Aha Praha! (B)

Trip Start Jun 22, 2010
Trip End Oct 15, 2010

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Hlavní Mesto Praha,
Monday, July 12, 2010


As much as we enjoyed Austria we couldn’t stay gazing at Austrian mountains for our whole trip. We needed to diversify our countries and find menus that featured more than twenty different varieties of sausage.

We decided to head to the Czech Republic, or more specifically Prague.

The trip (according to Gavin) was a fairly long 5 hours away. We set off before lunch.

After a couple of hours we decided on a lunch break in the walled town of Freistadt, a small town in an area called Muhlviertel which the Rough Guide described as “a place where few tourists venture” (its claim to fame being a castle museum that is apparently crap). We took a picnic and parked in the town square. There was not a soul. Apparently, no-one ventures to Freistadt. The only bit of excitement came when I drove the wrong way down a one way street. Not that it mattered as there were no other cars in the town either.

It was boiling hot. We were sick of driving. The Czech Republic was overrun with road works (and shirtless pot bellied road workers….). Once in the middle of Prague Gavin directed us to do a U-turn on a busy street. Dan obliged and we ended up doing a long loop the way we came. Tensions were high. Gavin then navigated us to the dead-end of an industrial estate. We then took the wrong turn onto a motorway and after another 45 mins made it back to the same street where the industrial estate was. This time we dismissed Gavin and used our trusty bible, Caravan Europe 2. We finally made it to Camping Dzban.

By then, all the supermarkets were closed. This was a shame as Dan had promised to make risotto. When we were packing the van in London we argued over whether to pack his leftover Arborio rice. I was on the Negative team, arguing that it was not really a food essential and who would bother spending the time making risotto. Dan assured me he was the kind of camper who liked to invest in risotto time. We packed it. I am still waiting for my risotto.

Instead we ended up at the Czech restaurant located near the campsite. It played Boney M’s Greatest Hits on loop. When we arrived it was playing “Marys Boy Child” which threw us a little. The Czechs clearly share the Austrian and German’s passion for meat. I had spare ribs with a small leaf of lettuce and one quarter of a tomato whilst Dan enjoyed steak with a fine Czech delicacy: cheap beer. After the third rendition of Ra-Ra-Rasputin it was time to depart back to the site.

The next day we set off for the city and in a quick 10 mins including a near squashing in the closing tram doors we made it to Prague Castle. Dan took over the role of tour guide. Most of his comments seemed to refer to the stone that stuff was made out of. I think he was trying to get good value from his geology degree. The cathedral was really gorgeous (both inside and out) and I made good use of my new camera.

After a stroll around the other areas of the castle and the palace gardens we made our way down towards the city centre. We crossed over the bridge near the Rudolfinum. There was an outdoor photography exhibition called Wild Wonders of Europe. Dan, budding wildlife photographer, was in his element. I was melting from the heat.

After that we roamed around town, had a quick snack and walked across the Charles Bridge. As we meandered towards Old Town Square and our timing was such that we got caught up in a throng of tourists about to see the Astronomical Clock strike the hour. It was relatively unimpressive apart from the guy at the top who pokes his head out and plays a trumpet at the end

We got back to the campsite quite late but it was still light and very hot. Dan decided to take a dip in the nearby lake. It looked a bit murky to me, so I opted for some shaded reading instead. Perhaps I would have a swim the next morning.

Later that night, Dan was itchy. I was not.

I did not go for that morning swim.

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