Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ich Liebe Prag - Day 2

After a beautiful morning of snuggling and sleeping in 
we made our way out of the apartment for breakfast.  
And just before the lunch rush ta'boot.  


We slowly drank our coffee and ate our crepes,
while we people watched and
vegged out in front of the little t.v. in the restaurant 
(that's what happens when you don't have a t.v. -
when you see one you instantly turn into a zombie).  


We were finally able to drag ourselves away so we could do some sightseeing.  It wasn't until then that we started to talk about what we wanted to do.  We had no plans, at all.  We hadn't read any tour books and we were going completely off of memory on what there was to see and do.  


So, we did the big, no brainer sights;


the churches

the castle


and the bridges.  




Throw in a million pictures

and a food/beverage stop every three hours and that was our day.

It was so relaxing, we had no plans, no agenda, no itinerary.
We wandered around the city all day taking pictures and enjoying each other's company.





Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ich Liebe Prag - Day 1


You may ask why I love Prague. Really, it is a pretty simple equation... Great food (& Beer!) + Cheap Prices (buyer beware) + Amazing sights = pretty darn good trip.

I know, enough with the math stuff (I apologize, I have been working on corporate valuation and International Financial Reporting Standards for the past two weeks and, you get the point).

Anyway, I digress. We hadn't been to Praha in almost 6 years. Our first trip was spectacular and we had high hopes for this one as well.

I'm sorry to say, things change, and 6 years later Prague is not what is once was. However this isn't necessarily a bad thing. The city has come a long way over the last half decade, and it was apparent immediately when we arrived. The last time we were greeted by people who were looking for opportunity. This time, the same people were looking to make us their opportunity.

At the train station several taxis were sitting on the side of the street waiting on a fare. Then to their forture, two unsuspecting American tourists with a baby show up.
Jon: " How much to go to XYZ Street #11?"

Cab Guy #1: "For you, only 500 CZK!"

(Note 1: I live in Leipzig and know what a fare costs, and after international finance I can manipulate currencies in my sleep!)

Jon: "You're freaking crazy."

Cab Guy #1: "What you mean I am crazy? For you only 500."

(Note 2: XYZ St. #11 is only 1km from the station. 500 CZK is roughly equivalent to 20 EUR. For a 2.5 km fare in Leipzig when I have had too much to drink, I pay 8 EUR.)

Jon: "Thats 20 EUR. You're freaking crazy."

Cab Guy #1: "What you pay?"

Jon: (While doing the math in my head and looking for a discount) "How about 180 CZK?"

Cab Guy #1: "You freaking crazy!"

Low and behold, the negotiations had come to a standstill. No problem though, I just hop on the handy handi and call the place we are heading to get the number for a reliable cab company.

Meanwhile, the lady who also drives a cab, and has been sitting watching all of this for the last 10 minutes, is approached by Charmian, who cordially asks, "how much". We are told the Kinderwagen won't fit, so no ride. Charmian assures her it isn't a problem at which point I take notice to the advance Charmy has made and move in as reinforcement.

Jon: "It really isn't a problem, and will fit nicely!"

At which point I start to break down the stroller, only to have Charmy tell me I am doing it wrong, which I ignore. I know how to make this fit!

Long story short, Charmy is right about how to make the Kinderwagen fit, which causes the taxi lady and Charmian to become immediate "Girl Power Friends". Regardless, it pays off. The fare is now only 300 CZK and she'll take us to the place we get our key, and then afterwards to the apartment we are staying in (obviously these are in two different locations).

So after negotiating, and holding firm to our resolve, we made a good deal. A deal good enough that when we arrived at our apartment (which was in a spectacular location), Charmy gave A to the cab driver to hold while we unpacked the Kinderwagen and our bags from the back of the car.



We had made it, safe and sound, and the location and price were SUPER!! We were located 5 minutes walking distance from both the Old Town Square and the Charles Bridge (Karlův most) which was ideal. And as you can see from the photos, we had quite a nice view from our window! I'll keep this location a secret, but might be persuaded to tell you where it was if you ask nicely!

We arrived, made friends, moved in and went in search of food. Unfortunately for A and Charmy, Prague and my camera got in the way. Here are a couple photos from the first night while we were out looking for food.

Charles Bridge looking towards Old Town

Charles Bridge looking towards Prague Castle (St Vitus Cathedral)

Just a Cool Shot

So to close up our first day, we found a place to eat at. The food was good. The beer was good. But then the shady side of Prague came out to play. !!Please beware!! NO MEAL IN PRAGUE SHOULD COST 80 EURO

That is what we paid. We were taken. So things to be on the lookout for.

