Yes, we’re still on the train, zooming at the speed of light on sedatives toward Praha.
So I behaved and did a little background reading on Praha (the city’s native name, as opposed to “Prague”): what to see and do, how the city is organized, since we were only spending 2 nights in the capital of Bohemia, the “magical city of bridges, cathedrals, gold-tipped towers and church domes”, as my free map helpfully summarizes.
Basically, the city is divided into 10 numbered districts based on the “old” system, with Praha 1 as the oldest part of the city. On the streets, the odd and even numbered buildings lay on opposite sides and the numbers decrease as the street approach the Vltava River, the longest river in the Czech Republic which runs from the Austrian border to merge with the Elbe River at a right angle. Most of our better known Bohemian wonders are situated in Praha 1, in the Old Town.
Quick list of what I want to see:
- Tyn Church
- Jewish Town (Josefov) à Europe’s oldest synagogue
- Hradčany Castle à Biggest ancient castle on Guinness Records
- Charles Bridge à built in 14th century
- Frank Gehry’s Dancing House
- Astronomical Clock
- St. Vitus Cathedral
- Lesser Town (meaning “smaller” not “inferior”) à Infant of Prague Statue of Christ and Loreta the Baroque Convent
- Museum of Communism
- Artbanka Museum of Young Art
- Prague City Museum à cardboard model of city
There seems to be free 1 hour walking tours stationed all around the main tourist sights, so I’ll keep that in mind too.
And need I mention, what I’m dying to eat:
Czech style hot dogs, mulled wine (MMMMMMM), trdelnik pastry (ovocné knedlíky, roughly 50 CKZ), and a traditional Czech main course i.e. lunch based on pork or beef with starchy side dish such as dumplings or potatoes.
While we’re on the profound topic of food, I finally found the names of the buns I’ve been seeing in every Narvesen (Norway’s largest convenience store chain) and 7-Eleven in Oslo: the no-longer-mysterious boller (pronounced “bowl-eh”). It’s a round sweet bun, slightly bigger than a tennis ball but flatter in shape, flavoured with cardamom, and usually eaten on its own or with butter and jam.
Narvesen offers a deal, the best of its kind in Oslo, where you can buy 3 boller and a coffee for 29 NOK (5 USD). Holy crap, that was the first time I’ve converted this price from Norwegian kroners to US dollars as I’ve always been converting back and forth between Norwegian kroners and Hong Kong dollars. Not that I wasn’t aware of it already, but wow, 5 dollars- redefine budget travelling if you ever get the wonderful opportunity to visit Norway.
Besides the plain boller, you could also try the skoleboller (with icing and coconut) or the kanelboller (cinnamon bun). All are seriously good! Another reason I could stay in Norway forever, besides its state-of-the-art welfare system.
Just hurry, Praha.