Prague – Czech Republic – Europe – 2014 – Day 7 & 8

111114

We walked over to Charles bridge area and walked along the river as its a better view the bridge. We continued on to the John Lennon wall and part of Kampa Park with strange sculptures – we should’ve went back to finish. We had lunch at Bistro De France where we all had the set menu. Squash soup, salad, Quiche Lorraine (they had the Croquemonsier) and a fresh vanilla creme brulee for 249KC. We continued walking and decided to walk through this park with a steep incline to Petrin Tower to go above and peer over the city. Such a tiring walk up after a heavy meal. 120KC to climb. There are two levels to the tower and the view is beautiful. From outside, it’s similar but a smaller version of the Eiffel tower. After we descended, we continued onward to Prague castle. The area was beautiful but while we were there we were unsure if we actually made it to the castle. We actually made it to Schwarzenberg Palace / Lobkowicz Palace instead of the castle. We then walked down on the west side of Charles bridge down to Vitezna to Cafe Savoy (Vítězná 124/5 150 00 Praha 5) which was only suppose to be a light snack which ended up being a full meal. The interior features original finishing and is gorgeous. I got the baked ham brioche with gruyere cheese and poached egg 168 czk as well as the Dessert hot chocolate savoy 85 czk.

We all took a nap when we returned home.  We got up around 7-8PM and ate at Pho Vietnam (Anglická, 120 00 Praha 2, Czech Republic) for a late dinner which is this cafeteria style restaurant where you order and pay at the front. Fresh spring roll 30kc and chicken soup 99kc. We wanted dessert and walked to Cafe Lovre (Národní 22 110 00 Praha 1). Cafe Lovre has been opened since 1902 and Albert Einstein was once a patron. I had the homemade lime and pistachio ice cream that was delicious and only 16kc each. The walk home was very quiet minus seeing old Japanese business men going to the sexy sauna.

 

111214

Since we ended early yesterday, they wanted to sleep in today. Walked over to Cafe Lovre for lunch. I had the pork tenderloin with potato dumplings and fresh orange juice with strawberries 199 & 62kc. We sat in the smoking section, which still boggles my mind as I’ve been spoiled by Toronto and no smoking indoors regulations. We walked over to Havelska Trznice an outdoor market and then walked to Prazska Trznice the biggest outdoor market run by Vietnamese stalls of well useless tourist stuff such as pepper spray, ninja stars, tasers, bags, and clothes. Havelska Trznice was much better and well worth the visit over Prazska Trznice.

For a late dinner, we went to Kolkovna Savarin where I had the goose leg, a small mixed light dark lager and ice cream which was homemade with real chunks of everything in each the strawberry, chocolate and vanilla butterscotch? For 321kc.

Milan – Zurich – Prague – Europe – 2014 – Day 4-6

110914

We walked to Zara station to head back to Central to catch our train to Zurich.

We grabbed a little snack at the station from Bistrot Centrale before boarding our train since we got there a bit early. Crema croissant and a fruit shake (frullati – frullato misto)- 6.50 Euro. We took the Trenitalia train to Zurich but they have tickets where the seating is 3 & 3 but luckily train wasn’t full so Mimi and myself shifted to the empty seats. When we finally arrived, we exchanged some of our Euros for Franc coins and stored our luggage. We then walked the town with a walking tour map. Walked all over and in total, walked 12KM before heading back the station for dinner. Pretty much everything is closed on Sundays. We ended up at Brasserie Federal for dinner and I got the Muotatatler delicious which is Air dried beef, raw ham and bacon which really meant a huge slab smoked ham with potato salad and came with tubes of different mustard. 19,80 francs. NOTE – You can pay in euro /francs but will receive francs for change.

NOTE – Zurich, Switzerland is one of the cleanest cities that you could drink the water straight from the hundreds of beautiful water fountains all over.

