kitchen facilities. Independent hostels tend to be easygoing.
Above all. Official hostels are part of Hostelling International and adhere to various rules such as a Unlike in Western Europe. Many hostels rent sheets. The boss changes the sheets. If you settle your bill the night before you leave. Family and private rooms may be available on request. Checkout can pose problems if surprise charges pop up on your bill. Internet access. Keep a positive attitude. If your hotel is a disappointment. These places are inexpensive. When restaurant-hunting.
Venturing even a block or two off the main drag leads to authentic. The service charge is included in the bill. This is affordable sightseeing for your palate. Only a rude waiter will rush you. Good service is relaxed slow to an American. Most restaurants tack a menu onto their door for browsers and have an English menu inside. Czech restaurants are open Sunday through Thursday Seek out vegetarian.
See Czech Dumplings Bread: Pecivo bread is either delivered with the soup. Czech Food Czech cuisine is heavy. Ethnic restaurants provide a welcome break from Slavic fare. Expect lots of meat. Main Dishes: Venues are required to post stickers on the exterior of their premises indicating whether they allow smoking. Tables are not private. The saying goes: A Czech restaurant is a social place where people come to relax. You can ask to join someone. After a sip of beer.
See How Was Your Trip? Czech perch and Norwegian salmon have cropped up on many local menus. The waiter will bring it with the main dish. Although espressos and instant coffees have made headway in the past few years. In this landlocked country. You choose your starches and garnishes. If you are spending the night out with friends. This velvety drink remains popular today.
Bohemia is beer country. In bars and restaurants. If you want still water. If you drink three. These healthy waters have a high mineral content. Tap water is generally not served.
Locals also like the herb liquor becherovka. Water comes bottled and generally costs more than beer. Traveling as a Temporary Local We travel all the way to the Czech Republic to enjoy differences —to become temporary locals. Europeans generally like Americans. While Czechs look bemusedly at some of our Yankee excesses—and worriedly at others—they nearly always afford us individual travelers all the warmth we deserve.
But if there is a negative aspect to the Czech image of Americans. You can eat and sleep—simply. Experiencing the real Europe requires catching it by surprise.
Make do with the old car. Judging from all the happy feedback I receive from travelers who have used this book. Travel is freedom.. In many ways. Europe is a cultural carnival. One of the benefits of travel is the eye-opening realization that there are logical. Of course. Travel can make you a happier American.
A tight budget forces you to travel close to the ground. By broadening perspectives. Among your most prized souvenirs will be the strands of different cultures you choose to knit into your own character. Connecting with people carbonates your experience. Any culture has much to share. Rather than fear the diversity on this planet.
Recognize tourist traps. If your trip is low on magic moments. Our Earth is home to seven billion equally precious people. See things as different. Globetrotting destroys ethnocentricity. Never sacrifice sleep. In tough economic times. Be fanatically positive and militantly optimistic. The world is a cultural yarn shop. Extroverts have more fun. Seek the truth. Europeans like us. Join in!
Simply enjoy the local-style alternatives to expensive hotels and restaurants. Give a culture the benefit of your open mind. Thoughtful travel engages us with the world. For the latest. For a valuable list of reports and experiences—good and. Key to This Book Updates This book is updated regularly.
For transit or tour departures. I first list the frequency. I use a Sleep Code. To categorize accommodations. Like the Czech Republic. When giving opening times. I include both peak season and off-season hours if they differ. Abbreviations and Times I use the following symbols and abbreviations in this book: Sights are rated: For anything over Slavonice Tiny town hugging the Austrian border.
For more on these destinations beyond the Czech Republic. Wine-lovers head for the Mikulov wine region. For now. Beyond the Czech borders. Poland—each an easy. Hikers enjoy Wallachia. In this case. To get the latest rates and print a cheat sheet.
To roughly convert prices in crowns to dollars. Unless otherwise noted. Prices can change without notice. I use the following code to describe accommodations in this book. Abbreviations To pack maximum information into minimum space. For other updates. Prices listed are per room. According to this code. The hotelier wants to know these key pieces of information also included in the sample request form in the appendix: Book several weeks ahead.
Most recommended hotels are accustomed to guests who speak only English. The is our international access code. Or you can go straight to the hotel website.
