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Monday, August 29, 2016

Big City Trip--Prague, Krakow, Budapest Day 1

  Traveling is no picnic and we're hoping to do as much international trips while we can still enjoy ourselves and not feel 100 years old when we get there. After arriving yesterday, I only felt about 80.
 I booked us on business class Air France to Prague, which stopped in Paris. Business allowed us to use their lounge, which was so different from Hawaiian...night and day. The rooms were filled with comfortable seats everywhere and food and drinks of all kinds. Having to get to the airport 2 hours early for a flight is rough, but it helps when you don't have to squish yourself into a seat at the gate near 5 people loudly talking on their phones.

Our plane was the new airbus 380-800 and we were in the upper deck, which was cool. The seats are great with places for feet, slots for purses and other items, etc.  Matthew immediately demonstrated how easily one could recline and hopefully fall asleep.
First course for dinner... a little portobello amuse bouche, then cold lobster legs with wasabi aioli, green salad, and mango salsa salad. For dinner I had the special tagine dinner which was chicken and couscous .... absolutely fabulous! Matthew had scallops with lobster sauce. Yes a cheese course also, then dessert, which were choices of 2 sorbets, fruit bowl, or pastries. We didn't have the fruit...
We were delayed an hour leaving SFO, so when we got to Paris, we had to move fast to get to the other terminal and our gate, but that was also delayed so we waited in the lounge...getting used to this nice area for waiting.  By then, we were sweaty from hurrying and never cooled down until we hit the air-con turned too high all the way to Prague.
Our plane experience went from the sublime to the absurdly old as evidenced by the ashtrays in the arm of the chairs, old tired seats, and just slightly more legroom in our area. We were in row 1, so had a bit more room, though I felt like I was flying the plane or sitting in the male flight attendants' laps.
They offered small bottles of water and after I fell asleep asked me if I wanted a thanks, still full from the flight there. 
Oh, forgot to mention to breakfast they served before we hit Paris. Cheese omelette, croissant, fruit bowl, yogurt, coffee and juice. I had a little of each and still felt so full.  I think I ate more on that flight than in the last 6 months, definitely at one sitting.
 We found our ride easily at the airport and were taken to the office of Prague City Apartments. It started pouring on our way, and the manager came out with umbrellas to greet us. He checked us in and we drove over to the apartment with him. It's smaller than I expected and somewhat sparse, but has what we need for a week. It's a one-bedroom with a small kitchen and decent-sized living room. The best part is the view of the church and other buildings in the old town. 

As we explored the area, we found the next best thing about this apartment...location. We are surrounded by places to shop for food and eat and within a block or two of the main square. We discovered one place where the young man spoke English well and directed us where to buy coffee and creamer for breakfast, then we returned to him to buy some deli meat and cheeses. He works at Food Story, which has fresh produce, a deli, bakery, juice bar and downstairs a beer and food restaurant. We ended up returning there for dinner because we were told they have 8 beers on tap, plus more, and Matthew wanted to try local beer.
 I ordered potato soup, which was delicious and smarter than ordering the beef goulash, which was my original choice. Matthew had that, and though also delicious, too much food when I was fighting to keep my eyes open. He also tried a local liquor after dinner called Becharovka made from 37 herbs. He might be bringing a bottle home...was told it's Czech's best kept secret. I ordered cheesecake to try and ate about half. It was dry and heavy...
 We returned to our apartment and fought to keep our eyes open, but finally gave in by 9 and went to sleep. The bed is large and comfortable. We have no air conditioning here, which might be a mistake on my part not checking that when booking, so we kept a fan on. It is a city and noisier than we're used to, so closed the double windows in our room and left them open in the living room. We could hear the church bells, which are lovely, and then some noisy twenty-somethings at 4 am talking and laughing and yelling on the corner below us. By then I'd had 7 hours sleep, so was ready to get up. I would have liked to sleep more, but was done.
 Today we're heading out for our first food walking tour. I've booked one in each city, so hopefully it will be informative, fun, and delicious!


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