The Hills Are Alive...

Tomorrow I'll ride the rails to Vienna. I'm really looking forward to practicing my German for the first time in a real-life scenario. Maybe I'll even run into the van Trapps along the way.

Prague has been wearing me down. I'm already sick of living in the city, especially the communist-influenced, dirty, worn-down area, far from the city's cultural center. I hate riding the metro, and starting Monday have to find another way to school. There is a tram stop right outside my window, so I'm going to leave early and check that may involved a bit more walking, but it will be worth it to stay above ground for a bit.

Prague is an odd city. It has been magnificently preserved throughout it's history, and escaped destruction during WWII. So it's old center and historic district is quite a sight to behold. But that's the's only a sight.

Where the bombs of WWII missed their mark, tourism has scored a direct hit. The city's ancient buildings and myriad of confusing cobblestone streets are gorgeous when viewed from a distance. But once you enter the maze of old town, you're simply inundated with gaudy tourist shops and ridiculously expensive restaurants.

There is a side of Prague that I enjoy. It exists on the opposite side of the river from Old Town Square, and is more quaint, more green and more local. But from where I live, it's light years away, which is a bummer. Mia and I did find one cool Turkish cafe off of a side street in Old City. I had the best coffee of my life there. Middle-eastern decor lined the walls while enchanting Indian music created a surreal surrounding. Two men next to us delighted in their enormous water pipes, the sweet smell of flavored tobacco a delightful respite from the other 'smoking allowed' pubs. I will revisit this place, hopefully on more than one occasion.

But off to Vienna I go, tomorrow at 8:23am (it's currently Friday evening at 9:51). I had a strong urge to get out of town this morning waiting for class to start. I really wanted to go to a much smaller town, somewhere in Germany perhaps, and avoid the city life for a bit. But then three friends from class said they were heading to Vienna, so I decided to capitulate and tag along. It's a four-hour train ride from Prague, one which I hope offers some interesting scenery along the way. Apparently Vienna has some really cool cafes, a big forest just outside town and some amazing museums, so I'll be a tourist for two days and soak up this part of the world while I'm here.