Prague Sightseeing

Trip Start Aug 07, 2006
Trip End Aug 18, 2006

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Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Today is our main sightseeing day for Prague where yesterday we got our beaings and went round out of tourist area spots today is for Charles Bridge and the castle.

We went on to the metro up the street from our hostel to get to the train station faster. (Yomping with the backpacks didn't quite appeal after our 20 mile walk yesterday)

We then left the backpacks in lockers at the station (there's an underground bit on the ground floor on the left, careful with the pigeons overhead!)..

Onto Charles Bridge as it was early - recommended if you want photos without all the tourists. That said, by the time we doddled about Old Town Square and took a zillion photos of the Astronomical Clock and Tyn Church it was coming up to midday.. so we weaved our way through the mass while admiring the statues either side. Which reminds me of the scene in the film XXX where Vin Diesel takes out the rocket under the bridge..

We wandered to the right when we crossed the bridge, down little cobble streets until we found the ideal location for food - at this stage we are starving! Glamour Cafe situated right on the river, beautiful and peaceful set slightly below the bridge tucked away. The inside was modern, clearly a classy bar at night, and we sat outside watching the tourists on the bridge whilst eatting what was to be the best food we had in the entire trip!

We headed up the long walk to Prague Castle, not finding the trams starting point, though also not realising how much of a trek it is! Up the 287 steps in the tower of the Castle, clambering clumsily up and up, round and round an endless spiral of triangular stone steps. I am clinging to the walls for dear life at this moment. Two queues of people, one on the inside trying to move upwards, and one on the outside trying to get back down with barely enough room for one peron let alone 2 passing! To fall now would certainly be painful! Climbing like the perverbial spiderwoman I am not, eventually we make it to the top, sweating profusely and utterly knackered!

Such a glorious view soon makes up for the effort. A 360 view all around Prague, and a brilliant opportunity for an overhead shot of Charles Bridge.

After spending the rest of early evening admiring the views in the Cathedral and about the Cathedral Quarters we made our way down the old steps leading down from the hill and stop to buy some souvenirs. We stop at a restaurant at the coner of Old Town Square for food before heading back to the train station. I have forgotten it's name, but the beer was as expensive as back home, we are paying for the view..

A mad dash to the station once we have noticed the time. Some confusion followed of where the train was and where it was leaving from.. the platform was changing.. who knows! After a time of running about with the backpacks we finally boarded.. the wrong end. We never had been on a sleeper train so we had not a clue. Some time was spent running and jumping off and onto the train before we could find a conductor to point us in the right direction.

We saw the seated carriages on our way, seeing that these people had choosen the cheapest tickets, and they would remain bolt upright for the next 9 hours through the night.. we are lucky, we have a couchette.

Upon locating our couchette we realise there is nothing 'cushy' about them, but we were on our way to another country to explore, so frankly, I don't care. There's a whole other world outside the bubble we live in, and with every rung of the train track it engrains how luck we are with what we have. I often thing most of us walk around with our eyes closed most of the time.

I had realised how blessed I was before when in South Africa, and I can still recall the smell of the townships 'houses' and tin shacks. Hypothetically, the door is ajar and I can recollect this smell if I so wish to remember. This door can open in my quiet times, but it can never be fully closed. Just like my eyes can only ever be widened now to mass poverty and it's effects. As I write this now, I wonder what smells Auschwitz will bring.. and do I really want to inhale such dark sinister reminders of times past?

This question in itself is wasteful. My reasoning for going to Krakow is for the purpose of learning to gain knowledge from those in our past, and knowledge is power after all. Thise who do not learn from the past are sure to live through it again.
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