Prague Walking Tour.

Trip Start Mar 22, 2010
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Trip End Jun 10, 2010


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Flag of Czech Republic  , Hlavní Mesto Praha,
Saturday, June 5, 2010



Woke up to another glorious day. Rach was starting to stress a bit about all the stuff we had and was going through multiple ‘therapeutic organisations’ which seemed to be adding to her stress. So I suggested we leave that for Sunday afternoon and spend today checking out Prague. We had picked up a few brochures at the reception office decided to find a group who did day walking tours of the city as a fairly easy way to catch all the sights of Prague in our limited time frame. We could then spend Sunday morning having a look at what we were interested in and then come back to clean out the van.

Rach actually quite liked the idea, so we got the bikes organised and headed off into the city. We had a detailed map of the city, but not so of the outer city. We were about 10km by road from the city, but only 5 km as the crow flies. Prague has a river which snakes through it, which means finding the bridges that cross it. We found the first bridge, which crossed into a park and took a turn into the park. So many people out for the day, and rollerblading classes (sickens me how they make that look so easy….). Then al of a sudden the path through the park headed up hill quite steeply, making it a real lung buster on my bike. Made it to the top, caught a few good lung fulls of air and headed for the road where we saw what looked like a bikie parade. Not wanting to show up the boys on their Harley’s, we headed a different direction, snaking our way through the streets of suburban Prague before finding another park. We were now on my map, the trouble with the maps is they don’t show the topography. We thought we just had to cross the park and we would be at the next bridge. Nooo. Crossing the park brought us to the edge of a cliff with spectacular views of the city, but not a particularly bike friendly way down. After taking in the sights, we carried our bikes down the stairs and made our way across the bridge into the city looking for somewhere to park and head out on foot. Well, finding somewhere to park our bikes was easier said than done. There were crowds of people everywhere, and plenty of people on bikes, but nowhere to park them. We eventually found a small street with a lamppost and locked our bikes to the lamp post. It was literally a 3 minute walk to the Astronomical clock and we arrived just in time to see the midday show. We booked into our walking tour and with an hour or so the kill, we went looking for somewhere to have some lunch.

Finding a small pub in a side street not too far from the square, we sat down, ordered some beers and a cold cuts platter. The beers went down a treat and when the cold cuts arrived, it was huge, full of cold meats, cheeses and pickles, although Rach did mistaken the butter for some funny type of cheese. With full bellies, we made our back to the Astronomical Clock and our tour at 1pm.  Our tour guide was a Ukrainian student who had been living in Prague for 5 years. He looked a bit like a Chuppa Chup, his head was just too big for his body, but he was a nice guy. We introduced ourselves to the rest of the group, a New Zealander, an middle aged American guy and two young American guys who both seemed more consumed by their hang over. After introductions, we were taken by van up to Prague Castle.

Prague Castle is supposed to be the largest castle complex in the world, and its fairly impressive, but by this stage of our European odyssey, we are a bit castled out. Our tour guide is trying to explain all the wondrous things about the castle, the president lives there, the Bohemian royal jewels are housed there, lots of churches and religious sights, flying buttresses everywhere, oh and thousands of people. Admittedly it was a Saturday afternoon and there seemed to be something to do with Women’s Day (not the magazine) as there were people everywhere in pink. Anyway, was good to have a look around. As we headed back down the hill, our guide pointed out a few bits and pieces, such as the where Kafka wrote (seems everything has a Kafka reference to it), while our American ‘friends’ were feeling very sick and sorry for themselves. The ‘Piss’ sculpture was an interesting aside as we made our way towards Charles Bridge. Two animatronic figures, pissing into a pond in the shape of the Czech Republic. What do you think he is saying??? Another amusing aside on the walk to Charles Bridge was the traffic lights on a walk way. Apparently the walkway was so narrow, two people could not pass, so they installed traffic signals to advise pedestrians when its ‘safe’ to walk to passageway.

To Charles Bridge, supposedly at over 650 years old, the jewel of Prague……well, it’s a bit like the Astronomical clock. Clever in its day and quirky now, but you’re among hoards of people and left wondering what that was all about. Its nice to look at from afar, but it seemed every available piece of space was taken up by someone trying to sell you something. After the bridge, we made our way to the old Jewish quarter, which was interesting for the radical change in style, but the story was very similar to other Jewish areas in other European cities, the Jews were kept in a walled off section and not permitted to move (this is well before the Nazi’s). The result is a concentration of Jewish architecture and of course, more Kafka sights. Our hungover American friends had had enough by this time and just left (doing nothing to alter the stereotype of Americans). The rest of us pushed on thru the old town to the Palladium and Municipal House before winding up back at the Astronomical Clock. It had been quite a warm afternoon and I think we had all had enough by the time we finished. We bid our farewells and went searching for a beer and a toilet. Fortunately we found both down near the river in a little alley way. Both were heavenly as we relaxed and unwound. The afternoon reminded us why we don’t go on organised tours, but it did serve the purpose of giving us a quick overview of Prague.

One other benefit of the day was we had a better idea of how to get back to the camp ground without having negotiate cliff top parks again. Apart from having to dodge some traffic and trams, the trip home was quite good, half the time and so much flatter. The campground was such a welcome sight. We were hot and buggered and pretty much made a line straight for the tavern and some more cold Czech beers. WE had pretty much decided tomorrow would be a trip to the Sex Machines museum (sounds novel in a smutty kind of way) and finish up with some lunch and beers at one of the microbreweries before heading back to ‘pack’ the van for the trip back to Dresden. Can’t believe tomorrow is the last full day we will have with the Hans Bubi.
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