A Travellerspoint blog

Czech Republic

Bratislava, Brno, and Prague

College visits, bustling metropolitan cities, great public transit, another luge, and beautiful architecture


Day 29 Continued. Arrival in Bratislava

We had an easy drive from Eger and found our apartment in Bratislava, Slovakia. Another country! The apartment was so stylish with unique art and finishings. We were a bit away from the city center and paid around $100 for this two-bedroom unit.

We took the bus into the old town and wandered around for a couple of hours. DH and I found a craft brewery and had fun watching how many people admired and took pictures of a parked Lamborghini. I wish we had taken pictures too!

We met the kids for dinner at a local outdoor place and called it a night. Zzzzzzz.

Day 30 - A full day in Bratislava

We took the bus to the old town once again to a special breakfast place, Five Points Bistro. Not only did we have great food and coffee drinks, but I had my first selfuccino! No kidding. I sent a picture of myself and they used some crazy printer contraption to make my one of a kind coffee drink! I laughed so hard and thoroughly enjoyed starting the day there.

We took several pictures around the old town and loved being in a more metropolitan city. The vibe was energetic and young and boy is Bratislava ever growing! There were cranes everywhere and modern high-rises being built just outside of the old town. Such an inspiring clash of old and new.

The girls enjoyed finding not one, but three different malls to explore. They found a few back to school clothes. Somehow DD#2 has managed to purchase four pairs of jeans while in Europe. It will be interesting getting all the new swag home. DD#2 is having a blast. Zara is her favorite!

We found an original Pilsner Urquell restaurant for lunch. This is DH's favorite beer in the world so he was quite happy to have his first full liter of the stuff! The restaurant was located along the Danube River in a new upscale part of town. I loved people watching and relaxing on a perfect weather day. The cheese plate was phenomenal.

We all did a little shopping and DD#2 and found a funny shirt. It was a Portland, Oregon t-shirt in the middle of Bratislava. Since it was only $4, she bought it.

We took a few pictures along the Danube and continued our wandering. We were very impressed with Bratislava and how much it had grown and changed since we were there in 2003. This guy seems to have lost his ear. Funny art in this country.

We took the bus back to our apartment and called it a day.

Day 31 - Brno and Prague

We checked out of our cute apartment wishing we had another night. In one short hour of driving, we were in the center of Brno to visit Masaryk University. DD#1 had an appointment with the arts department to learn more about a bachelor's degree in Culture, Media, and Performing Arts. The university is large and the city is vibrant and bustling. However, that particular degree is new and has a small co-hort. She may still apply.

Our lunch in Brno was a highlight. Vietnamese food and some sushi. Such a nice change of pace.

We took some pictures around the main square. I wonder if I will ever get tired of discovering yet another impressive European city?

We drove another couple of hours to Prague. Our apartment was on the outskirts of town in the Jinonice neighborhood. DH skillfully parked the car into a spot with mere inches to spare. This was a small apartment but had everything we needed for around $65 per night. It was an 8 minute walk from the metro station which had us in the center of town in less than 20 minutes.

We rode the metro into town for dinner at a brewery we enjoyed during our last visit in 2014. Delicious! We walked around a bit before returning to our apartment on the subway. The subway is still such a novelty for us and a fun way to get around.

Day 32 - Anglo-American University and touristy Prague

We had an early appointment at a small private university near Prague's Vltava river. DD#1 was impressed with the campus and the Humanities degree. Anglo American University (AAU) might be a real possibility.

We took some pictures in pretty Wallenstein Park and made our way to Charles Bridge. Tourists were out in force but we were all in a good mood and enjoyed the views and energy.

When we approached the Old Town Hall and famous Astronomical Clock, I knew I had to climb it. I ditched the family and climbed to the top myself. The views were amazing with the awkward selfie and all.

The old town square was busy but so beautiful. The weather was in the low-80s making for a really lovely day.

Prague knows what is up. It is nice to be in a progressive city. Pride week also started the day we arrived.

We took a tram ride to a different neighborhood in Prague to see the building where DD#1 might potentially live if she attended AAU. It was a great way to escape the tourists for a bit.

We took a bus to Letna Park and found a beer garden with great views over the city.

After that, we wandered downhill to the river where we found a boat that had been converted into a brewery. So cool!

Finally, we settled on a popular Italian place for pizza and pasta. We were very hungry by this point!

After a little gelato and a few more pictures, we finally took the metro back to our apartment. We managed to spend the entire day enjoying Prague. It was easy to do!

The long escalator from the metro to street level. Fastest and longest escalators I have ever seen.

Day 33 - Last full day in Prague

DD#1 had another college appointment, this time at Charles University. CU is the biggest university in the Czech Republic and we met someone at their very helpful student center. She answered loads of questions about logistics and how things work as an international student in Europe.

