Wednesday, August 17, 2016


It was DDLJ trip all the way right from the start. Picture this. All of us INSEADers get to the train station on time (5 am) and then go separate ways to grab breakfast as there is still a while for the train to start. And then 4 of us make it when the train starts to whistle away and cant find the remaining 7! We walk from one end to the other, desperately looking into each window trying to see if they are already in and the train starts to move. Neither do we find them inside, nor do we spot them approaching the train from wherever they were gallivanting. In the last minute as the doors begin to close, we get in hoping they would have the sense to run or find another train. Turns out they make it in time huffing and puffing - we just didn't give them a hand in.  Neither were we feeling like Shah Rukh Khan, nor they like Kajol. Anyway the journey from Berlin to Prague was 4 hours and we caught up on sleep most of the time. Fortunately I woke up on time to notice the picturesque villages and green hills and streams on the way. Not a sight to be missed for anything.
When we got to Prague, the taxis had their way twisting our arms for exorbitant fares. Thank god for Uber - we made it at reasonable expense. We lived in one of the most beautiful lodges I have seen. It was a huge mansion with atleast 6 rooms as far as I could tell - and we girls got the best one. It was in the middle of Prague downtown (new city) on one side of Charles Bridge that separates the old and new cities. Right across the street from where we stayed were numerous hotels and spas. We got lunch in a Mediterranean place which offered some great margaritas.
From there we walked towards the huge river that separates old and new Prague. We rented a boat for the bunch of us and spent a most magical evening going up and down the river, sipping Irish coffee and watch the city transform from dusk to night. That night we went to a classy restaurant called COMO somewhere on the verge of downtown.
The next day we set out on a walking tour yet again after grabbing brunch at a pastry place close to downtown. Covering what must have been the original Disney castle - we walked to downtown Prague, past the street with top brands (this one was by far the choicest), stopping to admire the square and the astronomical clock which is mathematical brilliance itself. It has so many cool features that I cannot remember all of them. Suffice it to say that it covered months, days, times, events - solar and lunar and what not. It is the biggest astronomical clock that is still working today.
Endless roads spread out from the square lined with restaurants, souvenir shops, forex banks and horse carriages. We saw the Jewish quarter next and a questionably haunted cathedral. Finally we ended on the banks of the river overlooking the Prague castle. Resting a bit on benches under trees, we mustered back the energy to continue to explore this beautiful city. Some of us decided to check out the 'dancing house' which is a really twisted building way down in the new city. It proved to be quite a long walk and not much of a destination. We posed for pictures at multiple places admiring the beauty of river side living. On the way back my friends insisted on stopping for coffee and cookies, and then for some chicken nuggets and then at a candy house... well then we made it back. In the quest for authentic Czechoslovakian dinner, we went to a place close by that looked like a cabin with antlers and stuff. The food looked scary (steak hanging from some hunter's equipment - if I could interpret it myself) and enough to feed a dozen people. I had my humble potatoes and soup.
The night was long as I found myself tagging along into yet another club for dancing. I had great gin and tonic here. But when the smoke got too much to handle, I walked back to the lodge.
The last day here, we woke up late, got brunch at a pasta place (had some great foccacia and hot chocolate).  And then some of us decided to go see the Prague castle and it was a great idea. We walked across the Charles bridge and all the way up to the castle, its gardens and walls and museums. A UNESCO world heritage sight,  it was one of the best parts of my travels. I loved the small village of colourful houses in Golden Lane by the castle  - now museums of sorts. We saw the St. Vitus cathedral with gothic architecture. Finally grabbed some food in the castle cafe and made our way back. Then I went window shopping for a bit in the amazing shopping district. Apparently eastern travellers visit here just to do that.
Late the same night we took a flight out from Prague. I would definitely like to go back here.

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