Trip Start Sep 14, 2012
Trip End Oct 15, 2012

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Where I stayed
Apartment at Hastalska 25, 2d floor
What I did
Clock Tower and Communism and Nuclear Bunker Tour

Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Saturday, September 22, 2012

Up 0640 for a shower, only Arjan stirring as I did some computer time re email and tinkering with the diary. It had started to rain while I was on the computer so the day's weather may be iffy. Will see what number of museums and attractions I do today. The idea of a little meander solo, camera in tow, has appeal too.

Suggested at 0900 would be going for some brekkie, the boys joining me at a local spot called Bakeshop. The cafe Americano was fine black, the small ham/cheese croissant and the large oatmeal cookie also hitting the spot.

Arjan's sense of direction failed him re the location of the booking office for the Underground Tour that he and Don wanted to go on but we found it after another meander.

Saw Peter c 1030 as we went to the main square. He hasn't seen Jan and Ria either, making a joke they were lost in their large apartment.

I went up the Clock Tower. The views over the old town were great due to proximity. It was breezy up there, perhaps keeping my boiling point down at the idiot Asians blocking narrow passageways and always trying to barge along like wild bulls. It was the best tower of the three I've climbed over the last week. My feet continue to take a pounding, even after bursting both blisters.

The main square was alive with tour groups, people looking at maps and musicians earning their keep, including the old geezer from yesterday. The sun played cat and mouse all day but all in all the weather was better than expected.

Don zoomed off to the castle to get more time in St Vitus cathedral but he made it back in time for the afternoon's agenda. Arjan's sense of direction resurrected itself in finding the U Vejvodu restaurant, the one recommended by Peter. It is very large. Had an Tinarj [?] Velkopopovick [?] Kozel dark beer but fairly light in taste; quite good actually.

For a main, I had the pork pieces [what some had last night] with white cabbage, potato dumplings and bread. The fine gravy made the dumplings passable. Arjan gave the guy the balance of a 500 note as a tip, amounting to almost 20%, a quarter of that amount reflecting the quality of service 200 CC.

I got him to give me three names of the girls on the trip and we did the over the cliff, shag once and marry game, repeating it with the three other girls. Arjan liked the game, scary at times as it was.

Don appeared as we headed to book the Communism and Nuclear Bunker Tour. Our guide was good, making some lighthearted remarks fairly often. He gave us an overview of life in the communist Soviet Union, the Prague Spring, the events of 1989 re the Velvet Marriage and the 1993 Velvet Divorce with Slovakia.

We passed by the building of the hated and feared STB, the equivalent of the KGB, people getting a knock on their door in the early morning, never to be seen again.

The was a '17.11.89' marker re the 50th anniversary of student uprisings resulting in 9 deaths. The government at the time closed all the universities in what was then Czechoslovakia.

Our guide related the story when the first McDonald's opened there was a line of 6k to eat some American food. We walked through some Franciscan gardens, heading to Wenceslas Square, our guide pointing out were Vaclav Havel game his speeches from a balcony to throngs below. The Grand Hotel Europa has hosted the likes of Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin and Cuba's Fidel Castro. Many BIG jokes at Rose's expense as we walked.

Off on tram 9 to go to the nuclear bunker, a spot that could hold 5,000 people. Everyone got to put on jackets, helmets and gas masks if they wanted to. The return tram went to Wenceslas Square where the trip ended.

Council of war as to plans, a few rain drops falling. They will do the Ghost Tour and I will join them at the end point. Tried to go to St James' Church but closed early. Went back and did the pix update, had a shower and did the diary.

Arjan returned to advise the 1900 show is only done in the summer months. Don has gone shopping and on his return we will grab a light dinner.

Off to Wenceslas Square, grabbing a sausage on a bun 60 CC. Walked up to the Wenceslas statue in front of the National Museum. Returning, got a trdinkel, a sugary, baked dessert 100 CC as we ambled toward the Jazz Republic, off of Republic Square. If big Rose was on top during sex, it would give a whole new meaning to the term 'down under'.

It's free jazz and no cover charge albeit the beers were expensive at 78 Cr each [twice that of last night]. Arjan noted the listed members of the Betty Lee Quartet were not what was advertised, the guitar players reading the chords ie fill-ins.

Betty herself had sported a striped black and white number which was adequately short. She would have looked like a zebra if lying down. She was good but the acoustics in the place were not the best. She would start singing with every song and then move aside [usually having a swig of beer] to allow for guitar or drum solos, then finishing up the song. I recognized a bit less than half the numbers, including 'Fly Me To The Moon', 'Ain't No Sunshine' and 'Killing Me Softly With His Song'.

We stayed for all three sessions, Arjan as a musician quite into it. Other highlights included Arjan snorting up beer at a Rose joke and a bit of a beer spill on my R pant leg from courtesy of another table. Things finished up around midnight 280 CC.

Walked back as quickly as we could and in bed within 5M of returning to the apartment. It was just after 0030.


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