Email is the clearest and most economical way to make a reservation. For more tips on calling. To make calls within the Czech Republic. Requesting a Reservation: To make a reservation. Simply make a quick phone call or send an email. Most hoteliers will request your credit-card number to hold the room. If canceling via email. While you can email your credit-card information I do.
Confirming a Reservation: You must tell them that you want that room at the given rate. Cancellation policies can be strict: Internet deals may require prepayment. When you request a room. Make sure you mention any discounts— for Rick Steves readers or otherwise—when you make the reservation.
Canceling a Reservation: If you must cancel your reservation. Ask about cancellation policies before you book.
Sweet dumplings. If you encounter a language barrier. When you anticipate crowds weekends are worst. Call a day or two in advance and fill in a cancellation. On the small chance that a hotel loses track of your reservation. Reserving Rooms as You Travel: You can make reservations as you travel. Reconfirming Your Reservation: Always call to reconfirm your room reservation a few days in advance from the road.
How Was Your Trip? Were your travels fun. On a quick visit. I value your feedback. Thanks in advance—it helps a lot.
Dumplings with frozen fruit lose some of the flavor. In Czech towns and villages. The Habsburgs lost traditionally Czech Silesia to Prussia in the s. The boisterousness of the Czech polka contrasts with the melancholy of the Moravian ballad.
The deep spirituality of the Baroque era still shapes the national character.. Only a tiny bit of Silesia—around the town of Opava—is part of the Czech Republic today. Germany in turn ceded most of it to Poland. The Czech Republic is geographically small. The magic of Prague. The winegrowing region of Moravia to the east is more Slavic and colorful.
Bohemia and Moravia are two distinct regions. Despite their difficult 20th-century experience. It has nothing to do with beatnik bohemians.
Politically and geologically. But the country consists of more than rollicking beer halls and gently rolling landscapes. Tourists often conjure up images of Bohemia when they think of the Czech Republic. People in Silesia speak a wide variety of. A longtime home of the Czechs. The soils and climates in which the hops and wine grapes grow are very different.
Since Once a Czech finished training school and for men the compulsory two-year military service. Young Czechs embraced the new freedoms: Everyone wanted to travel—to the West to study law. Parenting was subsidized. In the countryside. But after the fall of communism in People in Silesia speak a wide variety of dialects that mix Czech.
And everyone wanted to work—for big bucks at a multinational investment bank. Perhaps due to their diverse genes and cultural heritage. Children and summer homes were the only way for people to project their dreams. Roads have been patched up. More and more young adults waited until after 30 to get married. To stimulate production. Fewer Czechs had children. But if you venture outside the capital.
About 90 percent are ethnic Czechs. Life still goes a little slower here. Ironically—as if to prove that Czechs will never listen to what the government tells them to do—as soon as the newly elected conservatives revoked the monthly wage pay-out in Ninety percent of the tourists who visit the Czech Republic see only Prague.
The biggest baby boom in a generation is still on: Maternity wards are overflowing. Unlike some of. Czech Republic Almanac Official Name: Since the time of the Habsburgs. By Take your pick. Unlike some of their neighbors including the very Catholic Poles and Slovaks.
More than a third of trade is with next-door-neighbor Germany. Brno The recent economic crisis caused a major decline in machine parts.
The Czech Republic comprises three regions—Bohemia Cechy. Czechoslovakia was a communist state under Soviet control. Biggest Cities: Prague the capital. Privatization of formerly government-run industries goes on. Ostrava Moravia Morava. From to Next on the selling list are the airlines and the energy company. Some major moneymakers for the country are machine parts. The climate is generally cool and partly cloudy.
Czechs are inclined to be agnostic: One in four is Roman Catholic. British Columbia. Latitude and Longitude: The fifth party in the parliament. No single political party dominates. Its parliament is made up of representatives elected every four years and 81 senators elected for six years. Although the left-of-center Social Democrats technically won the election with a little over one-fifth of the vote.
The Average Czech: The average Czech has 1. The Czech flag is red bottom. Tram 22 Map: And for good reason: From Munich. From Budapest. Despite your fears. With two days in Prague. Prague is charming. Cross the famous Charles Bridge.. Charles Bridge. Some museums. Prague is a four. No other place in Europe has become popular so quickly. Keep in mind that Jewish Quarter sights close on Saturday and Jewish holidays.
