We’ve been a few places since last I blogged.
From the Netherlands we wanted to go to Prague in the Czech Republic but because the distance was so great, a little more than 1000 km, we decided to break the trip up and spend time in a few smaller places.
Our first stop was in Walldürn, Germany, 519 Km from Anke and Guus in Woerden, Netherlands. Walldürn is a small town of about 12,000 people situated between Heidelberg and Wurtzburg. We chose Walldürn because it took us well on our way to Prague and they had a youth hostel for accommodation. When we arrived at the hostel, it was all locked up and there was no one to be seen. However, tapping on the window did bring someone to the door and we registered. We were the only guests in the three-story hostel! Of course, our room would be located on the top floor, but that was okay because we had a skylight window and it felt like we were sleeping under the stars (and passing aircraft). Breakfast was supplied and even though it was just the two of us, they put out a whole smorgasbord of cereals, breads, spreads, yogurts, cheeses, meats, vegetables, fruits, coffee, and tea. Sanford and I would make our selection and then sit all by ourselves in a large, empty, eating area with long tables and rows of chairs.
There’s really not a lot to do in Walldürn but there are surrounding hiking trails, so we spent a couple of hours exploring. The surrounding area was forest and along one of the trails (Limes) was signage that the area used to be patrolled by the Romans centuries ago and there was evidence of some of their ancient structures. From the trails we walked into town and although it was Saturday
afternoon, it was pretty much deserted. We enjoyed wandering around though, and looking at the pristine streets and some of the old-style Germanic buildings. Of note, we saw at least four cigarette machines on the street corners. Smoking is quite noticeable everywhere we have been so far in Europe. In the evening we went out to an interesting Chinese buffet that served a mix of sushi, chinese and thai food. I did 21,900 steps this day.
From Walldürn we headed into the Czech Republic. Rather than go straight to Prague we decided to stay a few days in Mariánské Lázně, a spa town. Whereas Paris was white, Mariánské Lázně is yellow. All buildings appeared to be in varying stages of beauty or decay, with an over-all look of by-gone glory. Many of the buildings looked beautiful and ornate, from a distance, but this was very much skin-deep; a look inside or around the back generally revealed fractured concrete and peeling paint.
We did have a good time here and we partook in everything the town had to offer. We explored the “Geologicky Park” a hilly wooded area with protruding boulders, just across the way from where we stayed. We walked through the surrounding bush and then followed the roads to get us back into town. In the afternoon we spent a couple of hours at a spa. We languished in Roman baths, saunas, steam rooms, and jacuzzis. And finally in the evening we had a meal out at a local restaurant and ended the evening watching the choreographed light show to music at the “Singing Fountain”. It was a relaxing time and because we are ahead of the busy season, everywhere we went was not crowded. In spite of spending several hours in the spa, I walked 22,900 steps this day.
The food has changed! I noticed it right away. Meals served with salad and lots of vegetables, grilled meat with a small amount of sauce, portion sizes more reasonable. I don’t know if that is because this is a “spa town”, a place for health and wellness, or if it is the cuisine common to the country. I’ll let you know.
Time to go to Prague and that is where we still are as I am writing this. It’s pouring today, so a good day to catch up on computer things. I love Prague. It reminds me of Paris. Wonderful architecture and statues and lots of history everywhere you look. Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires”.
Although Prague is filled with museums, a castle, churches, and other sites, we really didn’t do much in the way of typical sightseeing. We mostly just walked around (surprise!) soaking up the atmosphere. I love the wide stone sidewalks. After so many places where there is no room on the sidewalks because they are too narrow, or too many people walking, or shops taking up the space, or motorcylces using the sidewalks as roads, it was nice to stroll unobstructed. We strolled down Wenceslas Square, then to Old Town Square, over the St. Charles Bridge, we saw Prague Castle from a distance, and many fine buildings. We simply enjoyed wandering around observing it all but not really doing anything. Steps for this day of wandering – 22,900.
Just before we left Mariánské Lázně, Sanford found out that friend’s of his from Australia, Mark and Cecily, who were traveling around the Central Asia Republics and were now in Europe, just serendipitously happened to be in Prague at the same time as us. We got together with them for dinner the night we arrived and are doing so again in a few hours. It’s nice to be out with friends. The food is wonderful here too, great selection and lots of healthy options. I’m finally starting to wean off the copious amounts of bread I had been eating since France.
Tomorrow we’re off to another location and the adventure continues.
We had our very first “home-cooked” meal by us. Generally the hostels in Europe do not have cooking facilities, unlike Canada and Australia, and some of the bnb’s have come with breakfast but didn’t seem comfortable using their kitchens. This place (and actually the previous place) we have the premises totally to ourselves and offer us to use their kitchens. So we had a wonderful cooked carrots, salad, meatloaf (bought premade) and an orange. Doesn’t sound like much but was nice to eat a cooked meal at home. By the way, the restaurant food here is equally as good as in Mariánské Lázně.
I’m writing this on our last full day in Prague. It is raining and a good day to catch up on computer things. Later tonight we are to dinner again with Mark and Cecily and tomorrow we start a new adventure.