Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Easter Rabbit Found Us!

I really am getting quite good at packing for our holidays.  David was shocked to see everything that I was able to bring along in just two bags for the four of us for a week!  Including goodies from the Easter Bunny.  Or Easter Rabbit, as Maxwell corrected me.

Our first full day in Prague was Easter Sunday, and what better way than to wake up to an egg hunt in the hotel?  Maxwell woke up, and very quietly came to my side of the bed and said, "Mommy!  The Easter Rabbit left eggs and treats all over the hotel!!"  We had fun looking for all the eggs and then got ready to really start our vacation.

Note to readers with toddlers: It is SO worth it to splurge on breakfast at the hotel if they offer it.  We were able to start each day with a nice, filling breakfast, with plenty of options so we were sure to find something the kids would eat.  As a stay-at-home mom, I feel like oftentimes I just go from meal to meal...make breakfast, play, get them a snack, play, make get the idea.  When you are out of your home for days at a time, the idea of providing all of that food on the go is a bit daunting.  After trial and error (mostly from our trip to Barcelona last fall) David and I learned that filling the mini-fridge with Maxwell and Darian friendly food, packing a lunch and sometimes dinner each day totally makes our adventures easier!


It was very cold this day!  We got all bundled up and headed out towards the river, where we were taking a water taxi to the Prague Zoo.  We have been to a lot of farms here in the UK, but we haven't been to a zoo since we moved here.  And the LA Zoo isn't really all that great, so we were excited to see all the animals!  I definitely recommend going to the zoo when you are in a new country, with or without kids.  David and I really enjoyed seeing all the new animals, specifically birds, that we had never seen or heard of before.  The Prague Zoo was huge and had such a variety of animals.

My favorites were the ones we saw at the end of the day:  the polar bears, penguins and wolves.  But this tiger was awesome.  They had the male and female separated (I think this is the female; there were cubs on her side).  The male was pacing back and forth on his side and growling, and then when we got over there to this side, she jumped up onto this log and was "talking" to him.  It was so cool to see them communicating like that!
It was so cold that it actually started snowing quite a bit while we were there, and Darian was not happy.  She perked up a bit when we rode on the chair lift, but it was a long day for the little one.  We took a bus/metro combo to get back to the hotel for a swim.  Then we finally experienced our first Czech dinner.  We ate at a pub called Pivovarsky Dum, and the food was delicious!


It was still quite chilly on Monday, but the sun was shining and it was a wonderful day for a walking tour.  After breakfast we walked to Wenceslas Square again, and headed to the Old Town Square.  There were lots of Easter Markets buzzing with activity.  We heard lots of different accents and languages about, but our ears were always drawn to the Americans.  We decided on a "free tour" in case we had to leave it early if the kids weren't behaving.  Our guide was great, and there were about 6-8 other people on the tour.  We walked through Old Town, the Jewish Quarter, over the Charles Bridge, into Lesser town and then up a huge hill to Prague Castle.
At the wall overlooking the city from Prague Castle.
All of the architecture and sights were just beautiful, and we really covered a lot of ground.  The kids were AMAZING!  Darian fell asleep for a bit, but Maxwell was so content, just sitting in the stroller and enjoying the views.  At one point David's blackberry did have to make an appearance in order to keep him from whining, but otherwise the kids were fantastic.  The tour was a good three hours or more, so once we got back to the hotel we were pretty tired.  No swimming this time.  That night we had another yummy Czech meal at a pub by our hotel, U Graffu.


 It is always nice when you don't have to get up for anything specific when on holiday.  On Tuesday we woke slowly, let the kids watch some Sesame Street (dubbed in German, I think) and Dinosaur Train (dubbed in French!).  We took the metro to Subway.  Wait...what?  ha ha  We wanted to get sandwiches for ourselves that day, so we took the metro to Subway.  Why is that confusing?  :o)  From there we took a tram up to Petrin Hill.  Atop Petrin Hill is Petrin Tower, which looks a lot like the Eiffel Tower, but smaller.  But since it is built on top of the big hill, I think that the observation deck is actually "higher" than the Eiffel Tower!!  We took a funicular up to the top of the hill.  The kids love those.  They must be a European thing; I had never heard of one before, but now between Barcelona and Prague we have been on several.  The kids spotted a playground, so we stopped for a little while to play before we ventured onto our big climb.  Maxwell was adamant about taking the stairs, so he and David left Darian and I waiting for the lift and started their climb.  When we met them at the top, I was shocked to find out that Maxwell did all of the stairs but the last ten.  289/299!  What a big boy!
Tower and grounds
Panoramic view from the observation deck of Petrin Tower
After the tower we went into a small building that had a Hall of Mirrors.  The kids LOVED it.  Entry fee to Hall of Mirrors:  £5 for the family.  Sounds of giggles and BONKS! as Maxwell rounded the corners too fast and ran into himself?  PRICELESS.

Tuesday night we went to an amazing restaurant for dinner, Vytopna Railway Restaurant.  (That is a video of it!)  Maxwell had a love/hate relationship with this place.  There are mini rails all throughout the place, and they deliver your beverages on a train!  Maxwell spent the entire evening standing up in his chair, waiting for the drink to go by.  He was so restless.  When one would come by, he was so excited.  But as soon as it would leave he would turn around and ask David and I to hurry up and finish our drinks so that we could order more!

To see a more thorough album of this first part of our trip, visit here.

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