Europe 2010:
Day 7 - Germany and Czech Republic


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Europe 2010: [Day 1 - Luxembourg] [Day 2 - Germany] [Day 3 - Switzerland] [Day 4 - Liechtenstein] [Day 5 - Austria] [Day 6 - Germany] [Day 7 - Czech Republic] [Day 8 - Poland] [Day 9 - Netherlands] [Day 10 - Belgium] [Day 11 - England]

Thursday, July 1, 2010: We had breakfast in the hotel and got on the road again. Our GPS was good enough to route us past the Munich Obelisk ...

... the Victory Gate, ...
... and the The Löwenbräukeller.
Our first stop was Olympiapark. Maersk!
Yes, there were Maersk containers in the parking lot. The text and logo had been painted over or removed, but not very well.
Here's the Olympic stadium. We'll get a better view soon.
To get it, we'll be going up there.
But first, we have to walk past the Olympic Hall with more of the cool mesh roof stuff.
Next to the plaza in front of the Olympic Tower is a pretty little lake.
Baby ducks! Baby ducks!
Lining the lake is the Olympic Walk of Stars, with concrete squares containing handprints and signatures of stars. We recognized about one in three names, including this one: Jon Bon Jovi.
We're guessing that this lion statue had a bunch of clones all over town at one point, but this was the only one we saw during our brief time in Munich.
Now, finally, it is time for the Tower. Let's go up!
At the center of the enclosed level is this rock museum, ...
... featuring a piano that Elton John played during a Munich performance in the 70s.
We looked down quite a bit and took many photos, ...
... and then we discovered the stairs leading to the upper level ...
... with no pesky windows to cloud our photos.
Here's the city of Munich, ...
... and the BMW headquarters (look for the giant BMW logo), ...
... and the curve-tastic Olympia hall and stadium.
Munich had been lovely, but another country called to us. We headed northeast past the bubble-wrap-esque Allianz Arena.
We passed field after field of these plants, which were some sort of vine but didn't appear to be grapes. We city folks have no idea what they are. (Do you know? Contact Us!)
After resisting the Golden Arches, we decided that we could justify eating hamburgers in Germany of all places, so we stopped in Regensburg.
With a lot of broken English and pointing, we were able to order food but ended up with gigantic packets of ketchup and mayonnaise, presumably both for our pommes frites. Tom enjoyed the Hamburger Royal TS, which was Germany's version of a Big and Tasty.
Debbie found yet another delicious, shrimp-based sandwich -- a menu item that American McDonald's refuse to consider. This gem is the Shrimp Lemon sandwich, a brand-new German introduction. It was just as delicious as Japan's Filet-O-Ebi, if not more so.
In the restaurant, the winning song of the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest played over the sound system. The song is a German song called "Satellite" and of course, Debbie just happened to have it on her iPhone to play for Tom.
As we approached the Czech Republic, we started to figure out the pattern to the European Union country signs. The first one is a kilometer away from the border and it dipslays the upcoming country in the current country's language.
The second one is at the border and it displays the country in its own language(s).
At this point, we were immune to the McDonald's sign on the overpass, but we did know that we needed to find a place to get Czech currency and an autobahn permit.
A couple of miles past the border, we found a gas station containing a currency exchange that also sold autobahn passes. By now, Tom was a pro at affixing autobahn stickers, but this one added a new twist -- the sticker had to be placed in the lower left side of the windshield.
Tom to the Czech traffic sign: "I'm so sorry I can't do whatever you are emphatically telling me to do." Google Translate told us later that it meant "Follow the permitted speed." It turns out that Tom was heeding the warning all along.
Only 104 km to Prague! I wonder if there will be beer there?
Our guess is that there will.
As we approached Prague, the ads and billboards increased. IKEA! No way! Sorry, but we can't stop ... until tomorrow.
The Czech McDonald's also have shrimp on the menu. Mmmmm, shrimp.
We saw many billboards advertising travel to Dubai.
The new Twilight movie, Eclipse, was opening in theaters on this very day but we resisted it successfully.
Maersk!
Finally, we were crossing the Vltava River to reach the heart of Prague.
Debbie was quite taken with this unusual building, called the Dancing House.
Another European city, another Novotel.
Yes, remarkably like the others, except this one had two single beds, which was infinitely preferable to the only other option of one double bed. We are Americans and we like American-sized beds. Barring that, we'll each take our own, thank you very much.
Slightly different bathroom, but same general idea.
We set off down the street to get to the main Prague attractions, ...
... starting with this giant McDonald's ad which inexplicably features a whale tale but appears to be of a fairly normal-looking burger.
But we jest. Turn slightly to the right and there is the real attraction: Wenceslas Square.
Speaking of Wenceslas, here he is. He's the dude on the horse.
Orchy was there.
A few more blocks away is the Old Town Square. First, we looked to the right, ...
... then we looked to the right, ...
... then we looked straight ahead. This beauty is the Astronomical Clock.
Let's get a closer look. Cool, huh?
We headed to the left where the square was.
We bought two cups of Budweiser Budvar beer -- the original Czech Budweiser, not the American kind. That's the building containing the Astronomical Clock in the background.
The square was set up for World Cup viewing, but there wasn't a match this evening.
We looked around and admired the buildings that line the square. That's our nice beer vendor lady in the lower right.
Here's another pretty building.
The prettiest building of all was our restaurant, just a block away from the square, Staromáček.
It's a charming little restaurant specializing in traditional Czech food.
Debbie started out with salmon on toast and Tom had potato soup served in a bread bowl.
Our entrees were pork knee for Debbie (quite possibly the largest serving of pork she'd ever seen) and Tom had meat-on-a-stick (chicken, pork, beef, bacon, onion, and mushrooms).
Our table was at a large open window in the front of the restaurant.
After dinner, we waddled through Prague the long way back to our hotel. We passed this bizarre sculpture, ...
... made almost entirely of keys.
We walked along the Vltava River ...
... and walked some more.
We reached the famous Charles Bridge, ...
... a medieval Gothic-style bridge.
It's decorated with a series of statues.
It features a lovely view of the river.
Here's what it looks like facing back toward Prague.
We walked further and looked back toward the Charles Bridge.
We walked some more, ...
... and then we walked some more, ...
... and walked still more. With perfect weather and lots of low cost things to do, it's easy to see the appeal of this city to visiting college students.

Debbie was quite taken with the Art Deco detailing on this building.

Day 8 >


Europe 2010: [Day 1 - Luxembourg] [Day 2 - Germany] [Day 3 - Switzerland] [Day 4 - Liechtenstein] [Day 5 - Austria] [Day 6 - Germany] [Day 7 - Czech Republic] [Day 8 - Poland] [Day 9 - Netherlands] [Day 10 - Belgium] [Day 11 - England]

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