We finished eating and walked over to the train board to see no status of our train so we lined up at the check-in desk to see if we needed to get printed tickets but were told that our train wasn’t running as Germany went strike. We went next door to customer service where we waited for a bit and luckily Sandra Buchanan saved us. Apparently this is the third strike Germany had done and it’s usually without warning. Sandra was able to find us an alternate route that left the same night but our route leaves to Salzburg on a sleeper train in which we transfer from Salzburg to Munich then to a bus from Munich to Prague that get to Prague only hours later. Such a complicated journey than expected. Should’ve just booked a plane ticket for 25-50 Euro from the beginning. We ended up wasting time at MacDonalds.

I’ve noticed over here, it is so common for couples to display PDA whether it be hugging, holding one another, sitting on each other’s laps to making out. It’s different. More carefree.

We got into the sleeper train from Zurich Hauptbahnhof to head over to Salzburg.  From Salzburg, we will connect to another train in Munich then a bus from Munich to Prague.

The sleeper train are segregated into small rooms with 6 chairs that can recline all the way down. At the beginning, we had the 4 of us plus one lady then the remainder of the ride had a full 6 with one girl beside me who tiny enough to curl up a ball and sleep perfectly. The train filled with soldiers from the Military who were going home so it was loud as they were celebrating. Definitely not a restful sleep at all. We had to change trains at 430AM but luckily we made it on time and the next train was on the platform next to us. We also took a 6 person sleeper train and had a somewhat restful sleeping moment with only two hours on this train and no one joining us. If we kept sleeping, we could’ve missed our stop and ended up in Budapest but Ricky was awake the whole time.

We arrived at Munchen station in Munich and found glorious food. We ate from Rischart bakery where I paid 3,70 Euro for a pretzel with cream cheese and chives in it (breze). Delicious. We then had to walk out of the train station about 10 minutes over to ZOB which is their Train station with a waiting area upstairs with shops and stores. We got into the DB Bahn Icb double decker bus similar to Megabus. I think this ride was probably the most restful of sleep for all. Plus there was free WiFi! Everywhere else you need to send your mobile number and receive an sms code to use it and for people not using data, it’s impossible to receive it unless you get online.  First world problems I know but how did we survive before this? When I did get internet access I received an email about the delay of the original train…

111014

NOTE – just take money out of the bank (Debit) as the exchange places rip you off. I learnt the hard way. The rate I exchanged at, I already lost $50.

We stayed in an Airbnb in Prague 1 district. We were greeted by Akan who is this lovely Turkish French man who works the medical industry. The apartment itself is astounding. It smells amazing and the look and feel one ups the Milano apartment. It’s a safe street that has a police station beside the sexy sauna. It’s a one way and cars aren’t allowed in after a certain time. It features the original wooden doors and locks but modernized. The kitchen is beautiful however we most likely won’t use it. There are two huge bedrooms plus a living room which Ricky claimed. The toilet and shower are in separate rooms. I could live here.

If you haven’t joined and booked with Airbnb yet, follow the link and get credits for your first booking. www.airbnb.ca/c/ruu

We finally had a chance to shower and freshen up then we finally left the apartment at 4PM. The sun was actually already setting. We walked down to the main street which led us the old city buildings. We walked around and went to dinner at V Kolkovne (8 – 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město, Czech Republic) in the Jewish quarter that is on the Michelin star list and it was amazing for traditional Czech German dishes. I got the goulash soup, pork hock and the mixed light and dark lager which in the end cost 400cCZ which is approximately $20CAD or under. We walked in the square/old town city hall area. We pretty much walked everywhere the Prague 1 area. Average temperature this time of year was 9 degrees throughout the day. They also are allowed to smoke indoors at bars still. Everyone speaks English here so there is much better communication than Milan.

Milan – Italy – Europe – 2014 – Day 3

110814

We left around 9AM and went to Piazza del Duomo; one of the popular tourist attractions. The inside wasn’t anything too special but we truly came for the Tower terrace which was 7 euros to climb up stairs. So beautiful and it wasn’t too busy when we were heading up. So much detail put into this cathedral but the top the view is spectacular at least the side of it as the other side was under construction. When we got down, the line was much larger than when we arrived.

