Monday, November 23, 2009

Day #15: Prague

Frans wrote:

18 Nov '09: After having breakfast at the hotel, squeezing our car out off the mini garage and saying goodbye to the snotty receptionist we left Vienna as early as we could en route to Prague in the Chech Republic via the walled city of Cesky Krumlov.

The trip was pretty uneventful until we passed the Chech border and we saw our first 'ladies of leasure' standing beside the road at a service station trying to pick up some customers... 'You've got to be joking, love', I thought... 'don't you think 3 in one car isn't enough already?!' when I saw her raise her thumb...

We came to Cesky Krumlov in the afternoon and I must admit that I was not looking forward to it, I thought I had seen enough walled cities for a while after spending 2 full days on the cobblestones of Brugge but this place was different enough to be interesting again.....besides the cobblestones that is.....


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What it also made it special was our lunch in a cafe that was best described by Evonka as a dungeon. Obviously it wasn't such a thing but it had been an Inn in medieval times and the atmosphere they had created there was very different and pleasant indeed.



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It was there that I came across a few old antique items that we couldn't place and from that the idea was borne we should have a trivia posting on our blog so my next post will be just that. We'll give you a few riddles to solve that we had a few troubles with ourselves and which we usually solved by saying : We'll Google it tonight'. .... After all, we did have long stretches of driving and we did have to occupy ourselves somehow in between ogling the local girls standing beside the roads trying to make a quid?



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From the day that we landed Evonka wanted to kick her feet through a pile of fallen autumn leaves. When we returned to the car where the leaves had blown into thick piles we just had to that...



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After Cesky Krumlov we proceeded to Praque and as the Chech republic is not considered part of Western Europe our faithfull TomTom had stopped her guidance at the border so we were relying once more on the inferior Mercedes Benz guidance system which was, of course, by the way of yet another female voice....

.......This reminds me of a bit of an incidence when we returned from Hungary back into Austria and the TomTom suddenly sprang to life again when we passed the border. We travelled along some diversion in the road and both navigation systems immediately sprang to life and started to give directions to get us back on the correct route, 'That's it' I cried, '5 of you are simply too much for one man to handle' and proceeded to switch at least one of them off to great hilarity of the other three women in the car.....

...but I digress... The Mercedes Benz system got us close to our Hotel in Prague but like she had done in Budapest, we were just not close enough to spot our Hotel by naked eye. Maxine got out and peeked around the corner and sure enough our hotel was just there. It goes to show that the TomTom system is just that little bit better...... I love my TomTom in case you hadn't noticed?

We stayed at the Ceasars Palace hotel in Prague on Evonka's recommendation and although it was much better then our previous hotel, please don't draw any comparisons with the famous namesake hotel in Las Vegas because it has a long way to go before catching up with that particular piece of opulance...

Our receptionist was yet again a snotty little so and so who obviously didn't like me from the very start and I've got no problem stating that the feeling was entirely mutual. If she was the face of Prague to welcome desperately needed tourists and their cash to the Chech economy I think that Count Dracula would have done better job....who knows, perhaps it was just simple jealousy that she wasn't invited to my tribe.....

As soon as we had settled into our rooms I happened to wander past Yvonne's and Karen's room and couldn't help notice how these two had managed to make such a mess there in the space of about 5 minutes after arriving. The place looked like a bomb had gone off and I just had to put that into a picture as I don't think our folks at home would believe it!

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We wandered that same night into the town and we followed Evonka's directions which scared me to death. She reminded me then very much of my mother when her finger was raised and started to describe circles in thin air with the only difference that Yvonne was, at least as far as I could tell, stone cold sober.... It wasn't long before that famous question was uttered again: 'Frans, I think we are here, what do you reckon?'..... God, ...... give ...... me .........strength!....

I must admit that once we found the market square Evonka knew exactly where the famous Prague astronomical clock was but that was no great surprise either considering there was a group of about 150 people looking at it, .....you know...it was a bit hard to miss....

By that time I was thirsty, tired, cranky and longing for a place to sit down. Fortunately the whole square was just about surrounded by heated terraces so I was looking forward sinking down in one of those comfortable chairs, have a beer and let the warmth of the gas heater soak into me. To my utter chagrin I saw the Ladies dissapear in front of me into a Cafe and there I lost it. Here was this beautiful place with all those inviting terraces in the nice open fresh air and they were going to sit in a stuffy old cafe breathing recycled air?! I threw a wobbly, muttered under my breath what I thought of them and took my place amongst the other fellow tourists at the terrace.

A lady beside me had noticed my frustration and gave me a pitying smile... 'would you like to take me home with you', I asked hopefully, 'I can cook, wash, clean and I'll even do your laundry but save me from this trio?'... she just smiled and shook her head, so much for my pursuaviness....

The trio of Ladies appeared at my table quite soon after that again and all was immediately forgiven, take my advice, you just don't hold a grudge very long with 3 women with who you still have to share a few thousand kilometers with.....

After soaking my bones in the heat, quenching my thirst with a beer and filling my stomach with some food we noticed that they were setting up a jazz band in the cafe the girls had wandered in before so we decided to soak up some music and went inside. The jazz band kept us entertained for a while and besides giving them the customary tip we also presented them with one of our koalas because we did appreciate their efforts......see if you can spot our award on this picture....

The following day we went back into town and saw quite some Prague attractions again but this time we did it on foot. Prague is a beautiful city but also very busy with traffic and lots of people and considering we were there in the 'off season' I would hate to think what the city would be like when it is summer....certainly not a place I would like to be in then...

I took that afternoon off from walking through the city to work on our blog in the hotel whilst the ladies went....you guessed it... shopping! I'm still looking for that email from Karen when she stated before we left Australia that she wasn't all that interested in shopping, Boy! Can this lady tell fibs!!

In the evening we seperated for the first time in our trip together. Maxine and I went on a short guided tour of Prague followed by a dinner cruise over the river. Our experience is that a guided tour is so much more informative where you learn a lot more from a particular place then carrying out your own tour and try to interpret what you see on the way, lonely planet in one hand and a map in the other, and this time was no different.


Our guide was in his day job a teacher of English and Chech who earned a bit of extra money at night acting as a local guide. He took us through part of the city in a taxi and told us some of its history on the way. This guided tour only lasted for about 45 minutes but we did appreciate it very much.

On completion of our tour we were dropped off at one of the river boat cruisers which took us up and down the river someways and gave us another perspective on the city of Prague all together. The cruise came with a buffet dinner and live music and was very enjoyable indeed esspecially as it took us through the river's locks which particularly for me was quite interesting.

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When we arrived back in the hotel, Yvonne and Karen had already gone to bed with a couple of whiskeys in them so we snuck into our own room as quiet as mouses.....

The next day we checked out after a pretty good breakfast and for once we were a bit later then usual... in hindsight those whiskeys Karen and Evonka had the night before might have had something to do with that......

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