We slept most of the flight from San Francisco to Munich, waking up with just 2 or so hours to go. Even though it was mid-afternoon, it was not very light outside, as we were coming down from the pole and we were near the winter solstice, so there was barely any sun. Once we landed in Munich, it (unsurprisingly) took a while to disembark, as we were in Row 81. We didn't have a ton of time for our connection, and we were a tad delayed in our landing (maybe 15-20 minutes), so we were a bit antsy. When we got inside the terminal and looked at the board, however, we saw our flight was delayed by 40 minutes, so we immediately exhaled. Like Kuala Lumpur in 2012, there was a separate immigration/customs for transfer passengers.

We found our gate quickly, and still had a bit of time before boarding, maybe 30-40 minutes. So we walked to the nearby Lufthansa lounge, where it was pour your own drinks, with some food too. The flight to Prague was very short, with nothing to see since it was completely dark outside. We landed around 8:30 local time, and it was a weird experience not having any bags to grab at the conveyor belt. We should try to make a single backpack work on more trips. Since we'd already gone through immigration in Germany, and the Czech Republic was part of the EU as well, there was no need to go through immigration again. So our only stop in the airport was to grab some cash. Over the years we've had a lot of trials and tribulations attempting to use ATMs in foreign countries (Madagascar and Argentina immediately come to mind), but here there was no problem whatsoever.

As we'd read in the guidebooks, we went to Exit D to get on the bus to the yellow line terminus that was nearby. Here we had a small issue, as our credit card wouldn't work at the machine, and it was (literally) freezing outside, making us a bit more agitated. We went back inside, and went to a booth with an actual person that was able to get us the tickets we needed. We got back to the bus just before it arrived. We were on the bus for maybe 10-15 minutes, with 2 or 3 stops where seemingly no one got on or hopped off. The last bus stop was at the west end of the yellow line. We had looked to see which station was closest to our hotel, and we couldn't tell for sure, but Namesti Republiky looked like the best candidate. It was about 8-9 stops away, but each of the stops were fairly close together, so it didn't take a ton of time. It was nice coming out of the subway straight into the middle of the city. It reminded us of the BART in San Francisco, where the airport isn't that close, you can't really see anything, but after being on BART for a bit you can just pop up in the middle of the Mission or at the Embarcadero or at Union Square and immediately be in the middle of everything.

We popped up right near a mall and a museum, a bit east of Old Town. Justin looked at offline Google Maps, and tried to find the best route. We weren't that far away, but none of the streets were straight, and we needed to recognize at least one building so that we could properly orient ourselves. We saw a nearby Marriott, and that was sufficient. We took a somewhat circuitous route, and got to the hotel (the Carlo IV) right before 10. The check-in was fairly long, as there was only a single person working, and whomever was in front of us had a number of questions or issues that they needed to work through. We finally got checked in, quickly dropped our stuff, and then went out walking. Lots of stuff was already closed, and it was a Sunday night in any event. We were generally aiming to go towards the river, and eat or drink at one of the handful of restaurants and bars we'd noted in doing our homework. We got a little lost, but not too bad, as we'd veered south on a road we thought was heading west. In the process we passed what we'd later find out was Wenceslas Square, where a Christmas market had just closed down (probably at 10).

We ended up at the river right near the National Theatre, which was all lit up with a ton of lights. From the riverbank we could see the Prague Castle across the river, and we could also make out what we assumed was the famous Charles Bridge. We walked a little north of up the riverbank, and stopped in at the Hemingway Bar. Despite the city being mostly empty, the bar was packed. We secured two seats at the upstairs bar. It was nice and warm inside the bar, so we took off our jackets, scarves, fleeces, etc. Justin got a Blackberry and Vanilla Caprioska, made with Absolut Vanilla vodka, creme de mure, blackberry puree, fresh lime (muddled at the beginning), sugar syrup, and garnished with fresh mint and blackberry. Crystal got a Scrabble Punch, made with Havana Club Especial rum, Zufanek apricot brandy, fresh lime juice, white choco syrup, gunpowder green tea, and garnished with fresh mint and a chocolate scrabble tile. They were both good, but the Blackberry Vanilla Caprioska is probably one of the best drinks we've ever had. We literally could've drank 10-12 of them. We didn't though, as Justin got a glass of rum (they have an outstanding rum collection) and one more caprioska. Crystal got The Revenant, made with Pernod Absinthe, ginger cordial, kombucha lemongrass, lemon juice, and garnished with an orchid.

Our bartender (sadly, we don't remember his name, we may never have heard it in the first place) was really helpful. He asked us where all we were going on our trip, and proceeded to write down a number of bars for a number of the cities we'd be visiting. [As you'll see in the following days, his recommendations were top notch, so this list is probably worth noting.] Here is the list:

He was originally from Bratislava, and was excited we were choosing to visit there. We stayed until last call, around 1am. We still weren't that tired, so we meandered through Old Town, which was almost completely empty. It was a little odd having the city "to ourselves," as everything we'd seen and read indicated that Prague - especially Old Town - was renowned for having tons of tourists no matter the season. Because it was dark, for much of the things we saw, we didn't know what we were looking at, but like in Isfahan and Samarkand, it was kind of interesting to see everything on our own before learning about it the next day. We were asleep around 1:30-2:00.

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