Czeching out the capital

Trip Start Apr 13, 2010
Trip End Sep 11, 2010

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Hlavní Mesto Praha,
Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The rest of our morning in Cesky Krumlov was okay. We just walked around the old town and explored the castle and its gardens. The drive to Prague was easy and after how many months on the road, we actually arrived at our destination in daylight and at a reasonable hour.

Due to having Penny with us we are continually having to find hostels that are car friendly. Luckily we found the Boatshed. While it's 8km out of the centre, there was a tram line an easy 5 mins walk from the hostel. With trams arriving every 15 mins the trip in to the centre was painless.  The hostel itself was great... apart from the morning sun which pierced the curtainless windows.

After unloading the car and beautifying ourselves, Chris, Graham and I trekked in to Prague's centre.  We found ourselves at the beer factory for dinner... yes we did eat there too.  Basically, you sit at a table and you're provided with your own beer tap, well four of them from which you can poor your own beer.  There is a trade off however; there is only one type of beer that comes out of the tap. If you want variety, go stand at the bar. 

This beer tap is pretty high tech. For one, it tallies the quantity of beer consumed and projects said tally onto the wall along with every other tables' tally. It could get pretty dangerous if you decided to race one another.  Lucky the three of us are more responsible than that and took it easy as the night was still young.  The beer tap also calculates average times between pours and suggests when you should be pouring the next frosty ale. I think it could even brew a coffee if you played with it for long enough. The beer was accompanied by a great Argentinian steak, which was confirmed by my other two compatriots.

The rest of the night was spent around the main square; bar hopping, people watching, taking in the sights of the night life and getting offered "bump bump" or something along those lines (prostitutes).  After politely refusing bump bump for what seemed the one hundredth time we found ourselves on the tram and heading back to the hostel for a snooze

We ventured back to the town Centre the next morning (27/6) to explore Prague by day.  There was still a few hours to kill before our city tour started so we wandered the streets, soaked in the atmosphere and treated ourselves to some retail therapy. Chris ended up walking away with a new travel power adaptor while Graham and I provided support for the purchase decision.

The free walking tour we jumped on was great. After a tip off from Leah, who was touring with us on the road trip a few weeks ago, we've been seeking out these tours in every city we've been in. It's a brilliant way of learning about a city's/region's history in such a short amount of time. It's also a great way of gathering your bearings in a foreign city. While it's a "free tour" the guides work on a tips basis to cater for all budgets.  Being a cheap tour it mainly attracts the younger crowed which also leans towards having very animated and interesting guides.  Our tour guide didn't disappoint either.  He was a Canadian living in Prague and had been doing so for the past few years.

After the tour we were feeling a little dehydrated so we returned to an Aussie bar we discovered whilst on the tour.  The England vs Germany world cup match was on at the same time so the atmosphere was pretty good... even though England received an absolute toweling. Even so it was good to finally hear some commentary in English. 

The three of us were seeking an easy/cheap night, so we dropped in at the supermarket to grab some supplies to make pasta back at the hostel.  It was a good batch too. Later we just settled in with another world cup match, a few beers, caught up on emails and I gave my guitar a bit of a strum.

The tour agency that promoted the free walking tour also advertised for another free walking tour on the castle side of the river. So for our last day in Prague we ventured back into town and found the starting place, only to be told that the tour doesn't exist… go figure.   In the end we decided to take ourselves on our own walking tour.

We walked to the castle via the Charles (old bridge) where we purchased some tickets for a string quartet featuring an organ for later that day.   We needed to experience a little culture during our road trip.  The castle was big and expensive even for the self guided tour. Oh and to take photos, or grab an audio guide that's more money.  To walk the castle grounds is free however you can't get in to anything so we just grabbed a 3 building pass to at least see a little of the place.

After the castle we made our way back to the hostel for a quick change of costume so we could look respectable for the concert.  Enroute back to the tram line, a mobile beer van had set up camp and was offering free beer... yes free beer. Apart from parched Aussies making their way from the hostel to the city, the path is also utilised by locals that skate, blade, run and ride, so the mobile beer van had prime position for their intended market. Unfortunately we were running a tight schedule and needed to board the next tram so reluctantly we politely refused the offering and briskly continued on to the tram station.

In the end the concert was pretty good and for 9 euros each we couldn't really complain. It was held in a church adjacent to the Charles bridge and surprisingly the place was almost full.  The tickets though were far from the "reserved seats" we had apparently purchased. Sure we were seated within the front few rows however the ensemble had set up almost one third the way down the church. Oh well, it's nothing that a neck realignment can't fix.

The concert finished around 7pm and the night was still young. It was our last night in Prague so we couldn't let it go to waste. With the absence of any strong opposition amongst the three of us we decided to check out a pub crawl that was being run by the same people that run the walking tours.  We arrived at the rally point, grabbed our free t-shirt (probably the selling point), had a few beers and met some fellow travellers

There were a few people on the crawl, at least 50 which made for a good night, especially since it was a Monday.  So the night rolled on and 5 bars/clubs down and it was approaching 3am. To my surprise my two boys, Chris and Graham abandoned me at the last club and ninja'd back to the hostel whilst I continued socialising.

The clock soon struck 4am and I was in need of a bed, so out of the club I strolled and was confronted with the rising sun. I managed to hunt down a tram which spared me the remaining 7 kilometers I had intended to walk back to the hostel. So just shy of 5am I managed to stroll through the door and found Chris and Graham sleeping peacefully in the dorm.

So I'm pumped and primed after only a few hours sleep. Today we're off to check out Berlin.  It's going to be a long drive... good thing the German's love their autobahn :)
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