Wednesday, March 20, 2013

We're in Prague!

Hello from Prague!  Sam and I are having a great vacation so far!  We both agreed we might have walked a little too much yesterday, so we plan on taking it a little bit easier today.  It's also pretty cold outside (colder than Asheville).  It snowed on Monday night, which made for a beautiful, but chilly Tuesday!  I have found the Czech people to be extremely friendly (except for 2 small occasions).  I feel so guilty that I only know a couple of Czech phrases - but since being here I read that their language is ranked the 3rd most difficult language to learn!  That makes me feel a little bit better.  It seems that most Europeans traveling here (from Spain, France, England, etc) don't know their language either.

I have had 2 experiences here where the people came off as a little bit rude, but really it was just a misunderstanding of their culture.  On our first night here Sam and I went to Cafe Savoy for dinner.  It had a beautiful interior and great atmosphere.  I ordered some sort of beef something or other (it looked like steak to me).  You order your side dishes here separately, so I asked for the bread dumplings...they sounded good (I love dumplings at home).  The waiter said, "No, no, you cannot get dumplings with beef.  That will not work." (imagine that said in thick accent....he said something else too about what dumplings go with, but I didn't understand him).  Although I could have taken it as being rude, the waiter was just helping me make the right decision.  Now, if you didn't chose the dumplings as your side dish, here were your other choices: roasted potatoes, potatoes with chives, mashed potatoes, or scalloped potatoes...NO JOKE!  I said I would take potatoes with my beef : )  Haha!  Since then, Sam has had the dumplings and they are only served with dishes with gravy.  And it makes complete since, the dumplings in Sam's words, are undercooked slices of white bread that are simply there to soak up the gravy that is served with meaty dishes.  

2nd cultural experience (which I think is more European and not just Czech) happened at a restaurant as well.  Sam and I went to eat at very Czech restaurant, U Medvidku.  Most restaurants here allow smoking (yuck!).  We were seated at a table in the smoking section.  We asked our waiter if we could sit in the non-smoking section, he said "No it is full."  We then asked if we could wait, he said "Wait, uh no."  We tried to convey that we didn't mind waiting for a table in the non-smoking section to open up.  The waiter said..."no, no wait? Outside? There's people outside, no wait."  So we were stuck at the smoking table.  Sam cringed every time someone around us lit up a cigarette (for my sake, he can handle smoke better than me).  I know America has it's own huge list of health problems, but I don't understand why Europeans still think it's cool to smoke!  Maybe lots of Americans still smoke, but I don't notice it as much because thankfully Asheville is smoke-free in restaurants and public places.  

I know you want to see pictures, so onto a few pictures.  You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook, where I have been posting about 1-2 pictures a day as well.  Here I am walking up the steps to get to Prague Castle on Monday.

Amazing view from the top of the steps!

Inside St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle....absolutely don't do it justice.  

 You can't beat a European Latte.  Sorry, West End Bakery, Europe is better at lattes, but don't worry I haven't found a replacement for your cinnamon rolls!

Here is St. Vitus Cathedral on Tuesday after the snow.

Strahov Monastery

The view of Prague right below Strahov Monastery.

Happy Wednesday everyone!  The sun is shining today, and it will probably be our warmest day here!  Yay!

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