Author: Mostly Sunny Tourist
Date of Trip: August 2009
Prague and Karlovy Vary
On a recent trip to Prague, I had the chance to do some sightseeing at many of the city’s most beautiful and famous attractions — Charles Bridge, the Astronomical Clock, and the Prague Castle. I would say it is important to bring sturdy walking shoes because there are many hills to walk up and down. Because I had a good pair of broken-in shoes, I was able to walk comfortably all day. I stayed at the Ibis Hotel Mala Strana. The breakfast buffet there was very good, and it was located around the corner from a metro stop.
When I had a free day I went to the hotel lobby and took copies of every shiny brochure they had in English. I thought that a day tour would be just the thing. As I browsed, I saw the place I wanted to visit- Karlovy Vary. My main criteria for picking this destination was that I had seen a movie that took place there, and that it looked beautiful on film. That was settled, and soon I was on my way in a van with a guide, a driver and a newly married couple from Spain.
The tour guide spoke English but not Spanish, so she was explaining things to us in English and French. The young Spanish woman knew French and was satisfied with this arrangement. The exciting thing about this was that I had studied French in school, so I could understand what the guide was saying! And since I had taken Spanish in high school and college, I was able to speak in simple sentences to the Spanish couple. At least I think I could, or else they were extremely polite (and patient) people.
Karlovy Vary is a very famous spa resort and people from around the world go there for the curative powers of the hot springs. I, on the other hand, had little to no interest in drinking the water but I thought I should at least try it. This is surprising since I was the child that sat at the dinner table for hours because I refused to eat vegetables.
People either purchased a cup to sip the water or brought their own with them. I saw people walking around with huge mugs filled with the steaming water. But I purchased the tiniest cup I could find, a dainty porcelain cup the size of a thimble. It had a handle on one side and a spout on the other. I filled it about half full from one of the gushing fountains. The water was warm, so I let it cool down. This was probably a mistake, because I don’t think that you notice the taste so much when it’s hot. When I ran out of excuses I took a tiny sip. Immediately after I did this I poured the rest of the water out on the grass. I guess that meant no cure for me! However, I still have the cup as a souvenir.
Besides the water the city itself was beautiful, and I walked past a park where a band was playing. People were seated on benches listening to the music. I never heard anyone speaking English while I was here, other than my guide. This was one of those times that I felt I could blend in with the crowd, provided of course that I didn’t speak!