Part 7 - Berlin, Dresden and Prague

Trip Start Dec 10, 2005
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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Wong & Gem's European Vacation - Diary Update 7

Day 150 -Thursday 13th July 2006 - Berlin
We were going to leave Berlin today but Gem is sick again with a stomach virus so needed to rest. Wayne spent the day stocking up Misty with all the food and drink and getting prepared to hit the road again. Tonight it was still boiling hot and a big thunderstorm hit and finally cooled things down a little. We said goodbye to Christina and Holger again tonight as Christina will be leaving by train again tomorrow to go to Wurzburg and Holger goes to work early !!

Day 151 -Friday 14th July 2006 - Berlin to Dresden
After a lovely sleep in we got ready and headed back to the Donar Kebab man for our last great kebab for a while!!! Of course he knew our order by heart so we only have to step into his little shop and we are waited on hand and foot!! Then we took off on the autobahn again for the 3 hour drive to Dresden. Our special German book gave us a choice of about 3 parking spots for Misty and we chose one as we thought it looked the closest to the city... well we were right, we are only a couple of streets away from the Old town and all the famous spots !! We joined a couple of other motor homes and asked them where we had to pay. When we came back we got talking to the neighbors, one was from Holland and the other ones German. The people from Holland were laughing as they thought that Wayne looked French and said that they got a surprise when he spoke English!! They could not believe we were from Australia and had bought our own mobile home!! I kept paying Wayne out about looking French as years ago I used to tell him that he looked like a French slime bag when he didn't shave and had a moustache!! We spent ages talking with the neighbors and playing with their dogs (we miss Ruphus so much!!). Then we headed off to town to find the tourist information. We found out that we had actually arrived on the first day of a massive week of celebrations (what a surprise we usually arrive when everything is finished!!) and festivals to celebrate Dresden's 800th Birthday.... Gemeah nearly cried as she also found out that she missed the open air Robbie Williams's concert by 2 days!!! Well Dresden is amazing and stunning!! It is divided into the old town and the new town. The old town is comparable to Edinburgh in that it is so old and so beautiful that it just makes a huge impression on you. We wanted to do a walking tour but found out that they had been cancelled as it was too hot for the guides (pussies it is only about 28 degrees... they don't know what hot is!!). So we bought a walking tour map ourselves and got started!! What an awesome night... the atmosphere in this place is amazing... it is like a medieval town as between all the ancient buildings they have all old style markets with everyone dressed up in peasant gear serving food, wine and beer and every other type of yummy food that you can imagine ..We had a plate of barbequed mushrooms in cream and garlic sauces for dinner... Yum!! The festival was set out all over the city and had everything... there was a big German boy band concert, a rock concert, a jazz festival, a symphony orchestra out the front of the opera house, and a couple of DJ dance parties going on the other side of the Elbe river !! We walked around talking it all in, watching all the fire works displays and did not get home until about 1 in the morning and we only came home as our feet were sore!!!

Day 152 -Saturday 14th July 2006 - Dresden
Another jammed packed day.... When we finally got going as we did not wake up until about 10.30. We spent the day finishing the other part of our walking tour and went and explored the new town area. Well it was quite different, not so many old beautiful buildings and a lot more alternate freaky looking people here !! It was interesting watching people and looking in some of the bizarre shops. We went to the Japanese Palace and the Jewish Cemetery which was a bit spooky looking and then to Pfund's Molkerei which is supposed to be "the most beautiful dairy store in the world"... It has an impressive interior which is all mosaic and marbled and is apparently in the Guinness Book of Records for its beautiful entry. They serve glasses of milk and I almost gagged as Wayne got me a glass of buttermilk and it was like drinking sour cream... Wayne got yelled at for taking a picture (as they want you to buy a postcard) so he got even more defiant and took a whole heap more without them noticing!!! We then walked back along the Elbe River taking in more of the sights and festivities including the German police display with all their toys like helicopters that kept taking off and tanks and heaps of old bombs and things. We had a great lunch of spit roasted lamb and potatoes in the old town that was served by a bare chested man in a loin cloth and lots of leather straps!! After about 5 hours of walking we had a little break and went back to Misty for a little rest before hitting the town again tonight. This afternoon we got on the bikes and we decided to head off to find a place to play our new Swedish Viking game - Kubb. Well just behind where we are staying is the Botanical gardens and they were stunning... we rode up a massively long driveway to a Palace in the middle of the gardens and there was the most wonderful sound of a choir singing inside... we stopped on the steps and listened to them for a while and admired the palace and the amazing lake and fountain that was at the front of it. We then rode around the gardens and came across many more stunning areas and it was great to see everyone out bike riding, roller blading and using the park and making the most of the great weather while they have it !!. We then stopped and played Kubb until about 9.30 at night...well I must say even though Wayne has a mongy eye he is pretty good at throwing sticks to knock over the kubbs !! He kicked my butt !! People were coming over and watching us play and Wayne and I were laughing as every now and then I would develop a mongy arm throw a completely in the wrong direction and nowhere near the kubbs !! We then hopped back on our bikes and came across the Deutsches Hygiene Museum which was absolutely huge... hmmm only the Germans would have a museum dedicated to hygiene!!! We popped home with the intent of cooking some dinner and heading back into town as we could hear all the concerts going on but then we got talking to our neighbors from the Nederland's, Gerrit and Thea, and playing with their golden retriever Max (who is also scared of fireworks and Gerrit and Max were staying up to make sure he did not have a heart attack when they went off) and next thing you know it it is one o'clock in the morning and there has been a lot of alcohol consumed and it's time for bed (Max was lucky there was no fire works tonight, just one car backfired and he took off and hid under the car!) There were also many jokes about how bad Wayne's French was for a French man.

