Sunday, January 18, 2009

Prague and a spot of Nuremberg

Happy New Year! So I'm a few weeks late putting this post out, but lately I've been having a hard time concentrating on even brushing my teeth, so a vacation post was way over my head. I think I can do it now.... so again, Happy New Year!

For the past few New Years celebrations, it's been the same for us. We're usually too tired to stay up until midnight let alone go anywhere. Last year we were rocked out of our bed by the Germans bringing in 2008. This year we decided to change our ways. J. has a college mountain climbing buddy that has recently relocated to Europe from the US. A bonus for us is that this buddy has family in some cool places, and we were welcome to join them. For New Years, Prague was the destination.

I am a little timid about traveling in the car for any kind of distance with an almost 3 year old. It's not fun. However with the help of Disney and the Golden Arches, our trip on the road wasn't bad at all. For 8 hours of driving, there were few tears, and the only complaints were from me to pull over to use the facilities. I didn't think we could make the journey in one go to Prague so we booked a night in the historic city of Nuremberg. We were comfortably situated with in the old city walls and our hotel was extremely nice for what we are used to.

Nuremburg has a rich and colorful history dating beyond the 11th century. It was interesting for us to be able to walk in the old city walls and see what life is like today and try to sympathize with the city's past. Arriving on the 28th, we were a few days too late to catch the Christmas markets, but we were able to see where they were and what they might have been offering for future trips. Nuremburg was a nice little stop on our way to the Czech Republic.

Arriving at our destination, I was surprised that we were in a post Soviet controlled area. The little village on the edge of Prague could have been any little suburb in the US. Minus the tiny little cars and road signs that made no sense to me. I was expecting all buildings to look like Moscow apartments and for there to be little difference between houses. Lucky for us, this was not the case. We were invited into a spacious family home that was warmly filled with another couple and their child, and our friends. There was room for us all to have our own little space, and plenty if room for W. to play and explore with her new found Czech friend.

The first full day we were in the Czech Republic, we were taken by our hosts to a glass factory in a nearby town. We were able to watch the men make the glass articles that this area is well known for. Next we were taken to another small town where the children were able to stretch their legs and breathe the cold winter air. For lunch it was a treat. A neat little restaurant tucked into a town that we'd never heard of, and we had the area to our selves. We dined on local foods and beverages and were able to relax. Best of all, having a host that has a child with the same age as yours, nap times are always figured in. Perfect! That evening we were taken to down town Prague to see some city life.

Downtown Prague is beautiful. The Velvet revolution happened here, many great rulers have called the city home, and it has some of the most impressive sites in Europe; the caste and the Charles Bridge are a couple of examples. It is a must see for anyone wanting to spend some time Europe. On another day we were able to walk around the castle grounds, stroll through the city and sample the local foods. Lucky for us the Christmas markets were still up and running and were kept satisfied with hot wine (and chocolate) and lots of tasty treats- my favorite being a dough that was wrapped around a hot iron to cook it, then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar... yum!

I enjoyed every bit of visiting Prague- the people are very friendly with most speaking English, and there are so many interesting things to see. I would bring more clothes next time I go though- that is one cold place!

Here's a link to our pictures:

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