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Friday, July 30, 2021

Prague Airport Outlet Mall - Our Last Day Behind the Old Iron Curtain

This beautiful new mall was nearly empty

I found a collection of rare old cars

After 12 days behind the old Iron Curtain - it was time for us to fly to Paris  - west of the wall. We got up Thursday morning in Karlovy Vary - in the Czech Republic. We had breakfast at our Olympia Palace Hotel and by 11 AM we were motoring in our Skoda rental car east across the countryside of hop fields and breweries. Lulu always likes to sneak in a little adventure side trip.

We got to the Prague Airport quite early for our flight - but there just happened to be a brand new outlet mall just next to this countryside airport. Since Czechia joined the EU - a lot of money had been flowing their way for infrastructure. As I parked our car in the covered parking lot - I felt comfortable being able to see the airport within easy reach. We took the escalator upstairs - and she was off - shopping for gifts for the kids. I started walking and looking maybe for an ice cream cone. The place was beautiful - although malls may be a thing of the past with Internet shopping - I was surprised at how nice this was. What was pretty obvious - although all the stores were open - there were virtually no shoppers. We had the place to ourselves. Covid or no covid - this place was empty. 

Then - all of a sudden up ahead I saw something strange - cars in a mall. On one of the wings - the store fronts were completed - but no stores were there yet. They were filled with exotic cars! I saw two guys that looked like salesmen sitting at a desk - but I did not pester them nor vice versa. I just started taking pictures of the cars - squeezing between rows and ropes. Some of the cars had window sales stickers. They were all polished so spotlessly - and every car was on a trickle battery charger. I did not ask questions - I assume these cars were consignment sales. Many of them had window stickers over $200,000. A few were in the $10,000 to $30,000 range. 

We stayed there an hour or so - and it was soon time to go to the airport. We wanted to have plenty of time for security checks. On the way over from Paris - that airport was packed. We almost missed our plane. This time - we were the only people going through security. We each had two carry-on bags. Lulu was stuffing little bags into bigger bags. We ended up at our gate  two hours early. We had a nice lunch - and got on the plane. As I typed this we are winging it over Germany - the plane looks only about 20% full. As we flew over Germany that looked like Nuremberg down there. Prague airport did check our Covid card. In Paris we walked off our plane and right into the street - no checks. 

In Paris - we took an uber car to my son's apartment. It is nice to be coming home - even though it is Paris. It was announced yesterday that England is letting Americans in now. If we can go there without being quarantined for 5 days - we will probably do it. Lulu has spent 10 summers teaching a course in London at the FSU campus there. We love going back there. 

Traveling in these former communist countries was very interesting. You realize that people all over the world  have the same hopes and dreams. They care for their families. They like to eat and drink out. They like to shop for clothes and trinkets. They see a lot of America on TV and Internet. They love to wear clothes with American words on them. They want to have a good time. They could not care less about politics. 

There were a couple of kids on the mall train

Grand steps and escalator to parking garage

Stores had funny English names


Ducati cycle

Aston Martin ready for paint

Vermont store

Meatfly - I did not get it

Old Vespa in hat store

Czech government Mercedes


Soviet sidecar

My first new car - a 1969 VW

Mini race car

1960s E-Type Jaguar - Dead Man's curve

Cars stuffed in unused mall stores

More stores full of cars

911 Porsche

Vespa like our current Pimavera

Porsche tractor

Porsche diesel engine

A store full of old Porsches

Giant room full of Porsches


A real Porsche

Cars are plugged into trickle chargers

Renault Alpine 

How did the Dodge pickup get here?


Inside of the Dodge pickup

Porsche on tile

1985 Rolls Royce - $75000

E-Type Jaguar

A store full of Alfa Romeos

One lonely red Corvette convertible

Two Ferraris

BMW cycle

The was an unrestored Horne

Horne looked like this new

Quiksilver - no idea what they sold

I had a snack looking at airport from the lounge

British train

Turning in our lonely 
Skoda Fabia at
Budget car rental
We put 900 miles on it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Karlovy Vary - A UNESCO World Heritage Site - in the Czech Republic

The river running thru this city is heated
by hot springs

This beautifully restored Russian Orthodox
Church was unexpected

We are spending 2 nights at the Olympic Palace in Karlovy Vary. I never heard of this place before our trip. Lulu said she wanted to stay in this historic spa town. Ever since the 1300s - people have been coming to this resort town that is laced with about 300 hot springs. They vary from 90 degrees to 160 degrees. There are geysers and fountains shooting hot water 30 feet into the air. The water from the springs keep the river hot all year. It started out when Charles IV - Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia - came here in 1349 - for an injured leg. He was convinced the hot mineral water cured his leg. 

The town is full of mansions - hotels and pavilions from the 1800s and 1900s. People come from all over the world to bathe in these hot springs. Man famous people have come here seeking help form the hot mineral water. Karl Marx stayed here 3 years - he actually stayed in our hotel. 

The Czech Republic is not religious. 80% do not claim a religion. 10% are Catholic. 1% are Protestant. 

Because of covid - you can tell the crowds are light here now. Even though we are vaccinated - we still wear masks when we enter stores - restaurants - or other enclosed areas. All the food servers and vendors wear masks. 

Tomorrow - we will drive our rental car back to Prague. We will fly back to Paris from there. We are about 80 miles west of Prague - then our flight to Paris is under 2 hours. It will end our 10 day adventure to Eastern Europe.  So far - the only place that asked to see our "covid passports" is this hotel. We think we do not have to get covid tested to fly back to Paris. Today is the halfway mark in our 60 day trip to Europe. We flew from Florida to Paris on June 28th. 

Our hotel has a stainless steel pool
and hot tub - full of heated mineral water

The hot river is lined by 
restaurants - hotels - spas - shops

These pavilions have hot springs and pools

I am guessing the palms trees are 
enclosed in water

Builds are heated by hot water from the springs

Lots of interesting shopping

Town museum

Pavilion with 3 springs

This herbal liquor 
is produced here

Outside springs

Karl Marx spent 3 years here

Recently restored church

Lots of beautiful berries

Covid tests right in this hotel

Wherever we travel - 
kids love English shirts - 
they do not know what they say

Popular tubular doughnut

Springs pavilion

Vendors sell little cups for drinking 
hot spring water

This is the first spring -
over 700 years old

No cars allowed on main streets

Artesian spring - 160 degrees.


Karl Marx - our hotel

Olympic Palace - our hotel - five star