We arrived in Prague a little tired and grumpy – two and a half days travelling takes its toll! We didn’t like having to skim through so much country without a break, but it was the price we had to pay for having taken the side trip to Croatia. We hadn’t booked accommodation in Prague, deciding to make use of the tourist accommodation services instead. As it turned out, we didn’t get that far. We were met off the train by a number of people ‘encouraging’ visitors to stay at their hotel/hostel. After speaking to a couple, we decided on a hotel right on the edge of the old town, a little more expensive than we had planned, but an excellent location, and the breakfasts… oh, the breakfasts – they kept us going all day – you have never seen so much food!
After checking in we decided to get our bearings and go for a stroll through the old town. The first port of call, as always, was somewhere selling a map. Prague was crowded with tourists – like every other place we have been so far, the price for travelling in the summer peak period. However the winding streets and beautiful architecture were still interesting. We found a lovely restaurant for tea, and collapsed in our room at about 10.30pm.
We decided to get a relatively early start and try to see something of the old town before the crowds decended at about 10am (which appears to be the magic time for tourists, particularly day trippers on coaches). At 11 am we joined a walking tour we decided to do. We found the brochure in our hotel, and the walks sounded really interesting. We chose a 3 hour walk that took in the main features of the old town. They advertised that they took only small groups, and we were pleased to discover that this was accurate. Our group had only 8 people in it: ourselves, plus two other Australians (Shaun from Sydney, and a Perth girl who had been working in Melbourne, managing a chain of Witchery stores), and four English tourists (three students and an elderly woman ‘addicted to travel’). Our guide, George, was really interesting and a lot of fun. It turned out that his English teacher had been an Australian man, who was also a musician and had played in a band which was a side project of Rob Hirst, a member of Midnight Oil. As a result, George had become a huge Midnight Oil fan, and had attended their last ever concert! We got along really well together, and most of us ended up having a very late lunch together.
When Jan and I left the group, we made our way to the train station to book our tickets to Krakow in Poland. This done, we did some last minute shopping (I allowed myself a wooden marionnette puppet of a bird) then had tea (I had a lovely grilled whole trout – and managed to remember how to eat it without getting any bones, thanks to my training at Lucindale Area School, which has an aquaculture department!).
On our last morning, I rose early to try to get some photos of the Charles Bridge and the old town without any tourists in it. Of course, at least another 30 tourists had the same idea, and I didn’t quite manage as many photos as I would have liked. Our train didn’t leave until 11am so we had a leisurely breakfast (did I mention how good those breakfasts were?) then stopped at the post ffice on the way to try to send a package of things I had bought to my mum and dad. Unfortunately their computer system was having problems, so I still have the parcel with me – will try to send it tomorrow from Krakow!