Day 153 -Sunday 15th July 2006 -
This morning we said goodbye to our new Dutch friends as they were leaving to go to Berlin (they thought it was very funny that Australian's could tell them all the places to see in Berlin). Wayne went to check a few emails in town while I packed up Misty so that we could hit the road to Prague. Next minute a new motor home pulls up beside us and I heard a couple get out and go and ask the other motor homers if they speak English... they didn't so I popped my head out and said G'day and the lady almost started crying because I spoke English. Their names were Rita and Jim from Canada and they had been in Europe for 6 months and were dying to talk to someone who's first language was English. They have been coming over for 4 years and spend 6 months at home and 6 months in Europe. Well we talked for ages and swapped stories about all the troubles we had both had with registering our motor homes and getting insurance in England... they had had even more problems then us and they had British passports as well as they were both born there but had grown up in Canada !! We talked for ages and then Wayne came back and decided to head off. Rita and Jim were sad as they really wanted to talk. But we only got a couple of kilometers down the road when we realized that we had forgotten that it was time for Wayne to get his eye checked out again by a doctor... so we decided to head back as we would probably find it easier to find an English speaking doctor in Germany over the Chez Republic. We popped back to the parking spot and found our spot had already been taken and there we lots of jokes from the other campers about how short our trip was to Prague!! We spent the rest of the day relaxing as Wayne also has became a bit fluish and trying to locate a doctor for tomorrow. Tonight we went into the city again and sat on a statue from the 18th Century out the front of the amazing Opera house and watched a free performance by MESSIAH which was performed by a bunch of singers and a huge Orchestra... it was amazing and the atmosphere was awesome. We then popped back to Misty and spent the night talking with Rita and Jim and also managed to swap a whole heap of novels which was great because we are desperate for some more books!!

Day 154 -Monday 16th July 2006 - Dresden to Prague
This morning was spent riding around Dresden trying to find a doctor to look at Wayne's eye. After about the 5th attempt he found one that could speak English and the secretary was amazed that he was Australian and sent him in before all the other patients who had been waiting !! What service.... She told Wayne that Australia was her dream desitnation.... Well the doctor was even funnier... Chinese with a British accent called Mr Woong (very appropriate for Wayne Wong) and he was so excited to speak English and because Wayne was his first ever Australian patient... he spent the first 10 minutes talking to Wayne about how the Italian's had cheated the Australian's in the football... then after he had checked his eye he said he would only charge 10 euro instead of the usual 50 euro... he was very kind and offered to check his eye again in a month !!! Then we took off to Prague and went along the back roads and through some very gorgeous small German towns and crossed into the Chez Republic. We had to buy a sticker to use the road ways and it costs 9 euro for a year... which is cheap but we are only going to be here a week or so... then through border patrol and we got told to wait on the side of the road while they checked all the other cars etc... we had to wait for 30 minutes (all the time wondering if they were going to let us in)... then a big burly police man comes up and says O.K thank you and gives us our passports back and we drove on.... Well we have no GPS mapping for Czech so we had to do it all ourselves and we did find our way no problems until we hit Prague... it was much bigger than we thought and we took a couple of wrong turns and we eventually found a petrol station to buy a map (although we could not find a bank so we had to use our VISA for a really tiny amount like $4). We located the spot to find the camp site and found it no problem... the entire street was lined with houses that have turned their big back yards into camping sites and it was packed... we only found one camping place that had one spot and then we got squashed in between 2 other motor homes with just enough room to open our doors!! We are parked next to some German's (2 gay guys who think we can speak German because I sad thank you in German and then they keep talking to us in full on German and don't realize we can't understand them as they are drunk all the time !!) and some Swedish people on the other side who are nice. This place is really funny it is full of all types of people including some ferrals who are smoking pot and drinking copius amounts of beer... it feels like a hippie commune as there are just tents and campervans everywhere in no particular order !! We were rather exhausted so we crashed after having some dinner... the drive took a lot longer than we expected... about 6 hours.

