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Long Plane Rides, an Airport 5K in Germany and Finally the Czech Republic!

Long Plane Rides, an Airport 5K in Germany and Finally the Czech Republic!

We are in Prague!!  We crammed a lot into our 32 hour day of travel from St. Louis to the Czech Republic.  After a good 6 hour sleep (I wish I had gotten more but I’m too excited about being here to sleep), here I am awake at 4am Monday morning, sitting in our room in the beautiful Mamaison Riverside Hotel typing in my blog.

Our travels began back on Saturday morning with an early afternoon flight from St. Louis Lambert Airport to Chicago.  We had the most interesting flight attendant, a wise-cracking retired New York cop (weird huh?) in his 60s.  He did a stand up comedy routine on the microphone and had the entire plane in stitches.  I can’t believe United lets him anywhere near the microphone but I’m glad they did because he was hilarious.

All packed up and ready to go.  Guess whose luggage is orange and whose is blue?

All packed up and ready to go. Guess whose luggage is orange and whose is blue?

We enjoyed lunch at Mosaics during our 3 hour layover at O’Hare Airport in Chicago.  The weather was stormy and many flights were delayed including ours.  We boarded the plane an hour late and then sat on the tarmac for another hour.  Two hours late… and our layover in Munich was only an hour and a half.  Not good.  Oh well we had 8 hours of flying time between then and Munich so no point in worrying about it then.  We hunkered down with our little plane pillows in our cozy seats for the long trip.  In the airport we had been talking to an older retired lady while we waited to board our plane. She ended up sitting right next to us and we enjoyed talking to her during the flight.  JoAnn and her friend Joyce have been traveling all over the world over the past decade.  Joyce is losing her eyesight and the two of them want to see as many places as they can before she becomes completely blind.  India, Antarctica, Iceland, all over Europe, Asia and Africa, Australia.  Today they were traveling to Greece.  Wow such amazing stories!

Joyce was sitting in the seat behind me and JoAnn tried to change seats with the man sitting next to Joyce so that she could help her work her seat computer.  Joyce cannot see well enough to read the instructions.  The man said a gruff NO! put on his headphones and stared blankly ahead of him.  What a total jerk!  So I climbed up on my knees in my seat, turned backwards and leaned over the back of my seat so that I could set up the movie for her to watch.

Craig enjoys his first German beer in Germany!

Craig enjoys his first German beer in Germany!

Except for the little dried up pieces of something that they called dinner and my malfunctioning headphone jack, the flight wasn’t too bad.  I watched the new Lone Ranger movie which was pretty lame although Johnny Depp was quirky and entertaining as usual.  My headphones would only work if I held the plug in one particular angle and pushed them into the jack.  My fingers were kinda sore and tired by the end of the movie from pushing on that stupid plug.  I managed to get about  an hour or two of fitful uncomfortable economy seat sleep but I enjoyed my mile high view of the sunrise.

We landed in Munich with 20 minutes before our flight to Prague was scheduled to leave.  Then ensued our mad 5K sprint through the Munich airport at full speed, weaving and dodging our way through the obstacle course of people, luggage racks and escalators… our carryon suitcase wheels furiously turning as we dragged them behind us.  Run run run!  Following the signs to the “G” gates past all 5,372 “H” gates.  Where are the “G” gates!?!?  The corridor ended with a short line of about 4 people and a passport check.  No, we were in the wrong place.  We missed the G gates.  Turn around and run some more.  Run run run!!!  We found the G gates but the passport check line was HUGE!  At least 40 people winding around down the hallway.  AAUUGH!

