Prague 'le fricken WOW!

Trip Start May 10, 2009
1
7
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Trip End Jul 02, 2009


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Where I stayed

Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Friday, May 15, 2009

Went through security at Heathrow this morning - they are paranoid f***wits. Not only do they have the metal detector setting on max (the only airport I've ever been through that's picked on the chain around my neck), but they also insist that things like tissues in pockets must go through the detector. Obviously the bloke never showed much future at school and he is now stuck doing airport security and wants to take it out on the rest of the world.

Flew British Airways to Prague - I must say if this flight is anything to go by, people flying throughout Europe show no respect at all to the cabin staff, and are just plain rude, and the cabin crew for the most of it just put up with it.

As soon as I left passport control in Prague Airport, I was immediately barraged by people offering my 500Kr taxi rides to Prague. The first thing that sprung into my head was that Prague is known for having dodgy taxi drivers so I declined and headed for the bus. The bus ticket itself was only 30Kr, and I did annoy the driver a little cos the smallest thing I had was a 500Kr note. Later on when shopping for breakfast at a supermarket around the corner from my hostel, I found out that a ticket on the metro system here in Prague is cheaper than a 2L Coke!

The bus linked up to the Metro B line at a shopping centre on the outskirts of Prague - there was a lot of vaguely familiar stuff around like signs for KFC and Tesco's (lol to an Aussie saying "Tesco" is familiar). Also saw a petrol station where they had boom gates to stop people from driving off without paying.

The Prague Metro system is excellent - nothing compares to London, but these trains get some serious speed happening between stations, so the overall journey for distance is faster.

Checked into the hostel - best word to describe it is "spartan". It's a room inside an apartment block (where there are 3 other rooms) and the apartment block is in a building that is uncannily like the kind you might see in a cold war movie. Which reminds me, while I was bagging the Generator (London)'s showers on Monday, for the rest of the time they were great, must've just been the ones on the ground floor. About the only thing that I'm currently missing about the Generator is that tonight was a Bikini Party at the onsite night-club!

So, Prague: Well the city itself has many beautiful sights, if you can see past the years (and in the case of the Charles Bridge - centuries) of grime that covers everything. Not that you can notice at night which is where everything really shines.

Went for a walk around the place, found the Dancing Houses were only like 100m down the road from where I am. Parts of the Charles Bridge are undergoing repair at the moment, but it was great to walk across it. A lot of people were gathering at this one statue and rubbing a plague beneath it... ahh superstition certainly lives on here.

The more I wandered around the more I realised that something was going on - PA gear set up on the bridge, police manning road blocks, so rather than make my way off to the Krizik's Fountain like I'd planned, I hung around - tried some Pekar (at least that's what I think they're called); biscuit things with seeds and spices.

Then things got a little more interesting; I tried asking a couple of people what the crowds were all about, and the best I could get was a lady who translated through her son that it's the 200 year anniversary of some guy who is a local Prague hero. So how does Prague celebrate? In style, and in a way that is probably only comparable to the Millennium party at Sydney in 2000.

Bring on the clerical procession across the Charles bridge, bring on the national orchestra & choir on a floating pontoon on the river, bring on 10's of thousands of people lining the bridge and the banks surrounding them, bring on the laser light show, and finally - fireworks, all with the backdrop of the Prague skyline behind.

That was seriously impressive and a once in a lifetime chance happenstance. Prague rox!!
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