Beside the Duomo is a very high-end mall called Vittorio Emmanuele II that looked spectacular. We just kept walking around into a pedestrian only zone trying to find this calzone place Aaron’s friend had recommended but no luck. We ended up on Via Alla Porta / Via Magenta area and had lunch at Osteria al 29 Pizzeria (Corso Magenta, 29, 20123 Milano). I got a coke and gnocchi Stran-something for 7 Euro – 16.50 euros in total. We wanted to walk to Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio which is right beside a Catholic university. We ended up touring the university and it’s courtyard. We couldn’t find a way out of the church instead made it into the churches courtyard to find it was closed. We continued to walk to San Lorenzo. We continued walking down this one street which led us to the border of Chinatown and Navigli (area with canals). The Navigli area was under construction for the world expo and the other part had low water. There were little booths like the swap meet in Hawaii or the night markets back home.

For dinner, we wanted to goto Giacomo which was 30-40 minutes away but was a little too pricey for our budget. We looked for other options and decided on Da Oscar which was at Porta Venezia station on the S1 line. We walked there only to be told that their night was fully booked so we sauntered over to Osteria Luna Piena (Via Lazzaro Palazzi, 9, 20124 Milano) owned by Pepperino – a movie director turned chef. The food was good but service took forever. We got a prosciutto dish to start and Aaron, Ricky and myself all got the troccolli alla marinara con tagliatta di seppioline de gambero – cuttlefish and shrimp pasta and I got this weird chocolate and ammaretto shot – mandorlino which was too chocolatey for me. 20.50 Euro. Very slow service even with a bell to get their attentions.

From there, we hopped back on the train line to Garibaldi and walked to Il Massimo del gelato in Chinatown area (Via Lodovico Castelvetro, 18, 20154 Milano MI, Italy) for the best gelato town according to the internet. 5.60 Euro for two cones with two flavors. I got cachi – they said it was Italy’s national fruit (similar to persimmons) something which tastes like a tropical fruit i can’t put my finger on. We walked 21KM this day. It’s been a constant 12 degrees celsius for majority of the time we’ve been here.

Milan – Italy – Europe – 2014 – Day 1 & 2

110614

The flight deal we found was so amazing. $177USD for a one way from New York to Milan, you have a week to get to Prague. From Prague, you fly to Paris then Paris to Hong Kong. We adjusted and went to Amsterdam and then a layover in Iceland before returning to Toronto. We (Ricky & myself) flew Air Canada to New York then flew onward to Milan with Alitalia Airlines. They have a camera attached to the outside of the plane so you can watch the takeoff and landing. Mimi and Aaron purchased the same deal but their flight was about an hour or two ahead of us.

 

110714

Landed with ease and on time in Milan. The customs was so fast as they just stamped and let us through. Mimi met us at the exit and finally we were together to start this two week epic trip. We went downstairs and bought train tickets to Garibaldi station (12 euros ea). The train ended at Milano then we had to go underground to take the metro two stops.

We bought a 48HR pass for 8.50 Euro. Some guy tried to jip me off by pressing all the buttons and claiming my change from a 10 as tip. I got my money back. We hopped on the train two stops to Garibaldi and walked to our home for the next two nights. We booked an Airbnb. Once settled in, we started our day with food at Piazza Fidia just on the corner and shared two pizzas – one with prosciutto and one with ham. Each pizza was 7 Euro each; thin crust. We walked over to Corso Como and went to 10 Corso Como (Corso Como, 10, 20154 Milano) which is this high end boutique that also has stores in Japan & China. We walked around a bit more and found ourselves in the Brera area that is very hip. I love the old architecture and how it’s been repurposed but mainly love the window shutters here whether it be a wooden sliding panel or old metal grand where length can be adjusted but also curved out.

We then made our way to Eataly (Piazza XXV Aprile, 10, 20124 Milano) for dinner and shared a calamari 13.95 Euro and I personally got the fish and chips which literally meant fresh fish deep fried with light batter and homemade chips with tartar. We did some grocery shopping as well as grabbing some gelato which is a must in Italy. In-store they had Lait Gelateria Alpine for gelato. A small cone with two flavours only 2 Euro! I had the fresh milk gelato and pistachio and man so flavourful and fresh. It just tastes better.