Use your afternoons for loitering around the Old Town. Tourist Information TIs are at several key locations. Praha 3 and higher indicates a location farther from the center. Prague addresses come with references to a general zone: Praha 1 is in the old center on either side of the river. Jewish Quarter. Praha 2 is in the New Town. Sat-Sun 9: The language barrier is tiny. It seems like every well-educated young person speaks English.
Main Train Station. Self- deprecating Czechs note that while the signs are designed to help tourists locals never use them. Still—thanks to the little icons—the signs can help smart visitors who are sightseeing on foot. Easter-Oct Mon-Fri 9: Nov- Easter Mon-Fri 9: Virtually everything I list is in Praha 1. As you wander. Old Town. April-Oct Mon-Sat 9: For general tourist information in English. Greater Prague.
Prague This Month free.
It comes in two versions: The city center map is easier to navigate. The Kartografie Praha city map. The TIs offer maps. No matter how you arrive. Monthly event guides—all of them packed with ads—include the Prague Guide 29 Kc.
The English-language weekly Prague Post newspaper is handy for entertainment listings and current events 60 Kc at newsstands. They can book local guides. Jurina between 7: For standard assistance. Praha 5. The reception staff may not speak English. For a more professional fix. Roentgenova 2. Helpful Hints Medical Help: Shakespeare and Sons is a friendly English- language bookstore with a wide selection of translations from Czech.
For above-standard assistance in English including dental service. If a massage is all you need to cure your aches and pains. Internet Access: The Canadian Medical Care Center is a small. Praha 2. Bike Rental: Prague recently improved its network of bike paths. April-Oct daily 9: Mon-Fri 8: Local Help: Sun The tiny Big Ben Bookshop is more central. Mon and Wed from 7: Mon-Fri 7: See Rip-Offs in Prague. A Jill-of-all-trades.
They rent bikes for about Kc for two hours or Kc per day with a 1. For details. Kolbenova But after you figure out the public transportation system.
Getting Around Prague You can walk nearly everywhere. City maps show the Metro. Best Views: Car Rental: For a locally operated alternative. Transfers allowed.
For convenience. You can also be fined for using counterfeit tickets. Prague is a great walking town. Inspectors routinely ambush ticketless riders including tourists and fine them Kc on the spot.
By Metro. The Metro. Be sure to validate your ticket as you board the tram or bus. Prague Metro. The three- line Metro system is handy and simple. Confused tourists. When you come to your stop.
Schedules and Frequency: Trams run every minutes in the daytime a schedule is posted at each stop. Navigate by signs that list the end stations.
You can find more information and a complete route planner in English at www. The Metro closes at midnight. The tram uses some of the same stops as the Metro making it easy to get to—or travel on from—the tram route.
Handy Tram: Tram 22 is practically made for sightseeing. Of the many stops this tram makes. The key is to be sure the cabbie turns on the meter at the 1 tariff look for the word sazba. AAA Taxi tel. New legislation is in place to curb crooked cabbies.
To improve your odds of getting a fair meter rate—which starts only when you take off— call for a cab or have your hotel or restaurant call one for you. I also find that hailing a passing taxi usually gets me a decent price. Then go into your hotel. I find Prague to be a great taxi town and use them routinely. With the local rate. While most hotel receptionists and guidebooks advise that you avoid taxis.
On the miniscule chance that he follows you. Avoid cabs waiting at tourist attractions and train stations.
Since guiding is a routine side-job for university students. If a cabbie surprises you at the end with an astronomical fare. Guides meet you wherever you like and tailor the tour to your interests.
Guides also have fliers advertising additional walks. The quality depends on the guide rather than the company. Choose the one you click with. Visit their websites in advance for details on various walks. Individual Guides: These guides typically charge about 2. Small Companies: Because prices are usually per hour not per person. Your best bet is to show up at the Astronomical Clock a couple of minutes before 8: Art Nouveau. The TI also has plenty of local guides rates for a 3-hour tour: For a list of more guides.
Bus tours make more sense for day trips out of Prague. Marie is Czech. Reverend Jan Dus. So if you insist on a bus. Tours Outside Prague To get beyond the sights listed in most guidebooks. In fact. Tom is American. Finders International. He also has an outstanding track record in providing genealogical services toll-free US tel.
