Over the next few days, I will be traveling throughout Czech visiting the most popular IVF clinics and hearing all about their latest advances and technologies on the horizon. We’ll be talking about own egg IVF treatments, ICSI, PICSI, IMSI (for any male factor fertility issues), as well as donor egg IVF and donor embryo / embryo donation options. I am expecting some interesting news related to PGD or PGS including the latest in Embryoscope embryo monitoring and the latest array CGH genetic testing of embryos that is available. I think I’ll also have some news about about frozen donor eggs. I’ll try to keep a blog diary of sorts to highlight places and resources along the way.
First, let me just say that Prague is glorious in the Fall! My first trip to Prague several years ago was also in October, and it is simply beautiful to see the leaves changing colors! It’s pretty beautiful in spring, summer and winter too – each season holds its own unique beauty here.
For the first part of my trip, I connected from Los Angeles through Amsterdam (as opposed to Paris, Franfurt or through JFK to Prague). I should probably confess that I love cheese. Really, really love cheese – maybe even more than chocolate. And the Amsterdam airport has shops dedicated to both delicacies! Several shops were full of all imaginable kinds of Belgian chocolates. But, the cheese shop is simply amazing. Literally hundreds of cheeses lining the wall. I was coveting some premium aged gouda (2+ years old) – and even went back twice to contemplate it over again, but with no refrigeration and 9 days ahead of me, I decided against buying a big wedge of golden goodness. Next time I will plan to come home through Amsterdam!
It is a quick 90 minute flight from Amsterdam to Prague – and truly things just could not have been easier. I was off of the plane, gatherered my luggage and was out the door to greet my private car service (through my beloved Martin of Prague Transfers) in less than half an hour. The Prague airport has to be one of the easiest airports to manage. Oh, and after exiting customs into the main arrival hall, I stopped at the ATM to grab some cash, and found that there are now 5 or 6 ATM machines – including a Citibank one that I used today. Why bring cash to exchange when ATMs are so easy?
Anyway, the Prague Transfers car service was great and offered a scenic drive from the airport to downtown Prague and deposited me at my hotel door.
The Elite Hotel is another tried and true favorite of mine – a historic building that is charming and cozy boutique hotel that has been updated without losing its historic feel. Check out a few photos I pulled from their Website.
The reception staff is friendly and helpful and they always have English speaking staff available.
After a quick check in, and catching up on a few emails in my room, I headed out to the Tesco down the street to pick up some fruit and bon aqua water. FYI – the blue label bottle is the non-sparking version, the green label is sparking. Here, if you want sparking water – ask for it “with gas” or non-sparking “no gas”. I also drooled over some great looking pastries, but I know I’ll have plenty of those this week as part of the breakfasts included at all of the hotels, so I passed on that.
For dinner, I went the lazy route and ate in the Thai/Mexican/Continental/Czech restaurant that is next door/attached to the hotel. Now, normally I don’t go to restaurants that can’t decide what kind of cuisine they want to serve, but in this case, I had the Thai chicken coconut soup and phad thai chicken and both were quite good. Honestly, if I had realized how much soup I would get, I probably would have skipped the phad thai – that soup was good, and less than 100CZK (about $5).
Tomorrow the big tour of clinics begins. Stay tuned for more details.