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Czech Republic Archives

August 10, 2006

overland to prague

after one last Very Long Train Ride (a day and a half this time), i arrived at Prague at 5:30am local time yesterday morning.

the train ride itself was the last leg of my quest to travel from China to Europe entirely by train, which meant going from St. Petersburg to Prague via Belarus and Poland. while my ticket listed the 15 cities that i'd be passing through (in case i had a sudden hankering to hop off in minsk, i suppose), it didn't list one major item that it turned out on our itinerary: having our train car sit abandoned (literally connected to nothing) for two hours in a field somewhere in belarus.

after we stopped at the belarus/russian border for the train's wheels to get changed (i got to watch the procedure, which involves the entire train car being lifted up by giant winches and then the wheels slid out from underneath the train, and then replaced with a different set), our train was towed out of the shed onto some disused, grass-covered train tracks, and then left to wait for a few hours. despite our remote location, a belarussian woman with a bag full of tasty treats sold us lunch and beer to help us survive the wait.

as for prague itself? i'm going through "popular country culture shock" as flocks of backpackers crowd the streets. it's been 8 years since i was last here, and the prices have changed, as well the addition of "stag and hen" parties (bachelor and bachelorette parties) throng the streets at evening time, adding a very touristy vibe to things. i love prague, but i'm already missing the feeling of being just on the tipping point of popular tourist destinations that i had in russia.

pig knees and trilobites

after i checked in at the "party hostel" (i think i'm through with staying at those at last after dealing with one drunken idiot in my dorm room at 4am) the clown and bard and met up there with my good friend mike from san francisco, we decided to actually allow for some cultural education and visited prague's national museum.

inside the national museum, which mike described quite accurately as a "museum of museums", we found palatial marble halls with giant murals, room after room of dusty glass-topped display cases last refreshed decades ago, and the delightful detritus of a museum whose own history spans centuries. in other words, it was exactly the kind of museum that i'm quite content to lose a day wandering around, viewing exhibit after exhibit that has been meticulously prepared by PhDs, and absorbing absolutely no information at all.

the real treasure we discovered was the trilobite room featured joachim barrande whose oil portrait watched over the contents of the room. besides the bizarre appearance of the many forms of trilobites, the room's shrine to barrande himself had us become fervent trilobite and barrande fans by the end of our time in the trilobite room.

after a full afternoon of exploring the museum (how can i ever forget such curiosities as the malay mouse deer?), we headed out to dinner with a czech friend of a friend, george, who took us out to an amazing czech restaurant where we indulged our inner carnivores by having a dinner of pork knees.

the knees themselves were delicious -- crispy skin, and inside was the most delicious pork which had liberal amounts of fat clinging to it. after the amounts of fat i'd been consuming in mongolian cuisine, where fat is considered as essential part of a well-prepared meat dish, i didn't blink an eye at the pig knees and began immediately to extract the tasty meat off the bone. and of course, the meal was washed down with liberal amounts of pilsner urquell. "i think the review 'a good time was had by ALL' speaks for itself."

About Czech Republic

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to gone living in the Czech Republic category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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