Travel: it's not all beer and skittles

Trip Start Dec 15, 2013
Trip End Jan 13, 2013

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Hlavní město Praha,
Thursday, January 2, 2014

Don't get me wrong; it's the journey not the destination that's the important thing. Well so those blasted know-it-alls say. Maybe it's the getting up in the dark and cold to catch a metro train, followed by a bus to the airport - but I'm getting ahead of myself. Firstly, when we are a awakened at 5.30, we find that we have a bill from the minibar which we didn't use. Off we go to sort that out, then to find that a city tax that I paid last night has mysteriously grown. Bloody tax - they raise it whilst you sleep but what can you do? Pay up that's what you do.

Off to the metro; I place my money in the machine and press the correct button and it charges me double! Oops, can't argue with a machine. Can't argue with the receptionist at the Hilton speaking Czech either. Exit the main station at Prague to catch the AE bus for the airport - can't find the right exit. We eventually do after asking a couple of workers only to find that the real exit is now under reconstruction. We do the traveller quick shuffle for an exit about 800 mtrs to see our bus just take off. We try to flag him down, but like a good matador he simply evades and drives on. At least we know this is the bus stop and the next bus is in half an hour. No sweat, Sherree has factored in an allowable error time. We wait outside this bus stop which looks like the end of the world - detritus everywhere and Sherree is not speaking and giving me the look(you are a cheapskate and this would not have happened if you had hired one of those gleaming Mercedes taxis outside the Hilton). yes I'm a cheapskate, What can I say?

Sherree isn't speaking; the look could freeze me into a statue but she doesn't have to as the Prague predawn is doing its work quite nicely thank you. Eventually she asks the question: what will we do if another doesn't come? I don't answer; the predawn silence is deafening! well luckily there is plenty of traffic and the bus comes; divorce is luckily avoided.

We make it to the airport in plenty of time to at first find a lineup almost as long as tickets for a Michael Bublee concert. Air France is confirming my lowest thoughts of their customer service, but a couple of clerks come from eating their morning crossaints and the line moves much more fluently. Sherree goes off to get a tax return only to find out that she needs to go to Paris to get it. Oops I don't want the job type of expression which is quite unfortunate really as the French are much more refined at hiding their tax return office. All we'll get there is the Gallic shrug only after locating the office cleverly hidden behind a giant Louis Vuitton bag. But Sherree will ferret out the office like a Beagle looking for a Truffle

Now I'm sitting in an airport cafe where they serve you shit and charge you for the experience, but travel broadens the mind even if it shrinks your wallet exponentially. Perhaps Einstein or Newton could have created a law which would have covered this. If not I'll state the obvious: travel the world and have the world charge you for every possible convenience and at every stop there is some poor person trying to eke out an existence so they can go home at night and watch the telly.

Last night we went out for dinner at a restaurant I had spied on our travels into the city which was a walk of about a kilometre. The restaurant was called the Imperial hotel and I can thoroughly recommend it if just for the look inside. It was an Art Deco interior with the walls and ceilings totally tiled with various mosaics adorning the walls. The food was also reasonably priced and as it was our last night I had a bit of a party consuming 2 slivovichs and a beer. Sherree was worried that I would walk home with a wobbly boot but it was all under control.

It's now official Sherree is convinced I'm a grump - on the plane. The air hostess, whom I might add was very pretty, has just asked me if I would like a drink. Trying to blend in, I ask for a lemonade in my best French. Straight away she replies in English that she has no lemonade and I end up with an Indian Tonic water- yuk. By now you have worked out that I am a two week traveller and I have passed my use by date but I did have a pleasant half hour nap, so it's not all bad. Sherree is very happy to be returning to her beloved France. When I croak, I'm sure she will find a French Count or rich playboy to while away the days in Provence, if not a beautiful little village to spend the twilight years harvesting flowers and lavender and contacting her friends on Facebook. That's you Leonie, Belinda, Julie and Jo.
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