177 Chapters
Medium 9781628870282

2. The Best Special-Interest Tours: Kafka's Prague, Prague Castles, Communist Prague, Prague with Kids, Romantic Prague

Mark Baker FrommerMedia ePub
The former Communist government was never entirely comfortable with Franz Kafka, the German-Jewish writer who was born in Prague in 1883. Kafka’s themes of bureaucracy and alienation were too close to the grim reality of day-to-day life of pre-1989 Prague, and Kafka was all but ignored by the Communist government. All of that changed after the Velvet Revolution in 1989, and a caricature of Kafka’s familiar face—complete with his overly elongated ears—can be found on posters, T-shirts, and coffee mugs in every souvenir shop in town. Perhaps it’s ironic that a somber German-Jewish intellectual—the father of the modern novel—should somehow be adopted by the flashy local tourist industry as one of the faces of new Prague. On the other hand, given the city’s turbulent history of Nazi occupation followed by Communist dictatorship, perhaps it’s more than fitting. Although Kafka died 15 years before the start of World War II and 24 years before the Communist coup d’etat in 1948, his novels now seem eerily prophetic of what was to come. START: Old Town Square (Staroměstské nám.). See All Chapters
Medium 9781628872088

7 Germany

Arthur Frommer FrommerMedia ePub

Museum Island on the Spree River, with the Fernsehturm TV tower in background.

I self-published my first travel book—a little tome called The G.I.’s Guide to Traveling in Europe —at a print shop in Oberammergau, Germany, where it was set in type by a Bavarian who knew no English. He slowly and laboriously spelled out the entire text letter by letter, speaking each letter aloud, and I spent so much time watching that process that I was also able systematically to witness the work habits of his fellow printers.

Each day, they returned from lunch with smiles on their faces, as if they were overjoyed to be back. Each day, they made the rounds of each person in the print shop, wishing “Mahlzeit”—a word that apparently meant “I-hope-you-had-a-good-lunch”—to each one of them, individually. And it gradually dawned on me that they were unlike any commercial staff that I had ever seen.

Unlike other people, who work to live, they lived to work—they enjoyed working. They were eager to produce, to labor, to create the best possible print shop. And although you obviously can’t draw larger conclusions from this one group of Germans, I nevertheless thought I had seen something important. I had witnessed the determination, the drive, that had almost permitted them to win the war—and that was now making an economic powerhouse out of their country.

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Medium 9781628870268

16 Favorite Moments

Joseph Fullman FrommerMedia ePub

You can explore the wonders of science, history, and nature at world-class museums, eat yourself to a bigger dress size at top-notch restaurants, marvel at just how much gold and jewelry fill the royal palaces and castles, and say you’ve “done” London. But to get to know London, you need to experience the special moments that reveal the city’s true character. Here are some of the best:

 

Race to the top of the Shard. Two super-speedy elevators whisk you to the top of Western Europe’s tallest building for views that seem to stretch on forever in all directions. It’s a great experience at any time—particularly on the topmost viewing platform, which is exposed to the elements—but for a truly breathtaking photo opportunity, go in the evening when the sun starts sinking and the lights come on across the city. Go to page, .

Take an inter-art cruise aboard the Tate-to-Tate boat. Running between the sister galleries of Tate Britain and Tate Modern every 40 minutes, the boat allows you to instantly swap an eyeful of paintings and installations for views of some of the Thames’ most iconic sights, including the London Eye and Big Ben. The boat itself is a work of art with a colorful spotted livery by Damien Hirst. Go to page.

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Medium 9781628871326

The Savvy Traveler

Patricia Harris FrommerMedia ePub

The Metro stop near Torre Agbar.

Before You Go

Government Tourist Offices

In the U.S.: 60 E. 40th St., 53rd Floor, New York, NY 10165 (  212/265-8822); 8383 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 956, Beverly Hills, CA 90211 (  323/658-7188); 845 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 915E, Chicago, IL 60611 (  312/642-1992); and 1221 Brickell Ave., Ste. 1850, Miami, FL 33131 (  305/358-1992). In Canada: 2 Bloor St. W., Ste. 3402, Toronto, ON M4W 3E2 (  416/961-3131). In the U.K.: 79 New Cavendish St., 2nd Floor; W1W 6XB, London (  207/317-2010; www.spain.info/uk/TourSpain). A full list of Spanish tourist offices worldwide can be found at www.spain.info.

The Best Times to Go

March to May and September to late October are perhaps the best times to visit Barcelona, with fewer crowds than in summer. Weather-wise, however, almost any time of year is the right time to go. Although humid, Barcelona is as hot in summer as Madrid and the south. In August, much of the city shuts down as residents head for the beaches. August is the major vacation month in Europe, and traffic from England, France, the Netherlands, and Germany to Spain becomes a stampede. November to February can be pleasantly temperate, crowds are nonexistent, and prices drop for hotels and airfares. But some coastal resorts, especially on the Costa Brava, shut down during this slow season. The Christmas season in Barcelona, beginning in early December and extending through the first week of January, is especially festive.

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Medium 9781628871265

7 The Best Nightlife

Sacha Heselstine FrommerMedia ePub

Sample a Dutch beer at a friendly cafe or bar, like Hoppe.

Nightlife Best Bets

Best Place to Sip Wine with the Young & the Beautiful

Bubbles & Wines, Nes 37 (p 106)

Best Place to Drink with the Locals

Café Nol, Westerstraat 109 (p 106)

Friendliest Gay Bar

Amstel 54, Amstel 54 (p 109)

Best Pub by a Windmill

Brouwerij ’t IJ, Funenkade 7 (p 110)

Dance Club That’s Most Worth a Taxi Ride

Hotel Arena Club, ’s-Gravesandestraat 51 (p 108)

Best Brown Cafe with a Summer Terrace

Café De II Prinsen, Prinsenstraat 27 (p 107)

Best Place to Dance If You’re Looking for Exclusivity

Jimmy Woo, Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 18 (p 108)

Most Hip & Happening Dance Club

Panama, Oostelijke Handelskade 4 (p 109)

Best for Romance

Chocolate Bar, Eerste Van der Helststraat 62A (p 107)

Best for Gezelligheid (Dutch Hospitality)

Café Pollux, Prins Hendrikkade 121 (p 106)

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