2014-12-06

Two weeks in, trip to Prague

Just over 2 weeks after starting work, I took a weekend trip to Prague. But I'll start with an update on those two weeks before getting into details about my Prague trip. My Prague Flickr album is here.

My workplace is in a very nice area, a high-class shopping street in Berlin called Kurf├╝rstendamm. The office is on the 10th floor of the "Neues Kranzler Eck" (New Kranzler Corner) building. Their website has more information on the history of the location and name, and they have an English version. We get a free lunch on Wednesday, have free fruit, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, juice, soda, and bottled water. The windows and blinds are controlled electronically, and there's even air conditioning (which was really nice when I interviewed in 30C weather)!

During my two weeks I got to see a steam train go by and we had a fire drill (on my second day of work, no less).
The steam train at Zoologisher Garten station

People outside during the fire drill (we didn't know at the time if it was a drill or real)

View from my side of the office
Now, my trip to Prague was pretty easy. I still had my rail pass active so all I had to do was hop on a train. The train journey is only about 4 hours, so I planned my trip to leave after work on Friday and then return Sunday afternoon. The train left from Berlin Hauptbahnhof, and it's a compartment-style train.
Train engine

The wagons
During the trip, I had a few people in my compartment but eventually it was just myself and another lady, and we began chatting. She's from Prague and was just returning from Berlin, and gave me some advice about the city. When we arrived she offered to go with me to get some food and drinks by the station. I had my very first Czech beer near the station. Neither of us had coins for the public transit ticket machines (and the manned offices were closed), but I had already loaded the public transit app on my phone and was able to purchase a ticket on there. I had also read Czechs could buy tickets from their phone plans, so I showed her how to do it on her regular (not-smartphone) mobile phone. We then parted ways and I went to my hotel.

My first Czech beer, and quickly learned that things were cheap!

My hotel room

Desk

RFID door locks

Fancy bathroom

Fancy sink

Really amused by the label on the toilet showing it was cleaned. Never seen that anywhere else before.
The next day I planned to do a free walking tour of Prague. The weather wasn't quite so nice, we got rained on a few times, but luckily I had brought my waterproof camera and rain jacket with me so I was able to take pictures without worry. I walked around a bit before the tour and took in Prague beautiful sights. Prague is an amazing city with great history and was able to escape the wars with very little damage, and thus has a lot of beautiful buildings still standing. Another great thing about Prague is how cheap food and drinks are. Beer being under $1 USD, even at restaurants, was crazy even coming from Germany. Meals were also pretty inexpensive.

After the tour, I went with a friend I made during the tour and we went exploring the city a bit. We walked around, chatted, and overall had a great time. We had dinner together at a vegetarian restaurant in the heart of the old town, just about 100m from the old town square. The food was amazing and cheap.

I've had friends live there, family visit, and I don't think I've ever heard anyone complain about Prague, except to say it's a bit packed with tourists. Otherwise, it's a very beautiful city, and I certain plan on revisiting soon!


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