Prague

It’s finally our last day in Europe! We are all glad that the trip didn’t fly by, but we are ready to sleep in our own beds and wash all of our clothes. My first excitement of the day was finding that I had exactly two pairs of clean socks left!

We headed out around 9:30 am in search of a place called the Choco cafe, which I found on Trip Advisor. Our our way we took the road through Wenceslas Square, a famous street in Prague that leads to the National Museum.

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After visiting the square we found the Choco cafe, which is famous for hot chocolate. We thought they would have more breakfast options, but the options were pretty much hot chocolate, coffee drinks, chocolate muffins, croissants with dipping chocolate, and other chocolate delights. Sarah and I thought this was amazing, but the boys left still hungry. Here are a few pictures of the chocolate goodies.

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From the cafe we headed towards Old Town Square, here are a few pictures.

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We also went in one of the churches near by…I told Dustin I want this chandelier for our house.

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He of course said no….so I said I’d settle for this one. 🙂

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Since the boys were still hungry, they spotted a few food vendors, a few were selling this traditional Czech/eastern European roll called a trdelnik.

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Here is how they make them over hot coals.

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We headed over the famous Charles bridge to the other side of the River where the Prague Castle is located.

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We were a little disappointed because some areas of the castle that used to be free now require an admission fee. We still got a great view of the city and took a few fun pictures.

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By this time, it was past noon and we decided we needed a salad or something healthy to add to our diet for the day (you’ll see why in a minute). We had salads and veggies then we headed off to one of Dustin’s highlights of the trip, “Strudl.” According to Samantha Brown of the Travel Channel’s Passport to Europe show, this place has the best Apple Strudl in all of Europe. It was a bit of a hike to get there, we took the metro out past our apartment a few stops, then walked at least 1.5 km to Strudl and then back to the metro.

We walked a lot today, it’s a good thing considering our last day of vacation diet! Tomorrow we’ll get back on track to normal. Here are some of the pictures.

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We each ate 1/2 of a “strudl” then we relaxed for a bit because our feet were aching! Dustin said the trek was worth it, the “strudl” was amazing!

After a few hours we freshened up and headed out for our last European dinner. We decided to have something different, so we introduced Dustin to the world of Thai food at a place called Lemon Leaf, and he loved it! My dish was called Laab Kai and it was super spicy even after I asked if they could use less chilies than normal because it had a “Hott!!!” next to it on the menu and Dustin enjoyed the Phad Thai with Shrimp.

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After dinner we set out to find a jazz club with a swing dancing floor, but the two we checked didn’t have swing dancing and had substantial cover charges. There was also a cool Jazz boat that had a dinner cruise and live music, but we found out earlier in the day it was sold out for the next two nights. We decided to take a walk around again, we had to burn off all those calories! During the walk, we took some pictures of Prague in the evening.

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We ended up sitting at a cafe that had free jazz music with a saxophone and guitar for a bit, there we enjoyed the last few hours of our vacation in Europe. Prague is a neat city, especially if you have a love for classical or jazz music, art, architecture, or Apple Strudl!

We leave Prague at 1:25 pm here tomorrow, 7:25 am EST and will be back in Columbus by 9:30 pm. yay for a 30 hour day tomorrow! I’m hoping to sleep for part of it, but will try to stay awake for parts so I can sleep when we get back. It’s a good thing I have Wednesday off to recover.

Thanks again to all of you for joining us on this journey! We are so glad we could share each day with you. For those of you wondering, how in the world did they plan this trip themselves, or how could I do something like this, when I get home I’ll write a post with some europe travel tips!

Until next time!

Melody & Dustin

Munich to Prague

We packed up and left our apartment around 9:30 am and via the metro headed to the main train station in Munich. Since our group train ticket that would take us into the Czech Republic was good all day, we used it to stop in Dachau, a small city outside of Munich were a large concentration camp was once located. The train station was small and didn’t have very large lockers, so Josh (he had been there 2 times before) waited with the bags while Sarah, Dustin and I walked from the train station to the concentration camp and museum.

Visiting this museum was sobering, with all the european history we’ve learned on this trip, some of which dated back to the days of Christ, it’s hard to believe that this kind of human torture was less than 100 years ago. Our grandparents were alive in the 1940’s when people were being tortured in this horrific way. The museum had a lot of information to read, we walked through the area that was once the shower stalls, then kitchen, we saw the courtyard outside that was the “roll call” area, and we saw the sleeping quarters and bathrooms.

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One historical picture that stuck out to me amongst the darkness was a picture of the prisoners cheering when the American’s arrived to liberate the camp. It makes me thankful for the men and women in our country that together with our allies fought for freedom and human rights. It also amazes me the hope the prisoners had, many in our Savior, despite the grave circumstances.

The hope many of the prisoners had is described in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (ESV), “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” and Romans 5:2-5 (ESV), “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” I hope these verses can be encouragement to those dealing with trials today.

I’m not sure how to transition to the rest of our day…but here it goes. We took the bus back to the train station because it turned out to be at least a 30 minute walk. We figured out we had about 40 minutes until the train arrived we needed to take on our trek towards Prague. Before boarding we grabbed döner kebab sandwiches from a vendor. When I think of a kebab, I think of stick with meat and veggies, well apparently that’s not quite the Eastern European version. It’s really a huge Turkish sandwich with chicken, lettuce, onions, and sauce. It might have been the best thing we’ve had on this trip yet, it was super messy, so I was glad I was eating it on the train station platform vs. inside the train.

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When planning this trip, I think we expected it to be a bit shorter of a ride to Prague, the direct train takes around 5 hours from Munich and so does the bus. But the bus was around 60 EUR pp, and the direct train was over 100 EUR pp. So we found on a trip-advisor forum, that we could take a train from Munich or Dachau to Plzeň, Czech Republic, then to Prague. The route for Dachau to Plzeň required a transfer in Nuremberg, Germany, and Cheb, Czech Republic and the train stopped at other places along the way, so it took around 8 hours to get to Prague from Munich, but it only cost around 50 EUR total vs. the per person prices, so we saved over 200 dollars. We passed the time on the second half of the trip paying Euchre. The first picture is Dustin on the first train sitting with all our luggage, and then the sunset view on the train in the Czech Rebpulic.

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We arrived in Prague at 9:50pm, and our host from the air bnb apartment was supposed to meet us at 10pm outside the apartment, so we quickly found the metro. Unfortunately the metro ticket machines did not take credit cards and the Czech Republic is not on the EUR, so we had to get Czech crowns from an ATM. Then the machines only took coins and of course the ATM gave us bills, so then we were on a hunt to make change. Every vending machine only took coins and all the vendors in the metro were closed. The boys when out of the station just a bit and found a stand to make change. Then we were able to buy our tickets. Without phone service or wifi we really had no way to contact our host to let him know we were going to be late. That is the only major annoyance of using airbnb is that there isn’t a 24 hour front desk like a hotel, although some places had password protected lock boxes.

We arrived at our building at almost 11pm and our host wasn’t there. Sarah and Josh waited by the building while Dustin and I set out to find wifi or a phone. Skype has been a life saver twice on this trip. I had minutes left over and it allows you to call very inexpensively over wifi. If you have a smart phone and are traveling abroad without phone service, I highly recommend putting some money on your Skype account! At the second hotel we stopped at to try to buy wifi minutes, the man at the desk gave us the password for free. We were able to get in touch with our host and he was at the door in 10 minutes. It was a long day of traveling, but we saw some beautiful countryside in the process & we couldn’t have had the full European experience without a train ride for one leg of the trip!

Dobrý den!