I traveled to Prague for a personal vacation with my daughter and niece whom I call double trouble. I booked my flight and hotel with Makemytrip. They offered me the Astoria Hotel in Prague and after reading the reviews I agreed to book it. We had a wonderful stay with them. I love it when I get the same service as a paying guest which I get on my hosted blogging trips.
As I was traveling Delhi Moscow Prague with two kids, I knew we would arrive dead tired. The hotel website says they can offer early check-in if it is available and provide an email address to request for the same. I wrote to them before I went and they assured me if they had room, I would get it early.
As predicted we were dead tired on arrival, but the good bit was we got a room within ten minutes of arrival, much ahead of the check-in time. It was a blessing for us. Both the girls and I went to sleep for five straight hours.
At the check-in I did the usual formalities of giving our passport, signing the form and getting the room key. It was all a breeze!
Our booking included breakfast. They serve breakfast everyday from 7.00 am to 10.30 am. More than anything I loved the smiles the two girls got from the serving staff. As usual the kids would step in people’s way, open any lids they wanted and generally goof around! And yet the serving staff treated them with a smile, always! I was really thankful for that.
For the girls, the choice for breakfast was over as soon as they spotted Nutella! I loved the porridge and yogurts. There were breads, eggs, salads and more for me. I did not eat any other meal in the hotel.
We had a double bed and an extra bed in the room for the three of us. Vasu took the window side of the double bed, Chhavi the single bed and I was in the middle. We slept well everyday. We would be dead tired from all the walking in the city.
Th highlight was the bathtub in the bathroom, which the girls loved. It was their first encounter with a bathtub so I have spared them the water conservation lecture. We don’t have a bathtub at home. But I am saving the lecture for next such trip!
Astoria Hotel is located in Prague 1, the historic district of the city. You can walk up to the Astronomical Clock and many other locations. It is a few minutes walk from the Palladium Mall and the Namesti Republiky metro and tram stations. There are many restaurants and cafes in the vicinity.
Astoria Hotel in Prague is a nice place to put your feet up. At all times the staff was courteous. I booked my taxi to the airport with them. I paid the driver directly and the service was good. My check out experience was without any hassle too. Overall I had an excellent stay with them!
Prague was the second trip when I took my niece and daughter, Vasu and Chhavi abroad. Together they are known as double trouble. The first time we went to Hong Kong, it was in 2014. I was the only adult on both the trips! In 2015 the kids didn’t go abroad, I was too busy quitting my job. In 2016 Seshadri took Chhavi to USA and Vasu went to USA on a school trip. In 2017 it was my turn again. That is how double trouble and I ended up in Prague. Other than facing some trouble in getting the visa, we had a lovely trip!
Traveling with kids is a lot of fun and at the same time so different from my usual blogging trips! And so much changes in 3 years with kids and yet so many things remain the same!
I Still Need to Keep their Stomachs Full
The cardinal rule of traveling with children is to keep their stomachs full! When they were smaller, it was enough to keep them happy. I still need to observe this golden rule but it is no longer enough! The girls are getting more demanding.
They Want to Order Everything and Eat Nothing
I hate to waste food, and I hate it even more when I paid for it in a foreign currency. On the first dinner we ended up ordering more food than we could eat. But after that we never wasted food. I would order one of something they wanted with a promise to order more if they finished the first helping.
They would give me a wounded look and then the three of us would struggle to finish it off! It happened without fail! They never asked for a second helping of anything! French fries I would order one each and they would finish it without any problem!
They Sulk Too!
The girls are growing up and they are getting into sulking mode, particularly the elder one! I end up saying no a lot of times! Like they were asking me, why don’t we fly business? And however much I explained, they would sulk! I told them they need to grow up and travel business on their own, I simply can’t afford it!
On our last day a elderly Australian couple was sitting next to us on the breakfast table. We started chatting and they said at one point, “I hope the girls realize how lucky they are!” I sincerely hope for the same!
My Girls Walk like Champions
Both the girls walk like champions! We would get outdoors right after breakfast and come back to the hotel only after dinner. We averaged 15K steps every day and yet they always had the energy for more. If there were stairs they would literally run away with me huffing and puffing behind them! It is so much easier to travel with kids when they can walk and enjoy it too!
They Love Parks
I think running around in the parks was their favorite activity. We went to two parks, Kampa which is an island right in the middle of the city and Lenta Park. At Lenta, Chhavi had a gala time throwing ball to a dog cute dog. Vasu would collect pine cones. Lenta Park has a fabulous viewpoint of the bridges of the city!
At Kampa we were literally by the edge of Vltava River. I am glad it was cold so the girls were content dipping just their hand and toes. They would demand to go to a park each evening.
