The Adventures of BJ and Tony Morris
It was time to try our luck at
We arrived in Amsterdam on Thursday morning, made that long walk from the Delta gate to the Czech Air gate, checked in (checked in for Czech Air!), boarded our (full) flight and the five of us were in Prague by noon.
We changed clothes, breezed through Passport Control (without the
drama of our previous trip to
We found a German couple (who spoke no English) already in the waiting room. We learned (now THAT was a fun conversation them with no English and me with high school German from uh MANY years ago) that the couple had been in the waiting room about 2 hours, so we settled in for a spell. After a beer, BJ, Fred and Ethel decided that theyd head on over to the Hotel Berlin and Lucy and I would meet them there when we could. BJ, Fred and Ethel had some trouble finding the hotel, but after asking directions from a shop owner, a taxi driver and a policeman (none of whom spoke English), they found it.
Finally, after only about 90 minutes, Lucy and I met with an officer
who spoke English, took Lucys information, and prepared a police report for us. We then left the station, took the train to the
Andel (pronounced like we say Angel) Metro stop and hooked up with the rest of the group
at the Hotel Berlin (Lucy and I only had to ask the one policeman for directions). Since
today was a travel day (meaning: a LONG day) and wed had plenty of excitement, we
all grabbed a quick dinner at the Restaurace Hlubina.
At dinner, we decided that Lucy and I would go to the airport tomorrow
(Friday) morning, to try to take care of her air transportation needs, while the other 3
would look for hotel rooms for Friday and Saturday nights.
We also decided wed head back to
Friday morning arrived earlier than I had expected (after getting to bed at ) so I was a bit slow getting started. This prevented BJ from being prepared on time. Right at , BJ asked me to run downstairs and tell Ethel (who BJ KNEW would be on time and waiting in the lobby) that she would be about 10 minutes late, since she was still drying her hair. I did; she was. When BJ and I finally made it to the lobby with our bags, about , everyone was waiting. As we all put on our backpacks, and prepared to split up, the receptionist at the hotel suddenly started waiving at us, while holding the telephone to her ear. As it turns out, while we were in the lobby (10 minutes later than wed planned), someone called to cancel TWO rooms for the next TWO nights!!! Perfect! As we checked BACK in (to one of the same rooms wed had) so we could drop our bags, the receptionist commented that it was very fortunate that the cancellation had come in while we were still in the lobby and that our group had Big Luck. She meant Good Luck, but we decided we liked Big Luck, and it became the catch phrase for this trip. It would come up several more times. While Lucy and I headed off for the airport, to try to get her a ticket home, BJ, Fred and Ethel went to the Mala Strana, a park, and started doing some sightseeing.
Lucy and I had an interesting train ride, sitting across from a gentleman who seemed to have something like Tourettes Syndrome; characterized by his rocking, ticks, frequent shouts (apparently ignored by everyone who understood him) and an occasional devil sign that he made with his face and hands. Ask me Ill show it to you.)
At the airport, we were disappointed to learn that the Czech Air
ticket counter would be unable (unwilling?) to assist us.
The agent there gave us the telephone number and address for the Delta
Ticket Office in downtown
Successful at the Delta ticket office, Lucy (and, in fact, all of us) are relieved and can quit worrying about the trip home and concentrate on sightseeing. The group hooked up at the TomTom again, for a beer, then headed off to lunch at a place where BJ and I had had several good dinners on our last visit. We located it quickly, although it is now called the Annabar (rather than Dzar). We had a great lunch (more garlic soup, goulash, dumplings, schnitzel, etc classic Czech food), and then trekked back across the Karluv Most (now in the rain).
We did a little shopping after crossing the bridge. There were lots of little shops with nesting dolls even ones featuring Mr. Kerry.
We ducked back into the U Glaubicu to wait for the rain to subside. There, we met some fellow Georgians from
I took the tram back to the hotel to relax (and try to make dinner
reservations), while BJ took the others on a tour up the hill to the
Although I was unable to reserve a table for dinner tonight at the restaurant that had been recommended by two different receptionists at our hotel, I WAS able to get several bottles of wine for the room, and a box of Toto Eggs (like the Kinder Eggs we buy in other European countries. And we were ultimately successful making reservations there; we just had to make them for Saturday night). Dinner tonight would be at the nearby Pizzeria Kmotra, where we enjoyed a wonderful mix of Italian specialties. After dinner, most of the group headed out to see the Karluv Most at night (its beautifully lighted), before returning to the hotel for a nightcap of red wine and Toto Eggs. Although we didnt find any Kindereggs this trip, BJ did spot this giant blow-up Kinderegg in a shop window.
