Tuesday, June 24, 2014

On the road again......last stop....PRAGUE

On the road again…just can’t wait to get on the road again….

Today is a travel day and we are headed from Vienna to Prague via the EC 172 train. We got up early and checked out of the hotel before 8:00 a.m. to head to the train station in Vienna. We took a bus from the hotel to the station, but the ride was very, very short. We got to the station VERY early and had nearly an hour to wait until the train came. Manuela accompanied us to the station and got us set up in the correct platform and section. Since we had just a few minutes to get 22 people on the train, luggage stored, etc., we figured out of seating prior to getting on the train. There are just a few members of the group who have been on an express train such as this one so it has been another neat experience for the group. The duration of our train from Vienna to Prague is just under 5 hours. The train made a few short stops along the way.

As we boarded the train, we noticed everything was wet. While some joked it was probably toilet water, we later found out it really was. We were given the ok to relocate to the two wagons ahead which also meant the students could spread out to sleep. All in all it was a smooth ride and a pleasant train experience!

After the train ride, we exited at the Prague station and were to meet our new guide, Petr. Somehow we missed Petr on the platform so we walked out of the train station. I recognized the hotel right across the street so we went in and had the front desk call him. He was a little flustered after that but he eased up on our walking tour.  Since the hotel is right near the train station, the walk with our luggage wasn’t bad at all. Hotel check-in again went smoothly and I think most are glad that we won’t have to pack our bags again until we get ready to head to the airport on Monday. The hotel is nice and much more spacious than Vienna!

After our quick orientation session where he went over tipping in the Prague, areas to avoid, how much a taxi should cost, etc. I saw the students eyes perk up when talked about how cheap beer is and that the Czech is the #1 nation for beer consumption and percentage of GDP spent on beer. If  I’ve learned one thing with this group of 20 students, it is that they are hungry and need to eat frequently. If we don’t talk about when the next meal is, it is always the first question I get! Since we didn’t eat a true meal on the train (food was available for purchase but most students took snacks, etc.), I asked Petr if we could grab a snack before the walking tour. He agreed and we stopped at a really nice super market in the train station.

 Our walking tour of Prague was AWESOME! This city is so beautiful and I know we are going to love our time here. We saw many of the famous attractions on our tour including the US Embassy, the Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, the John Lennon peace wall, etc. I can't wait to go back and spend more time in some of these locations. I really enjoyed Petr's discussion of Prague's history where he mentioned that the city is the oldest medieval city in the world. I took a ton of pictures today so it was tough to pick which to include. I've added a few of my favorites below.


After the walking tour of Prague, the evening was free for students to further explore Prague and grab some dinner. The next three days are jam packed with business visits at some great multinational companies. As I mentioned previously, I am so excited for the rest of our time in Prague! We finish the trip with a free day on Saturday and a half of Sunday free. It will be a busy first few days in Prague but plenty of time for exploration in the evenings and the weekend.

Thanks for following along! Check in tomorrow to see what the day has in store!


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