If you haven’t joined and booked with Airbnb yet, follow the link and get credits for your first booking. www.airbnb.ca/c/ruu

Itinerary – Europe – 2014

1106-2014 Europe – Milan, Zurich, (enroute via Salzburg & Munich) Prague, Paris, Amsterdam, Iceland

 

My friends (Mimi, Ricky & Aaron) found the crazy one-way flight deal for $177USD (From New York-Milan; a week to get to Prague-Paris-Hong Kong). We did however alter it so we would goto Amsterdam and then a layover in Iceland before returning back to Toronto. In total, we travelled for 2 weeks.

If you haven’t joined and booked with Airbnb yet, follow the link and get credits for your first booking. www.airbnb.ca/c/ruu

Here is the itinerary.

 

11/06 – Toronto – New York – Milan

FLY – YYZ-JFK; JFK-MXP

 

11/07 – Milan

AIRBNB – District 13 – Milan

-Meet Mimi & Aaron at MXP Airport

-Malpensa Express train to Milan Cadorna Station

-Walk around Corso Como

-Dinner – Eataly

 

11/08 – Milan

-Piazza Del Duomo

-Lunch – Osteria al 29 Pizzeria

-Basilica di Sant’ Ambrogio

-San Lorenzo

-Chinatown & Navigli

-Dinner – Gia Como OR Da Oscar OR Osteria Luna Piena

-Chinatown – Massimo del Gelato

 

11/09 – Milan – Zurich – enroute to Prague

TRAIN (Trenitalia)– Milan – Zurich – Prague (Train went on strike) – DETOUR

-walk around Zurich

-Lunch – Brasserie Federal

TRAIN – Zurich – Salzburg – Munich (detour)

 

11/10 – Enroute to Prague

BUS – Munich – Prague (detour)

AIRBNB – Prague 1

-walk old city

-Dinner – V Kolkovne

 

11/11 – Prague

-Charles Bridge

-Kampa Park

-Lunch – Bistro De France

-John Lennon Wall

-Petrin Tower

-Midday snack – Café Savoy

-Dinner – Pho Vietnam

-Dessert – Café Louvre

 

11/12 – Prague

-Lunch – Café Lovre

-Havelske Trzsnice

-Prazska Trzsnice

-Dinner – Kolkovna Salavran

 

11/13 – Prague – Paris

FLY – PRG- CDG

-Breakfast – La Bottega Di Finestra

-walking the Jewish Quarters

TRAIN – RER – Gare Du Nord

HOSTEL – Vintage Hostel

 

11/14 – Paris – Amsterdam

TRAIN – Paris – Amsterdam

-Store luggage at Gare du Nord

-Lunch – Collette

-Sacre Coeur

-Montmartre

-Galleries du Lafayette

 

11/15 – Amsterdam

AIRBNB – Amsterdam Nieuw-West

-Dinner – Hunkar Restaurant

 

11/16 – Amsterdam

-Central Station – Pick up iamsterdam card (2 day pass)

-canal cruise (iamsterdam card)

-Stedelijk Museum

-Lunch/Dinner – Pompa

-iamsterdam sign

-Red Light District

 

11/17 – Amsterdam

HOTEL – Citizen M

-Library

-Lunch – Vapiano

-Science Centre Nemo

-Dinner – Chinatown – A Fusion

-Hartman et Hartman

 

11/18 – Amsterdam – Reykjavik, Iceland

FLY – AMS-KEF

AIRBNB – Reykjavik

-Dinner – Snaps

-grocery shop – Hagkaup

 

11/19 – Iceland

DRIVE

-Seljalandsfoss

-Skogafoss falls

-Solheimajokull glaciers

-Lunch – Halldorskaffi

-Vik

-Reynisfjara Beach

-Dinner – Fish Market – Fiskmarkadurinn

 

11/20 – Iceland

DRIVE

-Skaftafellsjokull – Skaftafell – Vatnajökull National Park Iceland

-Lunch – Halldorskaffi

-Dinner – Bæjarins Beztu

 

11/21 – Iceland – Toronto

FLY – KEF-YYZ

-Blue Lagoon

-HOMETIME

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 11.21.34 AM