Saturday was our day for touring.
We first headed to the Jewish Quarter (Josefov) to see the famous cemetery
there; reputed to have the highest density of graves per square meter in all of
After an early lunch (at the strangest place
we didnt get
the name, but the wall is hung with very, uh, suggestive photographs of women in various
states of undress), we then located the St. James (Jacobov) Church, which has a severed
and now wrinkled hand hanging to the right above the entrance. Apparently the hand
belonged to a thief who tried to take the Jewels off the sacred Virgin Mary. The
unfortunate fellows hand was grabbed by the Virgin Mary and consequently had to be
severed. It now hangs on display as grizzly warning for any like-minded sticky
Next, we walked along the river a bit to see some of the lighted buildings we had seen in the distance the night before.
We also found a bizarre statue of Franz Kafka depicted in a three-piece suit and his trademark Homburg hat, sitting astride the shoulders of an enormous empty suit (from one of Kafkas early short stories).
We crossed the Cechuv Most (two bridges north of the Karluv).
Just across the bridge, we climbed the seemingly never ending steps
up the hill to
Almost to the top of the steps, we could see the Metronome that was
erected to replace the
The park was a delightful place for a break. We took turns climbing trees and zinging each other with chestnuts.
At the top of the hill, we enjoyed the highest priced beer I have
ever seen in
From there, we took some winding paths through the woods. We passed this grotto commemorating the romantic poet, Julius Zeyer.
We made a quick pass through the Hradcany castle grounds and noted how glad we were that we had come the evening before to avoid the crowds!
Ready for some French Fries, we were disappointed with our stop at the Pivnice Vojanuv dvur where we learned that it is not possible to order a side dish without a main meal. We were pleased to find the Gril u seminaristy, a little outdoor café that served French Fries, had gas heaters and blankets on every chair.
The boys headed back to the hotel while the girls snapped up crystal,
glass, globes and a WC tile (to hang on our bathroom door at home) in the
shopping district. Dinner tonight is at the U
Andela, where we again enjoyed a fabulous mix of traditional Czech cuisine. The restaurant only had one poorly translated
English menu that we shared. We enjoyed a
laugh at some of the translations. Vltavian
drowned man with a puffed-up belly, Bacon on salamander with fried egg,
Golden baked knee with all that belongs to that followed by Surcharge to
the knee, Roast ducky or goosy, unlimited number and choice of dumplings and
cabbage and Beefsteak of an old mushroom picker
Sunday we awoke around in order to
make our way to the airport for an flight to
Our fortunes changed this time (Big Luck) when the ticket agent
endorsed our Czech Air passes over to
We went back to check in, successfully this time, and asked the agent
how the flight looked. She smiled, a little,
and said At this time, there are 5 seats
which was sort of scary for the
five standbys in our group. At the gate, we
made plans for what wed do if only one person made it, if two made it, and if 3 or 4
made it, and who would go first, etc. About 10
minutes before departure, we were all given boarding cards.
We got the last five seats on the plane!
(Big Luck) With no plans for
what to do if we
At Schiphol airport, we located a region map and decided wed
take the 30 minute train ride out to Zandvoort ( a seacoast town) for our one night in
Holland; knowing that this would allow us to easily get back to the airport for
tomorrows flight home via
Next we stopped by another Internet café (Lucy kept her replacement
backpack on her back) to check on tomorrows flight home, then ended up at the Café
del Mar when we enjoyed fish dishes, pork and a neat foil covered kabob. Then its back to that (Cheese) Palace and to
We had agreed to meet Monday morning at (since thats what time the restaurant started serving our (included) breakfast, and since we had a train back to Schiphol) and everyone was on time today. Breakfast was not the usual continental breakfast, since it included bacon and eggs. Around we headed out for the 5 minute walk back to the train station. We boarded the train, which left about 2 minutes early.
Like our outbound trip, the return trip was a
one-change-of-trains-at-Leiden Centraal. While
waiting on the platform in
We checked in, cleared passport control, headed out to the gate and
ALMOST all made business class. Four of us
did, but the junior member of the group had to endure the ride in coach. Because we arrived almost 30 minutes early into