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New, noisy and nummy in Prague

Fans of old mechanical objects -- planes, trains and automobiles -- know that prior to World War II the Czech's gave the Germans a real run for their money when it came to inventive and ingenious. Not that the Czechs aren't still smart, but they had a long period when ingenuity was not rewarded. During the Soviet occupation, ingenuity could get you killed. So it's nice to see some of the old Czech machinery being exhibited in a newly renovated museum in Prague.

Stern and functionalist in appearance, the National Technical Museum in Prague is actually a wondrous three-story transport hall, filled with antique vehicles. Reopened following a $20 million renovation, the museum is drawing in crowds with novelties like the oldest existing Bugati car and 16th-century instruments employed by famed Prague-based astronomer Tycho Brahe.

And speaking of Prague. The Czechs make wonderful beers, and they do pork, potatoes and cabbage as well as anybody, but the native cuisine can be a bit, ummm, monotone. When I'm traveling through here, I like to break out with something a bit spicy whenever possible, so it's nice to see a surge of new Indian restaurants opening recently.

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