Bohemia

Trip Start May 31, 2013
1
5
13
Trip End Jul 01, 2013


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Where I stayed

Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hearing a few days earlier that the Czech floods had begun to clear we had imagined a smooth journey to Prague, however about half way through our journey the train slowed to less than 40km ph and right next to the track were towns completely submerged under the water. Obviously neither of us had ever been this close to such large floods before and so at first it was quite exciting as it just looked like a large lake had been created where the rivers had overflown. After a while however we began to notice the peaks of house roofs sticking out above the water slightly and it was then we realised how devastating the floods had actually been for the country, especially as it continued for at least 50 miles.

We arrived in Prague a few hours later than expected and in a rush we jumped off the train only to then realise minutes later we were a few stops too early. Due to the floods the trams had stopped running meaning our hostel directions from where we had ended up were useless, the tourist information office had moved to the exact place we happened to be needing directions to, there was nowhere to get a map, it was absolutely boiling and after asking a few non-fluent English speakers for help the McDonald's worker we decided to go with turned out to be disabled and just giggled at us whilst saying "I don't know". Knackered, boiling and stressed we finally found a man who told us which bus we needed to get and we were on our way. A bus ride, tram ride and walk down the wrong street later (and still without a map) we finally found a sign advertising the hostel, Old Square Hostel. By the time we arrived it was coming up to half 9 and we had been travelling since 10 so of course our only priority was finding food. After failing to find the restaurant the Australians in our room recommended we decided to go with the one we had decided looked nice earlier when first searching for the hostel.

As we'd been travelling for the previous 11 hours and therefore barely spent anything all day, we thought we'd treat ourselves to a three courser, even got some cocktails involved. The food was absolutely delicious but as the Czech food is very stodgy we had no room for pudding, so full to the brim we rolled on back to the hostel.

The next morning we decided we wanted to do another free walking tour as so far we had found them to be really interesting and the guides enthusiastic, as they only get paid by tips and so need to impress. This time we had an Australian guide called Ashley, who had moved to Prague because his wife was Czech. The tour started with the astronomical clock which is apparently the 3rd most disappointing tourist attraction in Europe, however as I wasn't aware of it at all previously I wasn't too disappointed. You can certainly see why it would be a let down if you had travelled to Prague purely to see the clock strike though! 

 We were then led to a statue across the old square where we were told how Bohemia was created, the timeline of which being the main part of the tour. We were shown several places relevant to the journey from Bohemia to the Czech Republic as it is today, a lot of which was quite amusing largely due to the way our guide delivered the tour. After the tour Danny wanted to taste the tank beer we had learnt about, named so because it was delivered not in kegs or barrels but in a large bag which was kept in a tank. The gas doesn't push the beer out of the bag though, it enters into the tank and squeezes the bag so the gas never contacts the beer! Quite brilliant and gives a much more refreshing taste but in the Czech Republic they only make their pilsner this way, whereas if they'd used a nice beer like for example the blond beer in Brugge they would really be on to something amazing! We stumbled across the ticket office for the bar crawl on the way back to the square so went to buy some and were given a free beer inside. Having just had one not 5 minutes earlier, we decided against claiming the second one since Largey two lagers was getting a bit wobbly already!

We wanted to have a wander down the river but unfortunately because of the floods a lot of it had been closed off, so instead we went for tea this time managing to find the restaurant which had been recommended the previous night. We ordered a platter for two which had a little bit of everything, so basically lots of meat and lots of dumplings. The food was really tasty and it was at this point we both decided stodgy food is good food! On the way back to the hostel we had a wander around the market where we picked up a couple of nice souvenirs :)

The bar crawl began at 8 and the first bar was unlimited meaning far too much wine was consumed within the hour! I even managed to spill it in my eye... definitely a sign of the evening to come! There were a few stag do's on the crawl who we got chatting to, one from Germany and one which happened to be from Oldham. A few more bars later we were both successfully smashed and stumbled on back after a great night, stopping to take a very blurry photo of the astronomical tower en route.

The morning came as did our hangovers and after a minor panic/run back to the hostel over a lost gadget our 8 hour journey to Krakow began.
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