Day 155 -Tuesday 17th July 2006 - Prague
O.K we are parked under an apple tree which is good for the shade (as it is so bloody hot) but all night we had apples dropping onto the roof and rolling down the front of Misty !! Wayne has woken up sicker and grumpier (Men can't handle the flu!). We found some other young Aussies this morning and got talking for ages and are going to compare notes tonight. We then headed into town on the tram which only took about 7 minutes and then we hit the crowds!! They say to avoid Prague at this time of year as it is unbelievably busy and it was ... people everywhere!! The tourist information here just sucks and they all look so depressed to have a job!! We spent about five hours walking around the streets and crossed the famous Charles Bridge that has about 30 beautiful statues on it and lots of little stalls selling paintings etc... the we wound our way through the streets and up to the Prague Castle which was huge and beautiful... we spent the rest of the day exploring that and then headed back down to explore some more streets and the city. Wayne was getting even sicker and it was stinking hot so we headed back home early before he died from the flu and heat exhaustion!! After having some cold showers to cool off we relaxed for a while and then tonight we caught up with Jarred and Lisa who are from Perth. Weird coincidence... Jarred is also a clinical psych so we had lots to talk about as they have been working in London for 12 months and traveling around now they have finished. We had a late night drinking red wine and exchanging must see travel spots.

Day 156 -Wednesday 18th July 2006 - Prague
O.K today was hot... too hot... we decided not to head to town as it was just too hot to be in the sun. We spent the day trying to make some more detailed plans of where we are going to be in the next 6 months all the time dipping into to have cold showers and pouring water over ourselves. Lisa and Jarred came back from town and they had broken out in a heat rash!! So we popped open some beers and we shared a bottle of Verve (really expensive Champagne) with them... We spent the night talking and once it had cooled down a bit we headed off into town and found a great spot for dinner and had a great time exchanging more travel stories and just enjoying the company of other Aussies !!

Day 157 -Thursday 19th July 2006 - Prague
Today we got up early and said goodbye to Jarred and Lisa and then headed into town to see more sites. We found the main square and checked out the giant astrological clock on the town hall. There were huge crowds waiting for it to chime at midday so we waited thinking it must be really good ... but to our amazement it was really lame... we expected all the bells and whistles and it was just a few dings and 12 men going around in a circle!! This part of town is really beautiful though but the prices are crazy as they just rip off the tourists... everything is about 4 times more expensive than just a few streets away. We found the 1.5 hour bus tour that we wanted to do that would take us to all the major sites... well the only problem was that we paid good money for it and our audio head sets would not work... we picked the only 2 seats on the bus that this happened and the bus driver was a grumpy old bastard who could not speak much English (even the other tourists passengers were saying that he must have forgotten to take his happy pills !!) and we told him 3 times the problem but he just gave up... so we saw the sights but had no idea what they were and we did not want to complain on the tour and wreck it for the other people. But when we hopped off we asked for our money back at the ticket office and they were really rude and would not give it until Wayne started to get really angry and demanded it back... Don't mess with the Wong man when he is hot!! We are a little bit over Prague and the attitude of the people in town as they are all really rude and unhelpful and just out to try and rip off the tourists... even the other people in the camp ground have found this. You think that they would be happy to have tourists as this is what is keeping them in jobs!! The only good thing is that the people who run the camp group are absolutely beautiful and would do anything for you ... so we know they are not all grumpy bastards!! We also got ripped off at lunch ... they give you bread which you don't ask for and you think it is free as in other European counties it is and then they charge you a crazy price for it !! So we are actually looking forward to leaving this big city tomorrow!!
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