Not Your Typical Spring Break (Part 1)
People of the world,
Prague may be best known for its… ummm well, I’m not really sure what it’s best known for, but now I love it for its cheap everything and beauty. I spent the two weeks traveling with a fellow American buddy, Ryan, and we planned to stay almost exclusively in places we found on Airbnb, a hip, cool new website that lets you rent out rooms, spaces, or entire homes at fabulous prices from verified people. It can be cheaper than a hostel and definitely less sketchy than Couchsurfer. Our first Airbnb residence was right in the heart of Prague and worked out perfectly, the host was great and my favorite part was the USSR era elevator that whizzed you up and down the building without doors (Please keep all hands, arms, and legs inside the vehicle at all times).
After arriving in Prague and riding the elevator a few times, we went down for a bite to eat. I ordered goulash and a beverage and thought I might be taken out to the back and beaten because I couldn’t afford the 84Kc bill. Luckily, I looked up the conversion rate and discovered that I had just spent a mighty $2.50 at a sit down restaurant. Prague, you and I just might get along. We did some sightseeing (don’t worry, there will be pictures), determined that Prague had rightfully earned its name as the City of a Hundred Spires, and went to a basketball game. Woah, woah, woah, drop the mic. I know what you guys were thinking, a basketball game? Really Adamthefish? Yup, that’s right.
We wandered over to a big soccer stadium (Ryan plays collegiate soccer so there’s a magnet between him and soccer fields or something, not too sure how it works, just science I guess) and from there we saw an arena in the distance. I guessed ice hockey so we walked over. Just our luck, it looked like we were in time for a match. As we neared, we were shocked to realize it was a basketball game. I go up to the ticket counter and struggle for information due to the language barrier. A man heard my struggles and walked over and said “tickets?” and just handed two tickets to us. Without much of an idea of what we were in for, we walked in and were led to our free court side seats. Oh perfect, it was Prague versus some team from Estonia, my favorite teams! We were stoked for the game but I still had no idea what the game was going to be like, until it began. During one of the first possessions, one player passed the ball to his teammate, which proceeded to bounce off of his head and bounce to the other team. Other than that, it was a awesome experience and the game was interesting, to say the least. I never thought I’d find myself in a professional basketball game in the Czech Republic.
Munich was beautiful and orderly. It was also the first place I was able to wear shorts on this side of the Atlantic. The first thing I noticed was that all of the bike lanes are attached to the sidewalk and not the road. It makes so much sense! It may be a bit more expensive but keeps bikers away from cars and cars away from bikers. Our Airbnb in Munich was a bit further from the city center, but the underground system was phenomenal (modern wood seats with no gum, whaaaaaaat?) and we could get around the city with ease. We visited the site of the 1972 Olympics, the BMW factory, the famous Hofbrauhaus, strolled through some parks (including the Englischer Garden, which is known for the surfers that test their skills in the river that flows through it), and spent a lot of time enjoying the sun in outdoor “gardens”. We spent our last day at the Deutsches Museum, Germany’s museum of science and technology, where I nerded out for a few hours. I probably would have spent several days in there if most of the information wasn’t just in German.
Vienna was GRAND. Our Airbnb was a five minute underground ride away from the main drag called Stephansplatz Square. Vienna had a great underground system as well, and our Airbnb host was awesome. He invited us to come out with him our first night there and we obliged, of course. Moments later, I found myself in Celeste, a coffee shop with a 60 year old playing dub step on the first floor and a live jazz band in the basement. Everyone was speaking German and it was EXACTLY where I wanted to be. The next day we toured “the ring,” a five kilometer look that encircles all of the main sights in Vienna. That made it pretty easy for tourists. There were many different roads like Schubertring, Schottenring, Burgring, and Universitätsring, but as long as it ended in “ring,” you knew you were on the right trail. There were city funded bike rental stands throughout the central area of Vienna and the first hour was free so Ryan and I developed a nice pattern of ride, return, and repeat. The bikes could be returned to any of the stations so we got around most of the city with that method. There were some last minute bike races to avoid paying any sort of fee once we broke an hour, but that was all part of the fun.
After a bit of exploring we cruised over to the Naschmarkt, a lovely outdoor market. I don’t usually do the whole bread, thin meat, and cheese thing because it’s not a real meal but I decided to go for it because I wanted to be authentic and classy. After some perusing, we find a stand that looks good. I approach without much of an idea what anything is called and say, “Something cheap?” The vendor looks back and says, “Cheap? Yes!”And then he proceeds to slice me some sheep and I suddenly realize he interpreted my “cheap” as “sheep.” Ryan had a bit of fun with that one. The next day we toured the Schonbrunn Palace, the summer palace of the Hapsburgs, the ruling family of Austria and several other regions.
Then we got on a train to… Tune in next time to see where Ryan and Adamthefish travel next!
And as usual, here’s a little video of snippets from all three places. For some reason I always forget to film horizontally… maybe I’ll get it by the last post.