[A U.S. colleague who read about our trip to Prague was interested in visiting there. In the meantime, the buildup before Desert Storm had begun.
The trip we took to Prague was one of a kind – some people from the Heidelberg site who had been there before got a bus and arranged hotel reservations. Iíve looked into other possibilities:
In the past, the military community has had a flock of weekend (even one day) trips to many places, including Prague (the "combat shoppers" were there just for the day). I checked yesterday at the Frankfurt U.S. Army base (you donít have to be in the military to go on the trips) and although they had brochures with frequent;y schedule trips, they said that lately there had been so little interest they didnít think any of them were still going. I donít know if itís because of fear or that there are so few people left around, although I would imagine the former, since it was mostly wives that filled the buses.
If you know when youíre coming, I could check on what may be available at that time. The price with two overnights is about $250. The advantage to this route is that they speak English. The disadvantage is if someone might be targeting Americans.
The other main alternative is a German-organized trip. I picked up some brochures from the Kaufhauf travel agency (Iím sure you remember the big department store – everybodyís into travel agencies here). German tours still seem to be going strong, with bus and even plane trips there, although not necessarily every weekend.
They said they probably need to know at least 3 weeks in advance (Germans are big on advance vacation planning). Prices for 2-3 nights start at about $300, including single room supplement. The main disadvantage is that everything will be in German, although you should have no problem finding a fellow tourist who would translate the important things.
Itís also possible to get a train on relatively short notice, but the hotel part may be a problem. Itís hard to say for sure, since Czechoslovakia is going through a transition – it was still the case when we went that you were supposed to go through the official Czech travel agency to find a room, although Frommer claimed that you could go directly to hotels, and with a $5 bill visible ask to see a room.
Also, a colleague has the name of the person whose home he stayed in, who said the next time to contact him directly and he'd give him a much better price. Evidently not much of the amount paid to the travel agency trickles down, so itís possible that something could be arranged that way.
[I heard nothing further from him about this, so I guess it sounded too discouraging.]