We got stopped at the border and had to produce a lot of identification: passports, my drivers license, car insurance, reciept for the rental car (proof it wasn't stolen), etc. The border guard spoke to me in a mix of German and English, which I found odd, but we've been finding increasingly common.
Driving through the countryside from the border to Prague, the first thing you notice are tons of markets selling pots and trinkets, then a lot of hookers with too much face makeup, many in their teens. Pretty sad.
The roads aren't like German roads, but we were expecting that.
I hit an Internet cafe once we parked in Prague and did some research on tipping, languages, etc. Everybody speaks Czech, most the newer generatoins speak English, and a fair number (especially older generations) speak either German or Russian.
When we put our car in a parking garage we had to give our key to the front desk because it's one of those places where they quadruple park everybody in and have to rescue your car later moving everybody elses cars around. The attendant told me:
"Put this in your car, and give your Schlüssel to the office."
Schlüssel is "key" in German.
Other random observations:
-- they're EU, but they don't use Euros. but most places (definitely not all!) will take Euros. sometimes giving change in Crowns, sometimes in Euros. I believe the exchange rate is fixed since their entry into the EU (but quick googling couldn't confirm), but nobody seems to know what the exchange rate is, and when you go to pay in Euros, everybody flusters and makes up a new number for the price, usually quite favorably from our perspective. I believe the exchange rate is 30 crowns (Kc) for 1 Euro. Which is like $0.76 dollars. Damn dollar.
-- unlike the Germans who nickel-and-dime you to death (timing how long you swim, parking meters everywhere, paying for bags at the grocery market, ....), most the parking we've seen around here is unmetered. Cool.
-- Stuff's pretty cheap, but not as cheap as it was 5 years ago or so we're guessing. 2 liter of coke is like 90 EU cents.
-- driving downtown is pretty scary.... the roads aren't really packed or anything, but the signage just kinda sucks or is non-existent. it's the same signs from Germany, but they just don't seem to have enough? I dunno. I just don't feel as comfortable driving around here.
So, we're probably gonna hop on a double-decker bus or something to see Prague, since we don't have the energy or motivation to go it alone today. This will be the first time we've done that, but since we can only stay in this hotel one night (everybody's booked tomorrow night), we'll do Prague quickly and head to Munich tonight.
Oh, and we're getting some pretty cheap massages at the hotel spa in a few hours. :-)
Aight, more later. Two more cities left after this: Munich, then Augsburg/Bobingen for Kevin's wedding.