1. Prices on the Czech menu that are different than on the English
2. Being charged "Tax" on a food bill - tax is included in the line price
3. Offers in both Euro and Koruna. Take the Koruna price, it is always better!

Otherwise, Praha is still charming, it is still beautiful, the food is still great....the beer too. It is busier and more touristy, and while this may cause difficulties, you just need to look out for yourselves. Get off the beaten path when you walk the streets, talk to the locals (Czech or German are easiest) and find the "old", "real" Prague.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Connection in Dresden

After a short 1 hour train ride we arrived in Dresden to catch our train to Prague.

A quick squishy face photo before we hop on the train.

On Our Way to Prague

and spring has sprung at the Leipzig Bahnhof.  

I love the Leipzig Bahnhof!
If you are going through Germany, by train, try to do a connection in Leipzig.  
You'll need at least a two hours so you can check out this station.
It really is worth a visit.

In those planters are real grass, flowers, and trees.
Pretty cool!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Climbing in the City

What do you do with all the bits and pieces
of a building after you tear it down.  

Well, here in Leipzig
they stack up the pieces,
spray cement on it,
and turn it into a climbing wall.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gebrauchte Kinder Kram

So Katrine took Jon and I to a Secondhand Baby Bonanza
to get stuff for our little one.  

Our mission... 
to find a baby seat for Alessandra.

That didn't happen, let me tell you why...

  It was crazy!  

We got there 30 minutes after the doors opened and there was already a line out the door and into the rain.  Thank goodness we were wearing our kiddos because they ushered us in the doors but no further.  There was one line that went up the stairs and another that went into a room on the first floor.  Katrine explained that clothes were upstairs and everything else was downstairs.  Today our mission was to find Alessandra a baby seat, and maybe a few toys, and that's it.  So we parted ways with Katrine she went in the line on the left for clothes and we went in the line on the right for everything else.

When we finally made it into our "room of everything else" there was a maze that took you around the room.  You had to do the entire maze to get to the check out.  Even if you got what you wanted just a few steps into the room, you still had to wind your way through.  We made our way; past the toys for the big kids, past the bikes, scooters, and board games to the table of baby toys.  We found a few things and then continued to make our way around the room.  We passed the play pens, cribs, and books - I grabbed ein Bild Wörterbuch for myself (Yes, I bought myself a picture book - but it does have over 1000 words in English and German!).

I couldn't believe it! 
there were no 
baby seats, 
baby loungers, 
high chairs, 
or even johnny jump ups.
They didn't have anything for a baby to sit in.

Oh well, 
I guess she's stuck in her current seat,
which consists of a laundry basket, a blanket and a neck pillow
a little while longer.  

We finished the maze and gave Katrine a call to see how she was doing.  
She hadn't even made it into her room yet.  
So we headed to a restaurant down the road
and had a lovely brunch while we waited.  

We all decided we probably wouldn't be going to the Baby Bonanza again.  
But, it was an adventure and you know how we love our adventures!


Friday, March 25, 2011





Okay, now I'm ready to nap!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Eis Schokolade

at the Glashaus.

During my get togethers with Katrine we chat away about what we've been up to, the kids, and of course other peoples kids.  She often mentions meeting up with her prenatal group.  They all have kiddos about Alessandra's age and they get together about once a week.  I did a very brave thing the last time we were together, I asked her if it would be okay if we came along.  She told me she would ask the rest of the moms and let me know.  They all said yes, and I was grateful for the opportunity to hang out with them.  I warned Katrine that I probably wouldn't talk much, but I needed to start hanging around Germans who were speaking German.  Otherwise I am never going to learn the language.  

Well, I was right.  Today I spoke maybe 10 words and understood maybe 20, but that's something, right?!?.  I spent most of the time thinking about how to ask/say something and the next thing I knew they had already moved on to a new topic. I couldn't really keep up so I just listened.  Katrine was so cute when I first sat down -  I said hello and how are you in English and she grabbed my arm and said "No Charmian, today is only German."  Of course she did talk to me a little bit in English but for the most part it was German.

It was awkward, I was uncomfortable, and I absolutely can't wait to do it again.  
I just hope they'll have me back!! 
We'll see!  


It was a good moment... I grabbed my camera so I could capture it.  

Here we are at Tamers,

one silly little family,

eating our Durrums,

and singing along to "Can You Feel the Love Tonight".


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Presents from India

The Notorious Dog Sitter (and our good buddy)
came over to deliver a gift that his mom got for Alessandra.

I can't tell you how special it made me feel
to watch her open her gift from India.  

My little girl is really loved,
and not just by her mommy and daddy!
If she could talk she would have said
"Thanks Dog Sitter!!! You're the best!"