Showing posts from January, 2018

No Car For Me, Thanks

In certain areas of Prague, like the street in front of our flat, car owners have to park at an angle on the curb. It's nice the police allow for this extra parking since cars are more abundant these days, but they didn't change the height of the curbs when they decided to allow parking. As you can maybe imagine, the curb is no small rise for vehicles. Almost every day we hear a grating noise as the the bottom of cars scrape along the curb. I'm convinced that a car mechanic persuaded the city to allow this. They must make boodles of money when these cars need repair. Gunning engines sometime wake us up in the middle of the night as owners try to mount the curb to park their car again. I have to say I'm happy we don't own one. I'm sure I couldn't get my car to do that. Then, there's the problem of where the cars stop once they're on top of the curb. A white line is painted on the ground for the front bumper. Would you know where that little

Memorial to the US Army of 1945

Last June, we ventured out of Prague for the first time to figure out how to travel by train. (Buying the ticket was the challenging part) Deciding to check out Pilsen, we took the two hour train ride southwest to that city. The most surprising thing we saw there was the Patton Memorial Plzen.  On the 60th anniversary of the US Army's liberation of Pilsen, the city opened this museum as a permanent exhibition of the appreciation that the people felt toward the armies who set them free at the end of WWII. General George S. Patton, Jr, marched his troops through the city of Pilsen on May 6, 1945, freeing the city and southwest Bohemia from the tyranny of the German army. The Czechs poured out of their houses surrounding the US Army vehicles. The crowd shared in the pure joy of the moment, laughing, cheering and giving gifts of food and flowers to the rescuers. They were so thankful for freedom again. Unfortunately, US occupation of Pilsen only lasted until November, 1945 when

Postcard from Vienna

St. Stephan's Cathedral As promised, today's post will be a glimpse of the sights we saw in Vienna last week. Vienna was a wonderful place to visit, even though it rained the first day we were there. We did manage to taste the original Sacher Torte at the Sacher Hotel, however. Altar in St. Stephan's  We toured the majestic cathedral in the city center. St. Stephan's was started in the 1300s. It became a cathedral in 1722 when the pope allowed this church to become an archbishopric. It sustained some damage during WWII, but was rebuilt shortly after the war was over. Kunst Historisches Museum To avoid the rain, we spent the morning viewing the Peter Paul Rubens collection at the art museum. Jesus and Pilate by Rubens Maria-Theresa Maria-Theresa stood watch outside of the art museum with her four guards on horses protecting her. She was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dynasty, reigning from 1740-1780.  In the afternoon,

Riding the Rails

Train travel is a way of life in Europe. I've traveled on a train a dozen times during the eight months already. For Americans, train travel is rare and most have never been on a train. Over here, many people don't have cars so train travel is a necessity. For me, the hardest part of train travel is booking the tickets online. There are so many different classes of trains: regional trains - stop more often; high speed - few stops; EC (Euro city) - few stops; IC (inter city) - many stops; ICE (inter city express) - faster, but costs more. By the time I figure out what I need, my head is aching. Some train tickets don't even come with a seat reservation, so you might get access to the train, but have no place to sit. I've seen over-booked trains where people are sitting in the aisles or standing in the space between cars. When you finally get your ticket and have a seat reserved, the seat and car number are indicated on the ticket. Of course, don't forget that t

2018 Comes in With a BANG!

Happy New Year! Prague certainly knows how to usher in a new year. It started with firecrackers and bangs about 7:00 PM on the 31st and didn't end until New Year's Day about 7:00 PM. We were warned before last weekend that New Year's Eve is crazy in Prague. They told us not to go downtown, or into large popular squares. Prague residents take the celebrating into their own hands and somehow purchase firecrackers and fireworks that are set off by individuals, including the kind that fly into the air and burst into beautiful colors. Taking the warnings seriously, we stayed at home and invited some friends to join us. The celebrating started way before midnight with the bangs and pops heard from our window early in the evening. It continued almost constantly until half an hour past midnight. My husband commented several times that it sounded like we were in a war zone. Used fireworks hulk The next day, the only evidence of the celebrating was an empty fireworks hulk l