I don’t often take pictures of hotel rooms, except when they are amazing. This one, in Prague. It is from the Marriott. I arrived at the hotel exhausted but opened the door initially and freaked out. I thought, based on the downstairs view I had, that I had a hotel room with a Murphy Bed (a bed that retracts back into the wall) I didn’t. I had a two floor, massive hotel room with two bathrooms. There was even a sleeper sofa if you wanted to entertain guests. I put my stuff down and wandered over to the Marriott lounge. They had me at smoked salmon and beer. Just a really beautiful city. Prague, at least in the downtown area, is very old. The new, mixes with the old by consuming older buildings and making them new on the inside. The hotel was next to the casino downtown and just a little walk away from Kafka’s pub. I did stop in for a drink (or two). I didn’t however undergo a metamorphosis while I was there. Nor did I see any 5 foot or larger cockroaches. I did get to enjoy a wonderful time in a bar named for the famous Czechoslovakian writer. Plus I got to see the amazing city of Prague.
The newer part of the city, not the city center, is expanding up and out. This was my first trip after the end of the cold war to what had been a nation in what was Eastern Europe (I would make two more trips into Eastern Europe but for now this one was the first). I learned a lesson the first evening I was there, sitting in the lounge and having a beer. The bartender was a nice young man who wanted to practice his English, and was willing to speak to an American, even though I don’t speak English (that was his joke not mine although I did laugh). He offered me the local beer called Budvar and told me the story of how it was the basis of the American beer. I tasted Budvar and have tasted the American beer, and frankly the two are not in the same ballpark. Budvar is an amazing crisp beer. My second evening I decided to wander to the castle for a tour. I had heard of Prague’s castle from friends. co-workers I had just met and history books. Sitting on top the hill overlooking Prague it was just a beautiful place to stand and watch. I left my camera back in the room, which I realized just as the sun was setting and setting the castle ablaze in glory. So in this case words have to do.
I didn’t buy anything in the Kafka Bookshop. I did go in and wander. it was near the pub on the square. I love old European cities that have the open squares. Where you have the old buildings lining the huge open square. My new friend the bartender made fun of me for walking around like a tourist (I explained that I actually was a tourist). I asked him what he would do if he came to Chicago, or New York. He said he would wander around and see all the things he had read about, I said TOURIST! We laughed. The paving’s of the courtyard where large hewn stone and fun to see how they were fit together. No concrete between them as they were 400 years old. Old cities are fun to wander in. The bartender and I talked about places in Europe he wanted to go, to see some of the old places. I introduced him to the much older culture in Asia and the Middle East. That he should visit the places that had thousands of years of history. Before even the Romans. That was the night I was sitting in the lounge talking to several other hotel guests. The guest, who were from somewhere else in Europe I don’t remember where. Told me the history of the hotel. That once upon a time it was the hotel used for the Communist party leaders. That was why it was so large, and extravagant. It had hosed the leaders of the party when they came to Prague for meetings. I kind of felt a little guilty staying there the last night based on that story.