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Nürnberg - Karlovy Vary - Prague

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Downtown Nürnberg
Street Performers in Nürnberg

May 1995 saw our very last European visitor arrive. My niece, Anne Marie, graduated from college in May and rewarded herself for four hard years of work by taking a month and coming to Europe! She arrived on the 24th of May, and her cruel uncle and aunt swept her away the very next day on a whirlwind tour of the Czech Republic and Berlin! We started the tour with a few hours in Nürnberg, wandering around the old part of the city. Nürnberg is famous for its Christmas Market (Wienachtsmarkt) , but it was nowhere to be seen in May! We saw some of the greatest street musicians there we had ever seen - from Asia!

From Nürnberg we drove across the border to Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. Karlovy Vary is a spa or resort town (known as Karlsbad in Germany), and there are (allegedly) medicinal mineral springs all over the place. Spa goers buy or bring a narrow ceramic cup with a combination straw and handle. The straw draws water from the bottom of the cup, and the cup itself is narrow to increase the surface area so the hot mineral water will cool faster. You carry your cup around, and fill it with hot mineral water from any one of the many spring faucets all over the town, then you sip the (allegedly) medicinal mineral water as you stroll around town. As to be expected, the cups make great souvenirs so the locals decorate them and sell them at every street-corner. We bought one, of course!

In Karlovy Vary we stayed in the Grandhotel Pupp, an elegant old hotel formerly used by the communist regime to house westerners only (locals were not allowed in), and the walls were very thin! Ask us about that sometime when there are no children around!! We toured the city, drank some of the mineral water from the springs (it tasted like the baking soda in warm water my mother used to give me when I was little to either settle my stomach or make me throw up!), ate Svickova (marinated beef in sauce with Bohemian dumplings) and Palatschinken (peach crepes with sour cream and sauce), and haggled for some gold jewelry for Anne. We stayed two nights in Karlovy Vary and enjoyed it a lot.

Golz-Kinsky Palace and Our Lady Before Tyn Church
Megan, Anne Marie, and Audrey at Lunch
Prague MarktPlatz

From Karlovy Vary we drove to Praha (or Prague in English) to spend the day wandering around the old city. We did our traditional thing when we visit a new city - we took a bus tour to acclimate ourselves and make sure we don't miss anything important. That way we can also decide where we want to go back to from the things we've seen on the tour.

Prague is one of the more westernized cities in the former eastern bloc, but it still has an eastern mystique and a wonderful old-world charm. It has adapted to capitalism quite well, and is thriving. There is lots of construction and restoration, but the old buildings are being restored rather than being replaced, so the city itself is beautiful and getting more so. The Vlatva river runs right through it (also known as the Moldau - the same river that runs through Ceský Krumlov). We spent the day wandering around and exploring this great old city, before hopping in the van and heading across the former East German countryside to Berlin.





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