Travel to Prague

Trip Start Dec 18, 2008
Trip End Jan 15, 2009

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Where I stayed
Wenceslas Opera Apartments , Vinohradska 22, Vinohrady

Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Friday, December 26, 2008

Bohemia, Czech Republic Friday, December 26, 2008

Travel to Prague

Wenceslas Opera Apartments , Vinohradska 22, Vinohrady

Boxing Day!! Up and at 'em for our final EPIC breakfast in Vienna. These have been the highlights of the Derag Kaiser Franz Josef - absolutely sumptuous. Typically, muesli, fruit bowl, (perfectly) boiled egg, fruit juice, excellent bacon and sausages, tasty bread and kaffee oder tee. We'll miss these extravaganzas! 
Brekkie was at 6.30am - worked out that you can actually see vineyards from our balcony!Then at 7.50am jumped in the 2 transfer minivans for the trip to the Sudbahnhof railway station on the far side of town...our driver knew how to move it and the kids enjoyed the fast and furious Vienna Drift trip!! Our train was due to depart from the Ost (East Platform) at 9.58am - Dan punched Matt and broke his glasses so that filled in some of the time whilst we sorted that one out. Josh played his guitar to entertain the other passengers.We finally climbed on board the train to find that First Class on Czech Railways was not even as good as second class on was the last carriage, and we had to stow our luggage in unused seats. Still, the seats were comfortable in a coach sort of way and the carriage wasn't full so we coped okay. The couple in front of us were Canadians from Vancouver so we were able to converse aboot now eh? They'd been to Prague by air before and were looking forward to ground level scenery.The countryside was quite diverse - but this was clearly the industrial end of town - and when we crossed into Czech Republic at Breclav things were much nicer...but not for long.At the next station, Brno we had a glimpse into the Soviet era...very run down, graffiti everywhere, derelict buildings - abandoned tractor factories, farm machinery factories, and on the hillsides in-fill state housing apartments. Not a place of beauty. Still, it was good to see this ahead of the world renowned buildings of Praha! We hurtled through the barren landscape- and suddenly we passed a massive parking lot of presumably hibernating Soviet planes, helicopters, tanks, armoured cars, trucks and more trucks.. gone in an instant but we all saw it!The train was going all the way to Hamburg (via Dresden and Berlin) - we alighted at Praha-Holesovice station at 2.29pm (precisely) and were met by a toothless porter by the name of Richard - and transfer drivers (with placard for "Daniel"). We found out later that this station is well known for crooks and scammers!! Don't ever catch a cab from there!! Our drivers were decent with very modern vans and we were delivered to our apartments in short order. Delivered and abandoned...while we had arrived 30 mins early, it was an hour before our greeter arrived to open the apartment (after 2 phone calls) - this would have been okay had it not been minus 1 and we had numerous suitcases out on the pavement. Hypothermia was beginning to set in.. Gran, Leigh and the kids found an Italian restaurant nearby and had a warming drink (however hot chocolate here means melted chocolate!). We buzzed the adjacent apartments trying to gain entry to the building but no one spoke English. Phil stopped a local girl in the street who could translate for us but by now the apartment owners refused to answer! Finally, Jaroslav our greeter arrived by taxi and let us in. Despite our frozen state, the wait was worthwhile for our apartments are sensational. Huge (especially compared with Vienna) and modern.It's a pretty average area but these old buildings have been tastefully decorated and are very cool (and warm at the same time !!).

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