Trip Start Apr 28, 2010
Trip End Jul 08, 2010

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Where I stayed
Golden Tulip - Hotel Terminus

Flag of Czech Republic  , Hlavní Mesto Praha,
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More about eating in Europe - in Slovakia, Poland and CZ the menus usually print the precise amounts of ingredients you'll get - eg, you'll get 200 g steak in your goulash etc. It also extends to drinks - how many cl of scotch, how many cl of wine - so often you can order 10 cl of wine or 25 cl of wine by the glass. Cl being the measure in place of ml. Pretty neat idea. No ambiguity about expectations. There's a lot more salt in food here we think.

Everyone in Europe is in training for the World Smoking Championships. There's an EU ruling which mandates that all pregnant women must smoke, and mums in the car with the kiddies must smoke with the windows up. Every country, there's been smoking in restaurants, hotel lobbies, lifts, shopping centres, you name it. Some businesses specify no smoking but that's individual choice. The generosity of the European public in sharing their used smoke with us at breakfast has been touching.

Most hotels allow pets (dogs of course unless you're weird and take your cat on holiday). Dogs generally are allowed in pubs, shopping centres, banks etc. There was a dog at breakfast this morning in our hotel in Prague. The same in the UK in many places. It doesn't seem to cause a problem. We haven't experienced witnessing a pooch laying a barker's egg in a public eatery but we assume it must be planned for.

It seems to be VERY uncommon for hotels, motels or penzions to provide double beds in double rooms. The default is 2 single beds. Sometimes pushed together, sometimes several metres apart with a loudhailer for communication. This has been the case ever since we hit Spain, and in every country since, except CZ which might have been a fluke. Some receptions will ask you if you vant vun big bed or you vant two small beds, but usually you'll get the singles. Maybe European couples are just bluntly honest and don't pretend to still like each other, even on holiday - that way they can carry on the silent seething resentments which are such a joy of married life and ignore each other just like at home...we've been able to get changes, but several times we've had blank looks and a short silence, as the young person at the desk can't imagine why anyone over 30 has legitimate reason for physical contact with other living beings. Senile death germs might get transmitted...was that a barely suppressed shudder or is she just feeling a bit chilly? Weird.

Hotels can be really good for the money. We've paid less than penzion prices for great places. The tent sites and caravan park cabins just don't cut it for VFM, of course with a family in tow it would be different. Generally the gold/stainless steel/glossy lobby flashy hotels have been the least fab to stay in and the older elegant ones are often much more welcoming and you don't have to wear your shades inside and suck your cheeks in. We've had a couple of all show no go experiences but we've enjoyed most of our accomadation choices.

We thought Polish roads were very special until we hit the Czech Republic. We've worked out how road repairs are handled. First, a pothole or sunken area of decrepit old cobbles is allowed to mature for a decade or so into a truly lethal hazard. Once the requisite minimum of casualties have been recorded, the road crew go out with jackhammers and smash the tripe out of the surrounding bitumen for a 20 metre radius. The road's then half blocked off for a few weeks in the hope of some cataclysmic flooding. Eventually two or three trucks back up and tips loads of old housebricks and masonry into the chasm until it's either 200 mm below or above the road surface. Then the bitumen artists splatter a thin layer over the top, and any remaining hot mix is sprayed over all cars parked nearby. The final creative touch is to put the junior member of the crew into the truck and let him rip into some circle work around the repair, ensuring some deep grooves at 30 degrees to the curb are well placed to snap the front wheel of your motorcycle into a highly amusing tankslapper. It's good to see the Polish and CZ road authorities have a graduate exchange program in place to ensure product consistency across borders.

Czech traffic is noticeably calmer than we've experienced in every other country to date. We've genuinely not been able to fathom the speed limits in other countries because they are so absolutely ignored. As soon as we crossed the border from Poland, the traffic cooled down. You could tell when a Polish or German car was approaching in CZ because it was right up the clacker of the car in front. The cops were more focused on traffic in Prague than elsewhere we've seen. We've always felt that Euro drivers are skilled and aware, but we felt more at ease in CZ on the A and B roads and the towns. The motorways are still very fast mind.

Prague is a very very lovely place. It's the birthplace of art nouveau and Alphonse Mucha is credited with starting the movement in 1895. His stuff is everywhere. Of course it made a big comeback from the mid 60s for a few years when it heavily influenced rock culture poster art, album covers etc. There's a big art nouveau jewellery market in Prague as well. As well as Bohemian art glass. We did find, just like with Krakow, it's good to get out of the Old Town and check out the rest of the city or the relentless tourist focus gets wearing.
Franz Kafka is another local hero. Lots of ironic T shirts on sale.

Being in Bohemia, there's lots of blokes of all ages with floppy Oscar Wilde haircuts reading in the cafes. And smoking. Actually it's a very arty city. It would be great to be here for a while just to experience some of the many live music choices on offer. The big rock acts come through as well as more obscure and classical stuff. There's a lot of local music and theatre. Dave would have loved to attend a performance of Verdi's Requiem at the Opera House (yes, really) but the timing is out by a few days.

Anyway we loved Prague. As usual, we didn't really get more than a taste of it in the time we were there.
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mum on

Good to get today's entry hot off the press. Prague at least in its historical area looks beautiful. Some of the pictures remind us of Austria and Switzerland. We had a laugh at the bread roll and enjoyed seeing your brick added to the 'building.' How reassuring to know that your bikes were under security through the night and day. You both look well. Continue to enjoy everything. All's well here Dad has Diocesan Council meeting tomorrow in Murray Bridge. I have nearly finished Jaala's third picture. She seems very happy with what I am doing. This picture is of purple tulips.Lots of love, Mum.

Jaala on

miss you both very much. so does fang. your wine arrived this week.. wish id realised what it was before i went to pick it up and parked miles away! they let me borrow a trolley to get it to the car...

Jaala on

hang on... you dont actually sleep in the SAME BED do you??!!

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