Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Czeching out the neighbors

Last weekend my girlfriend and I decided rather spur of the moment to go to Prague. One of my favorite things about Europe for years has been the ability to decide on a whim to go to a foreign capital for a quick getaway. So this weekend, we went to the Czech Republic.
Last year, Slovenia became the first Eastern European (i.e. ex-communist) country to surpass a Western European country (in this case, Portugal) in terms of per-capita income. Suffice it to say that the Czech Republic is well on its way to following Slovenia on that route. Every time I have visited Prague, it looks just a little bit cleaner, with fewer communist buildings around, and more buildings that would be right at home in Vienna.
That has its pluses and minuses. One of the nice things about going to Prague has been that it's, well, not Vienna. It's cheaper, not as staid, and in more ways than one, Bohemian. Now, with prices having risen by leaps and bounds over the past ten years, Prague is no longer cheap, nor off the beaten path. For those looking for the Prague of old, I suggest Bratislava, or perhaps Warsaw as two other Eastern European capitals that are still quite cheap, far from touristy, and have plenty to offer. Indeed, a trip to Bratislava with my girlfriend on my motorcycle (once I feel confident after lots more practice- for those parent-sorts out there who read this)
is in the cards, as are trips to Ireland, Scotland, Italy, and a few other places too. The rolling stone keeps on rolling...

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