Varese to Prague

Trip Start Jul 09, 2011
Trip End Aug 11, 2011

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Saturday, July 23, 2011

Today we farewell  our travel mates, Narell and Alan who fly back to Perth via Singapore.  It has been great touring with them.  We have laughed a lot, dined, cooked and drunk together, got lost and managed to converse with the Belgians, French and Italians. 

We decided to overnight in Varese (north of Milan) so that our drive to the airport was not too pressured.  You can never anticipate traffic jams, accidents etc.  The drive from Montombraro is at best a 31/2 - 4 hour trips and as Varese is only about 45 klms from Malpensa airport it became the sensible option.  What bonus for us is the European base for Australian sporting and Olympic  teams competing in Europe including apparently those preparing for the Olympics in London in 2012.  We stayed in a beautiful old hotel, complete with its own chapel and performance room.  We had a brilliant night in Varese as Narell and Alan had been there before when Stephen played basketball for Biella in Italy.  We retraced their experiences at some of the bars and dined at an underground restaurant that served traditional cuisine.   After we ordered, Narell asked the waiter if she could have a plate of antipasto similar to that at another table.  The waiter explained that the smoked meat was horse meat.  Suffice to say that I didn't think this was a good idea.  Jeff, not sure if this is a possible option if our horse can’t run fast.  Might be some way off for Aussie diners and horse breeders!

Varese is a wonderful city and all you young readers should consider it as an option to Milan or Bologna.  As we left the city at around 10pm the town was buzzing with families and young people laughing and partying.  There was a line up at the gelato shop as families gathered to taste the best ice cream in the world and people gathered in bars and restaurants nibbling on the complementary nibbles provided by bars where you drink.  I hope we will return to Varese as our time there was too short. 

Up early to make our flights from Malpensa/Milan – the Blacks to Singapore/Perth and our 1 hour flight to Prague.  I guess you can anticipate which was easier.  We have been flying Easyjet as our internal flights in Europe and it certainly is the cheapest way to fly.  Despite the fact that there is no  seat allocation we have had the exit row and the front row.  We haven’t had to use any rough tactics to achieve this, in fact we have been well back in the line up when boarding the flights.  One more flight from Prague to Lyon so here’s hoping that we have equal success.

Our hotel in Prague is right on the river and in the Old Town which is the most amazing city in the world.  There are so many historical buildings it is overwhelming.  Our initial impression, other than the multitude of old, elaborate buildings is the number of money changers (as the Czech Republic has its own currency – Korona) and the plethora of places selling Beer. 

I had been suffering withdrawal from not getting any news and was relieved to see the CNN channel in our room in Varese.  After listening to the Norwegian tragedy and the Somalian disaster, I thought it may have been better not to have had the news.  It was at least uplifting to see Cadel Evans won the Tour de France, which is big over here, and the Wallabies beat South Africa. 

Thanks to Trish for taking Ben to the airport and having Harry.  Happy Birthday to Mark P, Mark and Tom O’Connor.  Pleased to read that our blogs have given Allison B the desire to save and travel when she finishes school.  I think travel is the best education you can have and broadens the mind through a whole range of experiences that you can’t get anywhere else.  There is no age limit (Mum, heaps of people here are older than you!).  There are also young people everywhere, they can drink more beer later at night that the rest of us!  Add it to your bucket list.  Love to all, D-M
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