My nephew posted the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon on their park picture where Calvin looks at a blazing sunset and says “I’ll bet I am missing some great TV shows!” The girls behaved a bit like that too, my nephew was dead right.
They Love Bath Tubs Even More!
We stayed at the Astoria Hotel and our bathroom had a bath tub. I think that was the highlight for both the girls. Vasu has stayed in rooms with bathtub earlier but she said she never got time to use them. I never had to ask them to take a bath, they would voluntarily get into the tub, my task was to get them out. For once, I kept my lecture about wasting water to myself. I assuaged my guilt by telling myself that we don’t have bathtubs at home so this is truly once in a blue moon behavior.
They Want to Shop Now!
The first thing that they paid any attention to in Prague was souvenirs! After a while I told them it would be their last trip with me if they do not take interest in anything else! I told them all the shopping would be done on the last day and they could buy one thing for them and one to carry back home for others! Of course they shopped much more, but this brought in some much needed sanity to our trip! After all it costs money to travel and I feel the pinch more after I left my job!
Chhavi Thinks her Mom has the Worst Sense of Direction
Chhavi is really afraid that we would get lost in a new place! Given my sense of direction her fear is not too unfounded. So, one of the first tasks after landing was to find data for my mobile so that I could use Google Maps. And we did fine. Only on one occasion we took a tram in the opposite direction because the kids insisted that was the correct way to go. After two station I realized the mistake. And we took the tram in opposite direction and safely got down near our hotel after 4 stations!
When we went to see the Astronomical clock, we took the long tram route, only to realize it was at a walking distance from our hotel. But given my sense of directions, these are truly minor incidents!
They Make me do Things I Won’t do Otherwise
We took an expensive car ride around the city because of the kids! We got our caricature made because they insisted.
I loved the caricature incident but I will surely pass on the car ride the next time. I would rather take the trams and walk, we enjoy much more that way. But the credit for the caricature entirely goes to the kids!
They Want to go on Another Trip
After a lot of sulking, some scolding and a lot of lectures I was not sure if they will want to go on another trip with me. But after a few hours of entering home they told me they are ready to go on another trip whenever I am ready! Looks like we did have some fun after all!
My last trip was to Prague which was a personal vacation with my daughter and niece, also known as double trouble! My visa experience was really tough and I was highly skeptical about my choice of vacation. But I have to say the city treated me and the kids with much kindness and I am keen to go back again! Prague is the place where I fell in love with trams! A lot of travel has been happening this year which makes me happy, But a lot less blogging has happened which makes me sad. I was actually blogging more regularly when I used to work full time as then my leaves were limited and I always found time for blogging when I was home! I have to learn to find the balance. But this post is about trams in Prague, so I move on!
There are many things in the beautiful city of Prague that you could fall in love with, but I fell for the red trams! I am a metro (underground) person actually but Prague has both, metros and trams. And trams won on this trip.
I stayed in what is known as Praha 1. It is the historical region in Prague with many attractions like the Charles Bride, Astronomical Clock, the Prague Castle, etc. The tram stop and the metro station of Namesti Republiky were a few minutes walk from our hotel, Astoria Prague.
Actually one of the first things I did was to get a data card so that I could use Google Maps to get around the city. Vodafone gave me a good deal, I had 1.5 GB data for 400 koruna and it was more than enough was 4 days! In the hotel I was using the WiFi. If you buy a Prague Card you can use all public transport till your card is valid. Armed with the Prague Card and Google Maps I was ready to explore the city! I now have Delhi Metro, Bangkok MRT, Dubai Metro, Singapore MRT and Prague Card in my collection.
On our first venture we took the metro! The underground is really deep and the girls were giggling nervously on the escalators. There were a lot of runners out in the city that day as a half marathon was happening! I asked one of them about directions. He mentioned that I could have taken the tram too. We eventually reached the Charles Bridge (Pražský Most) using the underground but after that we always took the tram.
Tram 15 was our best friend which took us to Staromestska Republiky and to Cechuv Most, two of our favorite places. Staromestska Republiky was close to the Charles Bridge where we used to hang out a lot. And Cehuv Most was just a hop away from Lenta Park (Letenské Sady) which gives a fantastic view of the city. The girls loved the park! We occasionally took Trams 22 and 23 too.
The sight of the red tram chugging along the scenic routes was a pleasure in itself. What added to the charm was the honor system. There is no ticket checking on the public transport. You are supposed to buy a ticket. I read that there could be inspections but I never saw one in all of my five days!
So after my trip to Prague I have added trams to my list of favorites along with the metro rides!
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quite my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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