So we waited in line and waited and waited.  Three new lines opened up around us and people from way behind us in line rushed over to the new lines.  All the new lines had TWO agents checking passports and our line only had one.  SO FRUSTRATING!  I wanted to punch something!  But there was nothing we could do except wait.  The agent was now examining the passport of the young man several places ahead of us.  Now she is picking up a magnifying glass to examine it some more.  Now she is showing it to the other attendants.  I. am. going. to. hurt. someone.  Finally it was our turn.  We got stamped and headed for the G gates.  We were looking for G-05 so surely it wasn’t far now.  But no the gates started in the 20s and worked their way backwards so more run run RUN through the 20s and the teens, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6… around the corner to gate 5… and there are still people there!!!  No that is gate 4.  Gate 5 is utterly abandoned.  Not a soul, not even a dawdling gate agent, and no plane.  WE WERE ONLY SIX MINUTES LATE!!!  Those punctual Germans!

Fortunately there was another flight to Prague in 3 hours and the agent at gate 4 quickly typed in our info and printed out new tickets for us complete with seat assignments.  Took him all of 2 minutes.  WOW.  That would NEVER happen so fast in the states.  Those efficient Germans!!

I called the emergency number in our tour information to alert them about the delay and then we leisurely strolled around the airport to see all the sights we missed the first time around.  Now that the race was over and our new flight safely booked we just laughed and laughed about our frantic American Tourister OJ Simpson commercial reenactment (remember those?) through the airport.  It was actually kinda fun.  We confessed to each other that we’d both secretly always wanted to do that. LOL.  And what a good way to work out the stiff joints after an eight hour flight.

I loved the public restroom in the Munich airport.  Each stall included toilet sanitizer and a little toilet brush.  Those Germans are so fastidious!

I loved the public restroom in the Munich airport. Each stall included toilet sanitizer and a little toilet brush. Those Germans are so fastidious!

We stopped in a little internet cafe to check email and facebook.  So fun to navigate around through the German version of Google.  The keyboard letters were in different places and had additional characters.  Haha so funny to try to type on that!  We sat in a deli and savored a few delicious organic German beers.  The adorable young German girl who waited on us was so cute.  She seemed very impressed that us wimpy Americans wanted dark beers.  She imitated the sound of the beer as she poured it into our glasses, “pop, pop, pop, pop, pop!!” and slid them in front of us with a loud “WUNDERBAR!”  Dankeschön!!

Finally we are in Prague!

Finally we are in Prague!

The 55 minute flight to Prague was blessedly uneventful and Barbara from our tour company met us at the airport.  There were no customs and no passport checks in Czech Republic.  “We leave the checking passports and stamping for the Communists!  We don’t need do that anymore!” Barbara told us.  She told us a little about the history of the area on our 30 minute ride to our hotel and helped us check in.  Then we were on our own for dinner and sightseeing.

Our wonderful Mamiason Riverfront hotel was right on the picturesque Vtlava River across from the famous dancing building.  How delightful to walk along the river in this historic city.  Prague is an interesting variety of dichotomies.  The ornate baroque architecture is stunning yet graffiti covers everything.  The Vtlava River with its many arched stone bridges is romantic yet the cobblestone sidewalks are lined with sticker covered large rubber trash bins.  The city has a gritty beauty and lots of character.  We love it!

The beautiful Mamaison Riverside hotel where we are staying for three nights.

The beautiful Mamaison Riverside hotel where we are staying for three nights.

We selected the most Czech looking restaurant we could find for dinner, the Kolkovna Olympia.  We weren’t disappointed.  I had a dish called the Forest Robbers Delicacy, roasted pork with a “secret Czech recipe” served in a skillet with green chilies, carrots, onions and sheeps milk cheese and a side of potato pancakes.  WUNDERBAR!  Craig had a roasted rabbit dish with spaetzel which was also delicious.  We’ll be back for dinner tomorrow I’m sure.  Maybe I’ll try the meat rolls “stuffed with beef and everything good you know.”

Our walk back to the hotel was a chilly one as the temperatures dropped into the 40s after the sun set.  It’s early to bed for us after 32 hours of traveling.  Tomorrow we have booked a six hour bike tour of Prague.  The city doesn’t appear very bike friendly.  The traffic is crazy and the bike lanes are too narrow alongside rows of parked cars.  We’ll see how it goes!

The Vltava River

The Vltava River

The dancing building

The dancing building

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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