Saturday, June 23, 2012

From Prague with love

Lunch with a view in Prague
This morning we reluctantly bid goodbye to the little hotel we stayed in, in the nondescript German town of Ingolstadt, home to the Audi factory. We'd visited the Audi factory yesterday and then gone to the outlet mall nearby, so we'd booked the Hotel Ammerland in Ingolstadt for the night, intending to drive to Prague early this morning.

Ingolstadt wouldn't really be on the map except for Audi lovers and people who want to go to the outlet mall. The Ingolstadt outlet mall is okay, too, but nothing great when compared to those in other cities in Italy. So it's understandable that there aren't too many good hotels in this town.

A HOTEL FOR THE COST OF
LUNCH IN PARIS

I did my research and by default settled on this small four-star hotel that seemed decent enough and had the added bonus of being very cheap compared to the hotels I usually book in Europe. I'm happy to tell you that my room last night cost all of 75 euros with breakfast -- which is the bottom price of a three-course lunch in a good restaurant in Paris.



I was slightly anxious about what a 75 euro room would be like, but we were very happily surprised. The hotel was nothing luxurious, but lots of details that went into it were done in very good taste. The rooms were small but I wanted for nothing.

And I loved the garden and terrace attached to my room so much that when my friend J BBM-ed me a silly question as I sat on this terrace, I actually answered him with the truth. I really shouldn't have as he never gives me a straight answer to anything -- but the damage's done and that's what a 75-euro room with a lovely terrace can do to you.

FIVE-STAR BREAKFAST



Breakfast here too was incredibly well-done. It can certainly hold its own against a lot of five-star deluxe places I've stayed in. There was a whole range of hot and cold foods, an elaborate beverage bar complete with all kinds of teas, and a fresh juice stand -- you just had to press the oranges yourself, but that's part of the fun.

All kinds of loose leaf teas available for breakfast
The breakfast room too was so pretty, done in black and white with flowers everywhere. I never thought I would be sorry to say goodbye to a 75-euro room in the middle of nowhere, but I actually was.



SPEEDING DOWN THE HIGHWAY

After a pretty leisurely breakfast, we got into the car for the long drive to Prague. I think it was about 350 kms from where we were and we wanted to make it there by noon to beat the rental car deadline.

Fortunately we used the German autobahn for half the way and it doesn't have a speed limit; and my friend A used to actually race cars so driving very fast is a breeze for him -- excuse the pun. So he was easily doing 190 kms or 200 kms down the highway while we were listening to more 80s music. I was seated in the front and I swear the car sailed like the wind.

At one point, I turned and asked him: "It's safe to be driving at this speed, right?" He replied: "Yes, as long as we don't get into an accident." Of course. Talk about another silly question. Anyway we made it to Prague in exactly the time we were supposed to. Scroll down to read more about Prague...




ALL ABOUT PRAGUE

Then from our 75-euro hotel room we checked into one of Prague's best hotels. Talk about extremes, but that's a Travelife for you. We're never ordinary.

But I'll tell you more about my lovely Prague hotel in another entry. It's one of my favorite hotel chains in Europe. I also stay in this same hotel chain when I'm in Rome or Edinburgh -- and the Prague hotel certainly didn't dissappoint.

The rooms are huge and nicely done in a mix of contemporary and classic. And the first thing I did after checking in was to book a massage just before dinner.

Well, it was the best massage I've had in a very long time -- and just when I needed a little TLC.

In the afternoon, we had lunch and then spent the afternoon walking through a part of the Old Town. What a gem of a city Prague is. I've been everywhere but Prague is truly special. Everywhere you look is quaint, old-fashioned and charming -- if not breathtaking. I was in love within the first hour.

UP THE HILL FOR DINNER




For dinner, we walked up the hill of Prague to dine al fresco in one of the Czech Republic's best restaurants. The view was lovely and we all enjoyed our orders. I had the chef's specialty of rolled chicken, while S ordered the veal and A had the filet mignon.




We washed everything down with a bottle of wine from Moravia, which is supposed to be the source of the best wine in the Czech Republic, and then watched fireworks erupt all over the city. It was magical and romantic.

By then, we'd had enough wine to laugh so merrily as we walked down the hill and back to our hotel at close to midnight. Even then the city was still alive and people were still walking the streets -- and we felt so happy and lucky to be together in this beautiful city of Prague. Follow our adventures around the Czech Republic on this blog and in upcoming issues of Travelife Magazine.


Just another day in a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife. Good night from truly enchanting Prague.





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