Subject: Re: Prague
Dear Shawn,

Prague is the Paris of eastern Europe at 1/3 the price. A beautiful, fabulous city.

Here is a great place to stay and some wonderful, inexpensive restaurants. Elena

The normal cab ride from the airport into Prague is 600 Czech crowns (just under $18), if you can get a taxi driver to agree to that price. To avoid having to deal with these rip-off artists an enterprising company has started a shuttle service. Cedaz Airport service has white vans able to carry about eight passengers and their luggage. In the city they leave from Republic Square, and at the airport they wait outside the international terminal arrivals area. To go and come from these two locations is 90 crowns (less than $3). They leave from the square every half hour from 5:30 am to 9:30 pm. They will also take a group of one to four persons to any address in the city center for 360 crowns (about $10), outside city center 720 crowns (about $22). To be picked up at a specific location you must call at least two hours before you want to depart to airport. Their phone number is (4202)2011-4296 or 2428-1005. Fax (4202)2011-4286.

It is extremely easy to get around the city by both subway and electric streetcar. Tickets can be bought at traffica booths and most newspaper kiosks. A 15-minute ride is 8 crowns; an hour's ride is 12 crowns. You must remember to time-stamp your ticket when you first get on the tram and before going down to the subway. All subway stations have ticket machines also, with instructions in English. You will need a 10-crown coin for the 8-crown ticket and a 20-crown coin for the 12-crown ticket. You will get change. Public transportation, especially the subway, is efficient and cheap. A one-day pass is less than $1, five days a little over $2. Buy one-day passes in the metro stations, at newsstands and tobacco shops.

The only reliable taxi co. is AAA (phone:3311-3311), an ultra-reliable cab company a Prague rarity, with English-speaking dispatchers and the lowest rates in town. About 320 crowns, $15 to airport.

Hotel Axa, Na Porici 40, 113 03 Prague 1, tel. 4202/232-0603; fax 4202/242-14489. A lovely hotel with comfortable rooms just up from Republic Square, city center. A very good buy. Single from $42 - $76; double from $82 - $106, price depending on season. Breakfast included. Profile: http://www.vol.cz/AXA/ E-mail: AXApraha (take away the space after the Apartment rented by the Sklenars, Vsehrdova 7/440, 11800 Prague 1, phone 011-4202-534-744; e-mail: vladimir.sklenar (take away the space after the Contact Katie Sklenarova. Large, airy, modern, private apartment in 16th century monastery in old city, a block from the river and a lovely park. Up one flight of stairs. I especially appreciated the heated towel racks in the modern bathroom and the English books in the bookcase. They speak English and are very friendly and helpful. Single about $20, double about $30. Katie is also a wonderful guide around Prague or into the countryside. She knows great nontouristy places; $8 an hour plus about $4 a day for gas. Katie offers airport transfers for about $13.

Apartment rented by Dr.Stania Weigova, Na Porici 8, 1100 00 Prague 1, phone/fax 011-4202-232-3203. Has apartments in her building (up 2 flights of stairs) as well as other buildings with elevator, from Single $22 - $30, double $27 - $35; all located in old city. She is located in Republic Square. Stania is also a wonderful guide ($8 an hour), a former journalist, knows the history of Prague and country very well and can solve just about any problem you may have during your stay. Also offers airport transfers for about $15. TIPPING: Tips are not included in the bill. The general rule is leave money up to the next number that is a 5 or 0, if bill is 450 crowns or more leave from 5% to 10%.

You will notice before each item on a menu they give the weight of the selection in grams, i.e. 100 gm, etc. I found 100 to 150 gm. A nice size filling portion. Anything under 100 gm can be considered a first course, and 200 gm or over was too much food unless you weigh over 200 lbs

Petrinske Terasy, Seminarske Zahrada 13, Praha 1, phone: 900-00457. Reservations recommended. A small intimate restaurant with a large terrace outside to enjoy a drink, overlooking all of Prague. During the summer they will have music concerts on Friday and Saturday nights. Menu is written in a humorous manner and in English. Try Petrin's gardener's medallions. Two juicy chicken breasts, each covered with a slice of apple topped with sour cream. Dinner portions are very generous. Their dessert specialty is a half banana floating in a vanilla sauce smothered in whipped cream with chocolate dribbled on it, a perfect ending to a perfect dinner. A meal for two including wine and dessert about $19, with the check being delivered in a silver, antique, covered souffle dish, into which you put your money (no cards) and replace the cover. It's the Ujezd (pronounced oo-yezd) stop on tram lines 12, 22 and 23. Follow signs up the stairs to the funicula, which you take to the first stop. Restaurant off to the right. It's a nice walk down the hillside after dinner or lunch. Open daily from 11 am to 10 pm.

Rybarsky Club, U Sovovych Mlyou 1, phone 530223, but you don't need reservations. It is private club for fisherman right on the Vltava River. The public is welcome to enjoy the restaurant. Nicest to eat on the little terrace in back overlooking the river. Food is very good and entrees are around $3.50 to $5. Their grilled sword fish was particularly flavorful. Ujezd tram stop on lines 12, 22, 23, then walk towards the river down Ricni street. At the end (the river) turn right into the park and restaurant is yellow building on your right about 10 feet or so into park.

Restaurant Canto, on Besedni Square. From Ujezd stop (trams 12, 22, 23) walk down Ricni, sign points to restaurant in corner of Square. Another small, romantic restaurant with candlelight and good food. Two people can enjoy a meal for about $10.

Yoco's, Belohorska 49. Tiny restaurant with about 6 tables, friendly service, great food with two people eating well for about $13. The owner, Peter, Stania's husband, suggested I try one of their specialties: Mira Chicken, ham, cheese, red peppers and spinach rolled up in a chicken breast. They only use the freshest products and indeed I enjoyed the meal very much. Trams 8 (from Republic Sq. heading across the river, or 22 from Malostranska Sq., about 15 minutes out from city center. Off at Marijanka (pronounced mariyanka), the stop after you see large Pyramid Hotel on right. Restaurant on the left side of street about a block up (walking same way as tram going). Or you can get off at Drinopol (next stop) and walk back a block. (A good place to eat before or after visiting Brevnov Monastery).

U Karpu, Zatecki 7, In the heart of the old Jewish quarter just off the Old Town Square. Candlelight on plaid table cloths, a charming patio for summer dining and the perfect place to eat before going to either the puppet theater or the Black Image theater. Food very good and most of the entrees are around $4.50. Try their potato pancake with mixed meat covered with melted cheese.

Pod Kridlem, corner of Narodni trida on Vorsilska St. next to British consulate. Phone 2491-2377. A friend and I fell into this place as we needed to have dinner before seeing an opera at the National Theater, a block away. It turned out to be a first class place with formal waiters. In contrast the wording of the menu makes for very funny reading, but the service, presentation and taste of the food all elegant, top-notch and in English. The boar meat was especially tender and delectable. Open every day 11:30 to midnight. Entrees from $4.50 to $7.00. (Trams 22 or 23 or B-line subway, stop: Narodni trida).

Elena