Trip Start Nov 06, 2012
Trip End Dec 21, 2012

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Hlavní město Praha,
Thursday, December 6, 2012

Day 27 - Tuesday 4 December

Today we were leaving Deutschland and heading for the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague. After breakfast the tour group piled into the coach and we stopped by the East Side Gallery on our way out of Berlin. As we'd already seen this earlier on our first day in Berlin, we were able to just take in the artwork once more and take some photos for our tour mates standing infront of the wall.

Heading south, we continued through Germany, stopping for 90 minutes in Dresden for lunch. Here we were able to grab a bratwurst for lunch while taking in the sights of this historic town. Bombed heavily in WW2 due to being a pivotal railroad transport hub and its manufacturing capabilities for the German army, the majority of the city was flattened and huge number of civilian lives lost in the process. A highlight was seeing the rebuilt cathedral which was constructed from the rubble of the previously destroyed cathedral. The original stone blocks are distinguishable from the new material by its visibly darker and weathered appearance.

Through the snow and mist, we made our way to Prague, arriving in the spooky twilight at 4pm. After checking in to our hotel, we got ready to watch a game of ice hockey, featuring HC Slavia Praha versus a visitng Czech regional team. The skill of the players maneuvering on the ice was a amazing to watch as they whisked the puck from one end of the arena to another. The game was quite rough too, with lots of bumping opposition players into the perimeter barriers of the arena! Slavia Praha won on a penalty shoot out after the game went into extra time with the score tied at 2-2.

Day 28 - Wednesday 5 December

This morning we had a great breakfast in the hotel before getting on the bus to go to our three hour walking tour with a local Czech guide, Sharka. Under her guidance, we toured the Hradcany Castle, the former Palace of Bohemian kings, and now home to the Czech president. We also saw St Vitis Cathedral, which dates back to 1344. Next we walked down through the old town, past the John Lennon wall, and onto the Charles Bridge and into the old town square, learning lots of Prague's old and more recent history along the way. Charles Bridge was a highlight, the 600 year old bridge lined with 26 statues. As tradition, we rubbed the statue of St John Nepomuk for good luck!

To rest our weary legs after the walking tour, we had a lunch river cruise on the Vltava river, which gave us excellent views of the city, and lunch consisted of traditional Czech dishes including goulash with bread dumplings.

After cruise we had free time for 2 hours. Lauren went shopping with some girls from the tour and Ash went exploring the city with Wenley, a new friend from the tour. Together they wandered up Wenceslas Sqaure up to the Communism Museum, and back towards the town centre via the back streets, which provided a good cross section look at Prague. At 4.30, we all met up at the old town square to catch the bus back to the hotel to get ready for a traditional Czech evening meal which consisted of a potato and mushroom soup, chicken and pork skewer and a ginger dessert.

Post dinner activities included a tour of some bars in Prague, finishing off at the five story club, Karlovy Lazny. A great fun night amongst plenty of dancing (which stretched Ash's limited abilities!), drinks (including the local drink Absinthe), and euro doof doof music. We successfully tried negotiated a taxi ride home using Prague's haggling system for fixed price fares, reducing the fare from 400 crown to 300 crown, which was advised to us as the fair amount for trips back to the hotel by our tour guide, Lucian.

Day 29 - Thursday 6 December

Today we had a free day, so we enjoyed a sleep in and met our friends down in the hotel lobby for breakfast at 9.30 am. Together we walked across the river into the old town square, which took around 35 minutes. Here we looked around the christmas markets then went to the Bohemia crystal store for a browse at the crystal which the Czech Republic is renowned for. To warm up, we grabbed a coffee before Lauren walked back to the hotel with the girls to freshen up before our traditional Czech evening, while Ash went exploring Prague solo in the freezing temperatures.

Meeting back with everyone in the old town square at 630, we headed for a traditional czech meal which consisted of duck, pork, chicken and another type of meat, along with two types of dumplings. The night also included a dancing performance and a game where the objective was to suck as much water up into a glass bulb as possible, and then to fill four glasses. A good fun night.

After dinner we headed out to Bed Bar, which as the name suggests is a bar fitted out with beds to lounge out on. A cosmopolitan cocktail later and we were ready for bed, after catching the metro back to our hotel.
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