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Czech This Out

CZECH REPUBLIC | Thursday, 25 July 2013 | Views [273]

After the wedding Matthew and I took the train from Frankfurt to Prague, via Dresden. The first part was all German efficiency - high tech train, on time; everything you would expect. Then we transferred onto, what we assume, was the Czech system. Older train, airconditioning - sometimes, maybe. We were in one of the old style trains with little compartments and we shared with four young Swedish students. They spoke excelllent English and one had a little German, and apparently all sang in the same choir. About half an hour (if that) into the trip the train stopped. Then forward a little, then stopped again. The German speaking boy went to see what was happening and came back and said that the only word he recognized was "Kaput". Eventually we got into Prague an hour late.

We then had our first experience of "Tourist Tax" - that is, the ability of taxi drivers all over the world to make a small trip into a really larger one using the science of concentric circles and spirals. At the end of our time in Prague we were able to walk the three blocks or so back to the station!

Prague is an extraordinarily beautiful city. We were also within walking distance of the Old Town and we spent plenty of time there - watchng the Astronomical Clock, just sitting watching the passing parade and so on. Matthew particulaly loved it and spend most days just walking. By the time we left he had found all the shortcuts. In the meantime we "enjoyed" getting lost in all the cobbled side streets. On the second last day we decided to do the HOP-ON-HOP-OFF Bus Tour. (Since then we refer to them as the Ho-Ho Buses).  We didnt realize there were different companies, so the one we chose had a "Free walking tour between  Point 1 and 2". In other words we had to walk from the ticket office at top speed to where we picked up the bus - almost back at our hotel. The bus had a little covered area (which was all full) and so we had to sit out in the blazing sun (35 degrees) and the commentary was a recorded "casual" conversation between two people that said things like "Did you know that this tower was built in 1529?" "Yes, I read that. I also read that it is the largest one in the world." " Is that so?" Very natural!

That night we did the evening dinner cruise on the river. The dinner itself was pretty ordinary, but the scenery was wonderful and when the lights came on and all the old buildings were illuminated it was magical. We didnt want to leave.

The last day was Matthew's birthday aad we walked down to the Charles Bridge, which is a pedestrian bridge lined with statues. All along the bridge were artists and crafts-people selling their wares, and various performers, particularly traditional musicians. Afterwards we went to the Ice Bar where everything is made of Ice. You have to wear big thick thermo ponchos and gloves and can only stay in there a limited time. Drinks are served in glasses made of ice. A fun birthday treat!

That evening Matthew flew on to Paris for a few days before heading to London, and I braved the trains again to travel to Venice (via Munich and Saltzburg!) to get onto my cruise boat. Onwards. Onwards!









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