"Czech Republic" Czech Republic by ant1606
Czech Republic Travel Guide: 16,895 reviews and 39,826 photos
My first trip dates back to 1989, at that time the country was still Czechoslovakia, whic later split into present Czech Republic and Slovakia. At that time it took me some 5 hours in line at the border for customs clearing. It was mandatory to exchange the equivalent of 25 USD per day per person in an attempt to limit black market currency trade. Coupons for gasoline or diesel fuel were also mandatory, and these difficulties were limiting large scale tourism. At that time I rented an apartment, and I assume it was an illegal pratcice, in a wonderful stone house built in A.D. 1346.
I returned to a new Czech Republic a few years later to find what revolution meant. Broader economy seemed to have improved the lifestyle of many Czechs, and Prague became accessible to more tourists. It's one among the most beautiful and charming cities I've ever been to, but the magic of old-times nearly empty streets has gone forever. During summer months it's congested with human traffic, strollers, ringing cell phones and voices in any language. Dawn hours are the best to enjoy a relative quietness. The fascinating city center is relatively small and must be discovered by foot. You may spend hours treading Carl's Bridge connecting the Small City across the Vltava river to Prague downtown. Countless spires adobe the skyline in a timeless atmosphere, and every corner yields unforgettable views especially in the twilight.
Similar emotions can be experienced in less crowded Ceske Budejovice and Cesky Krumlov. A visit to Czech Republic would be incomplete without tasting any of the excellent local beers, especially if tasted in a brewery and accompanied with a snack of ham and pickles. Don't even think of ordering a glass smaller than a pint (half a liter), just ask for the number of glasses you want. Your empty glass usually prompts another serving to land on your table unless you stop the waiter.
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