We returned to a special cafe for a late breakfast. In 2014, we enjoyed cakes and coffees at this very same place and tried to recreate the moment. Grand Cafe Orient is still a beautiful spot for a special occasion.

Here's the picture of the same place in 2014. They have grown just a bit!

Next, we walked around 20 minutes to the start of scenic tram 23. We had purchased all day passes on Prague's impressive public transport and wanted to take advantage. We rode the tram all the way across the river to Strahov Monastery where we enjoyed lunch and their homemade beer.

We walked down loads of stairs near the castle and saw the US Embassy before stopping in Kampa Island to see the giant babies. Yes, I said giant babies. Prague is known for its unique and funny public art.

Check out the funny "horse-power" art near our apartment.

After one final walk over the famous Charles Bridge, we left the city center.

Time for one last luge. First we took the metro, and then a bus to a luge on the outskirts of town. Yes, there is a luge in Prague! This was our 6th luge of the trip. It wasn't long or fancy but it was fast and friendly! It was a scenic contrast to the busy city center. And we were getting our moneys worth from those public transport passes!

We bused and metro'd back into town and found a nice local place for dinner close to the river. We had really made the most of our two full days in Prague. It felt like we revisited some of our favorite places and mixed in a few new ones.

Day 34 - Last college appointment

DD#1 and I took the metro to her last college appointment. This one was extra special because she was meeting with the Dean of Music Education and Choral Conducting at Charles University. We learned a lot about the program and she even played piano and sang for him. The professor also tested her musical skills on the spot which must have been terrifying! I was so proud of DD#1 and of how she conducted herself. She will be applying to this program which is exciting and also very scary!

After the appointment, we got in the car to head to Plzen, Czechia for a very different appointment. Next up was a tour of DH's favorite brewery in the world: Pilsner Urquell! To be continued....

Posted by familyineurope 06:08 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged bratislava prague brno Comments (0)

Bayern Park & Prague

A little rain doesn't stop Oregonians from having fun!

Day Nine - Bayern Park
I forgot to mention how much fun it has been to be in a country with an amazing soccer team during the World Cup. It seems like all German people are excited. After Germany beat Brazil, the horns and racket in the streets went on and on! We were in a very small town so I'm sure the celebrations were even louder and bigger in larger cities.

We were all especially excited for a fun day at a smallish German amusement park. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't great but we didn't let it stop us from having a ball. There were no lines for any rides and we could continue riding the same ride over and over again without exiting. DD#1 is fearless and would have liked to go on every ride by herself. DD#2 is more cautious but warmed up to some of the more daring rides. The wet log ride was a favorite today. The park was nearly empty and felt like a ghost town. Most of the park employees were senior citizens who seemed friendly and patient. The girls went on a little roller coaster around 15 times without getting off! Sadly, the park closed two hours early due to the cruddy weather. We couldn't understand the announcement and didn't see the written explanation at the entrance. DD#1 and I were saving the best roller coaster for last and struck out when the park closed without warning. Darn it! It was such a low-key, inexpensive (relatively) park that I wouldn't be surprised if we return someday.
Notice how we are the ONLY ones on the ride. This was the norm for the day.
There were very few staff members or warnings before getting on a ride. These cool frog pendulums had zero staff around. Completely self-operated!
They even had an enormous rock climbing wall.
A few more pictures from our fun, rainy day:

Day 10 - Drive from Germany to Prague!

We tried to get up sort of early so we could make a couple of stops on the way to Prague. The weather was still cool and rainy. The big bummer about the rain is that luges and bobsleds are unable to run. The tracks must be dry so that the brakes can operate. Both the luge and bobsled track were closed at Bayern Park yesterday. We would encounter the same problem at Zilverberg mountain on the way to Prague today. Drat!

However, we were able to stop at an amazing glass blowing operation called Joska Glass. The forested area between Germany and the Czech Republic has been known for its glass for hundreds of years. The tradition goes back to having access to all the trees for burning hot fires required for making glass. Joska is unique because they allow kids to blow their own glass for 5 Euros - and they get to keep their creation! The girls were so proud of their beautiful creations. Now I wonder how we will get them home in one piece...
As always, another cool German playground:
We made our way into the Czech Republic and stopped at Karlstejn Castle. The drive was less than three hours but we were still ready to stretch our legs.
We stopped on the outskirts of town at a grocery store. We spent less than $30 on two bags of fun grocery items! We would finally have a kitchen in our new digs. After some serious old city driving, we made it to our apartment for the next 5 nights right near the famous Charles Bridge in Mala Strana. DH was happy to have a private courtyard to park the new wheels.
We found a neat basement restaurant with typical Czech food.
The rain had finally stopped so we took a quick stroll and decided to climb the tower on our end of the Charles Bridge. We were the only ones up there!
The girls couldn't resist a big smooch by all those love locks near the Charles Bridge. Cracked me up!

Posted by familyineurope 23:07 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (1)

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