Dan slept pretty good. I just slept OK – kept waking up – but wasn’t concerned about it because I knew it would be a light day and I could make up some sleep on the train. I’d set the alarm for 6:30 to avoid our timing missteps the day before. We packed first, then went downstairs for breakfast. We left the hotel about 8:15.
The traditional shot of the room, albeit a bit of a mess since we’d already started packing. Oh well :)
From our window: one of Vienna’s main train stations, Wien Mitte, across the street. Very convenient.
We got to the platform about 8:35, more than enough time. It went by fast. The train arrived around 8:50 and seemed to take off right after we sat down, but it was right on time. Just took awhile to get on and settle in; there were quite a few people getting off.
We had started out in regular seats but after the first stop the table across from us freed up so we took it and it had for the remaining 3 hours of the 4 hour ride. Four hours on a train, unlike on a plane, somehow goes very fast.
We crossed the border at the first stop and I snapped a map photo. This shows the whole itinerary: Vienna and Bratislava in the middle, Prague center left, Dresden and Berlin above that. The distance between Bratislava and Berlin is less than the distance between Sacramento and San Diego.
We arrived right on time a little after 1pm. The Hilton we’re staying it is about a mile from the train station. We walked. Our room wasn’t ready yet do we just dropped our bags off and headed out to start exploring a bit and find lunch.
The architecture here is fairly unique. We saw a fair amount of this intricate outside painting on some of the older buildings.
One of the gates into Old Town.
We found a cute little place that had an interesting Czech menu.
I had fried pork belly. Think crispy but moist pork rinds with meat still attached. Kind of amazing. The purple stuff on the side was cooked cabbage and beets, also amazing. the white things above are something like mashed potato patties on the left and this interesting bread with no crust on the right. Great for soaking up that gravy.
Dan had a beef goulash with the same bread I had, but it shows better here.
The desserts looked too good to pass up, so we didn’t! I had the chocolate creme brulee. .
Dan had apple strudel again. Why not? He really liked it!
After lunch we made our way to Vysehrad, an old fortress on a hill that was about 2 miles away, well outside of the city center. We figured we could use the walk after 4 hours on a train and all that food. We took some random photos of building we liked along the way.
This was a tunnel we came across after we’d climbed a pretty steep hill. Almost there! (And when did my hair get so gray? That’s just a trick of the light, right? Holy cow….)
An old entrance to the fortress. Notice the iron gate. When we asked a woman working at the church about where the fortress was, she said something like “you missed it by about 600 years.” It’s clear as we were walking around this is just a park now. But a beautiful one, and we got some nice photos of the surrounding area.
There’s also a church and a cemetery. This is in the cemetery.
We couldn’t go in because there was a concert happening there this evening and they’d stopped allowing tourists in early.
Prague Castle in the background. A little later, we walked down an alternate path that eventually connected with this one then took us down to the river.
We walked around the river for awhile and eventually made it back to the center of the city. On our way we cruised through this street fair that was happening, focusing on vegan food as far as we could tell.
This is the astronomical clock in the main square. It’s been in operation since 1410 and is the oldest operating clock of its kind in the world. We got here just in time for the 6 o’clock show, which consists of 6 of the apostles walking around behind those windows above the two dials. At Noon you get all 12. Tomorrow at some point I’m hoping to get up behind all that from within the town hall so more on all that when that happens.
A closeup of the dials.
The direction of the square we entered from….
…and the direction we were heading.
These are both still sort of in the main square, or at least in the adjacent one.
By this time it was about 6:30 but we still needed to get our room and settle in so we went back to the hotel. Believe it or not, in the 4.5 hours or so we were out and about we walked nearly 10 miles; and that includes at least an hour for lunch. So we didn’t do much but we were kinda ready. Tomorrow will be a full day.