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CZECH REPUBLIC | Thursday, 12 June 2008 | Views [753]

I can't believe it - but we've finally left Teen Ranch.  It feels like a life time since we arrived and believe it or not; it is now totally stuck in my head as home!  So homesick for the place - I even miss Steel's *quote* 'stupid face' *end quote*.  Daft I know, but Scotland is well and truely my home away from home.  It's the Scottish blood again! 

Anywayz - won't rave about how much TR gets under your skin (What is going on there?  Are the campers having fun?  Is the sun still out? What's the lastest practical joke getting pulled on CFairy?  How about my beloved horses - is Arrow being a spaz?  Pligrim causing trouble?  Will I ever get TR out of my head??????  >o<)

So.  Europe tour with Oak Hall.  We've traveled from Otford, England through the EuroTunnel into France (all by coach as that is our mode of transport), then onto Bruges, Belgium. 

Our first night camping involved rain, mist and more rain; but thankfully our tent stayed dry!  Day Two:  We tour Bruges, which constisted of a 366 step hike up the Bruges Belfry, a lingering wander through the chocolate museum (oh - soooo much drooling...), lots of stunning hand-crafted lace, a supereb hot chocolate and Belgium waffle (For 3.45 Euro?  Yes please!) and a stroll back to camp - past the picturesque windmills whilst singing "Joy to the World" or "Jeramiah was a Bullfrog" on the top of our lungs. *lol*  - good times...  Singing randomly in public is definately on the top of my cool things to do - how many random looks can you get when belting out "In the Jungle" while driving through Dundee in the middle of the day?  Answer: A lot!  (Yes, that was a Scotland/Ginger&Steel escapade randomly thrown in!)

Our tour group consists of around 21 older-young people strong (Emi's the youngest there, with around three 20 yr olds, two 22 yr and all the rest olderish.  Boys out numbered 3 to 18 as per usual!)  Everyone is really friendly so even the hours long bus rides go really quickly.

Speaking of which - there is certainly a lot of that!  We drove from Belgium to Koblenz, a town in the Rhine Valley, Germany.  It was absolutely stunning - the sun was out, high lighing our million dollar view.  We were at the edge of the Rhine and Mosel Rivers - across from Fortress Ehingvebkawefnj (ok - can't remeber how to spell it; -.-  Will find out later!) and the German Point.  Our million dollar view did have a million dollar problem as we found out later: noise pollution of the trains racing past all night, but it was still a gorgeous camping spot.

We strolled to the German Point that night - it took us about three hours, but the sight of the setting sun in a haze of purple and pink over the rippling black slate roofs of the Koblenz city was delightful.  The Euro Cup (Soccer/Footy) was on that night - Germany vs. Some one; so that made for a lot of 'joyful noise' alright!

The next day saw our tour group crusing down the Rhine at a leisurely pace on our steam boat.  Tiny villages perched percariously on the edge of the Rhine - the lush forrest tumbled down from the hills, cascading around the castles and fortress anchored above the valley.  We made our way to Boppard and rode the chair lift up the side of a hill/mountain thing to view a large section of the River/valley.  It looked like someone had quilted the hillside and sprinkled houses and jetties on the edge of the water.  After Boppard we headed back to Koblenz to visit the Fortress-with-the-unpronouncable-name - another chair lift up and wow.  It was very impressive and the view.... Well, it took my breath away. 

A few of us sat at the caf`e for a while and enjoyed the company before Em-J and I decided to take a brief stroll through the grounds.  The walls where sheer rock faces with small dark tunnels in the base. It was rather a maze and I can see how well it'd do the job of a stronghold for soliders.  The position was entirely defensable at the top of a clift face, carved into solid rock.  It was lovely.  After that we headed back to town and wandered around a wee bit - not much more happened but it was awesome. 

    11 hours on the coach the next day and we where finally in our next stop - Beroun, Czech Republic so that we could visit Prague.  We checked into our 4 star hotel (YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!) and sat down to a three-course dinner.  Oh!  To be civilized again...  So nice.  And that's an under-statment.  (I really don't like camping; but that's another story for another time.)

We had a whirlwind tour of Prague the next day (which is actually today!0.o) - five hours of walking and our tour guide took us through ALL of the city in zones (or Prague 1 and 2) 1 & 2.  It was fabulous; but so dis-orientating - I really felt kinda dizzy after all the running around!  We did get to see such a lot though - the Prague Castle, the Old Market Square, the university which stands empty, the old monastry at the top of the hills, Charle's Bridge which is apparently the oldest bridge in Europe and was undergoing serious re-constructive work, the red mentronone which stands for "Nothing lasts forever" as it is still up on the hillside where Stalin's statue used to sit(!!), the Astronomical Clock, the Old Town Hall buildings and many other sights wonderful and various to behold. 

After the tour Em-J and I spent an hour and a half in the post office - note; stupidist system we've expiranced and we've been in a LOT of post offices over the last four months!  (It'll be like Christmas when we get home - a great big pile of parcels that we've sent home sitting on our bedroom floor! ._.)  It was nice to sit down though!

So - now it's late; I've enjoyed my PilsnerUrquell Czech/South African beer(yay! Beer!), so I'll finish off with my thought of the cities.

Bruges - neat, angular - flat planes that compliment the quiet tidiness of the place.

Koblenz/Boppard - surprising scenery hidden in every corner; quiet gracefulness of mature beauty - like a fine old wine or beer! A tucked away expirance that draws you in to find more, to explore around that corner, to climb that hill top - to keep going further up and on.

Prague - a tumble of scenic views and stairs; parts of it lonely and wistful, watching the world flow by.  Other parts busy and bustling; being the world that flows by.  A watching city - statues, buildings, windows, people - watching and living.

That is the summary of our last five days - sorry it's so long.  But to make things worse I have already snapped over 800 photos - >.< I guess this is a very 'seeing/doing' trip!  Our great adventure certainly is that.  Must go to bed now, gotta get up early and pack. :p,  b.      

Tags: coaches, craziness, europe, goodbyes, homesick, oak hall, teen ranch, tour

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