Jan can design itineraries. Their tours are creative and affordable. Bus Tours Although I generally recommend cheap big-bus orientation tours for an efficient. Czech tel. Tom and Marie can also help with other parts of your Eastern European travel by linking you with associates in other countries. Premiant City Tours offers 20 different tours. Get tickets at an AVE travel agency. See Prague at a Glance Tour salespeople are notorious for telling you anything to sell a ticket.
Some tours. Hiring a guide. Wittman Tours. Catch the tram in the New Town and ride it over the river. Survey the boat-rental scene island with rental wharfs and the romantic beach island. It runs roughly every minutes. At the next stop.
See the Monument to Victims of Communism—the bronze spectral figures descending. The Dancing House designed by Frank Gehry. Be warned: Thieves and plainclothes ticket-checkers like this route as much as the tourists.
The next stop. The next stop is Brusnice. As the tram gradually goes uphill. Behind you. The tram now winds through a greenbelt built along the remains of the city wall. Mary the Victorious Church. On the left side.
The stop at Pohorelec is my preferred. The tram then heads north from the Hellichova stop. From here you can hike up Nerudova street to Prague Castle. Just after the tram completes its climb up the hill and makes a sharp left turn. Beyond that. The tram now enters the longest stretch between stations—perfect for ticket-checkers to reveal themselves and catch anyone traveling without a valid ticket.
Immediately across the street is the Royal Summer Palace. To get back to the Strahov Monastery and the castle at any point. Or catch a tram going the opposite direction to do this trip in reverse. Extending the Route: If you want to experience workaday Prague without a hint of tourism.
Browse all the organic shops. Sit down for a fine. Hop out here. The stop at Pohorelec is my preferred approach to the castle and the closest stop to the Strahov Monastery. If you call his bluff. Simply be on guard. Thieves work the crowded and touristy places in teams. Never leave anything valuable in your car—not even in broad. Anytime you pay for something. Count your change. On the other hand.
They use mobile phones to coordinate their bumps and grinds. Pickpockets target Western tourists. Many thieves drape jackets over their arms to disguise busy fingers. But Prague is safe. This all sounds intimidating. Prague was actually four distinct towns with four town squares.
Castle Quarter Hradcany: Since the ninth century. When Christianity arrived in the Czech lands. Each town had a unique character. It has its share of petty thieves and con artists.
Mark Payton, a Canadian researching a history of nostalgia , relishes the chance to be immersed in a place with interesting history. The five young expatriates enjoy the nightlife and new opportunities in the historic city. John is instantly attracted to Emily, and plots to win her love, but she ignores him.
He finds a job as a columnist for an English-language newspaper, BudapesToday. Still a virgin at the age of 24, he is initiated by his co-worker Karen, but finds the experience to be quite anticlimactic. Imre seeks an investment from Charles' venture capital firm in order to download the press's assets and restart it in Budapest.
He is entranced by the romantic stories she tells of her past, but his friends are less than convinced of their veracity. He is also dismayed that Emily pulls away when he tries to kiss her. John becomes involved with Nicky, a photographer and artist who wants a physical, but not an emotional, relationship.
With the help of John, who writes supportive newspaper columns and serves as Charles' aide, Charles secures independent funding for this venture. Mark Payton's research into nostalgia becomes a personal obsession. He takes an inordinate interest in gramophone music and riding in a funicular carriage.
In September , Mark leaves Budapest suddenly, due to his declining mental health. John continues to desire Emily and be jealous of other men she talks to. He accepts a takeover bid by a multinational media corporation, headed by the Australian billionaire Hubert Melchior a parody of Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation. In March, John says that he loves Emily, even though he knows she is a "spy.
Emily, who was having a lesbian relationship with Nicky, leaves the city to escape the accusation. Finally, John leaves Budapest as well, traveling by train to the more promising city of Prague.
Characters in "Prague"[ edit ] John Price is the protagonist of the novel, a year-old who comes to Budapest to find his brother, with whom he has had a strained relationship. A dreamer throughout the story, he constantly suspects that life is better, more authentic, somewhere else. Scott Price maintains a grudge against his younger brother John. A jock alpha male with a decidedly un-alpha childhood he was overweight and often picked upon , he experiences regular lapses of insecurity, blaming John for his unpleasant childhood.
For a living, he teaches English. Emily Oliver is an embassy worker, originally from Nebraska. The details of her work are not known to the other characters she works in a classified information environment.