Holiday: Prague (June 18 - June 20)

3 July 2006


A Blue Perspective: Holiday: Prague (June 18 - June 20)

Post-@Media, I'm on holiday until the end of July. In the meantime, I'll indulge my site in a bit of personal record-keeping, more for my own memory than anyone else's benefit.

After a couple more days reminiscing about the conference with @Media-types, it was time for the first leg of my grand European sojourn. Jetsetting Czech local, Jan Brasna, had kindly offered to show me and my Australian compatriot (Rick) around the Czech Republic capital. By coincidence all three of us were booked on the same flight out of Gatwick, so we were all inconvenienced when the fire alarm at the airport started to blare and the entire crowd at customs had to be evacuated for a 15 minute wait. Mild annoyance.

The thing that strikes me with air travel in Europe is how short the trips are. In Australia, it takes about 20 hours flight to get to a country of any consequence, but here you can cross borders in the blink of an eye. London to Prague is, what, 2 hours? I fell asleep in a metropolis and woke up in Bohemia. The next thing I knew, I was hopping into Jan's Media Temple-sticker-emblazoned station wagon and cruising down the highway to the Old City.

Expedited by 150km/h speed bursts, we soon pulled up outside our Czech lodgings – someone's spare apartment in a grime-fronted building that they were masquerading as a guesthouse on the Internet. As the owners lead us through their grand tour via the garage, the fact the lights were broken meant that I'd already resigned myself to being knocked over the head and found kidney-less the next morning. Luckily, our Czech hosts were kind enough to leave me all my organs, and it was in fact a rather nice, albeit dated stay.

Our first night in Prague was certainly crowned by Jan's introduction of the late-night fast food stalls in Wenceslas Square. That deep-fried-cheese-in-a-burger and bratwurst hotdog will stay with me for a long time. A long, long time. However, seeing the Charles Bridge by night would certainly be a close second. After having seen about 152 bridges on this trip by now, I'd say it's definitely in the top 3.

Our first real day in Prague was allocated to sight seeing. Due to our total lack of planning for this holiday this meant vaguely walking the streets and staring agape at any sights we happened to stumble across. It's not something you can capture in words, so I'll simply say that Prague is a beautiful city. However the Prague that you think of when you think of Prague isn't as big as when you think of it. The Old City (the grand old buildings and bridges) is merely where all the tourists go; as Jan showed us, the city itself is just like any other – malls, cafes, supermarkets. You know, the stuff you do in real life.

For lunch that day we demanded to eat some "real" Czech food, that's how I got my taste of Goulash (though I noted that Jan unpatrioticaly had a mozzarella and cheese salad). Robust, powerful, filling. Great stuff.

That afternoon we decided to trek over to the castle, but got caught in a late afternoon downpour. Time for a hot chocolate, I think. Thunderstorms are also a great time to buy tacky tourist merchandise. Some lucky person's getting Prague shotglasses (it could be you!). The rain only served to make the Charles Bridge more spectacular though – the setting sun glinting off slick, wet cobbles and turning the statue-lined promenade into another world altogether.

Our second (and last) day was oh so brief. A little wandering of the highly disrupted, under construction city centre before being picked up for an excursion to the 50's futuristic TV tower – the tallest point in Prague. Its observation deck felt a bit like a Communist tourist centre (don't ask me why, something about pink and faded lime green paint), but it did offer spectacular 360-degree views of the city. The in-house restaurant wasn't notable for its dishes as much for the fact that Jan found free wi-fi there. Yay, I can upload all of my photos! :P

Just time for a bit of (unsuccessful) shopping for a Rosicky football jersey before we had to navigate the confusing Prague train station and head out of town. No signs actually tell you where you're meant to go, or which platform you're meant to be on, but luckily my Czech language skills were much improved from two days before, so I managed to pick out the words "Venezia" and "Platform 5" from the garbled overhead speakers. We just made it onto the train in time to collapse next to an Italian nun and a Southern Californian playboy. On our way to Venice!



  1. 1/4

    Jan Brašna commented on 4 July 2006 @ 08:24

    I swear I had nothing in common with the fire alarm, really ;)

    The flight was more like 1:20, it actually took more time to board, check in and out than to fly.

    Ah, I was driving you around so carefully ;) You should see me in a real hurry... Driving in the Old Town itself was kinda demanding anyways.

    Glad you enjoyed it (and proved you can handle eating a sausage :D), you're more than welcome to come over anytime and stop by again, maybe with the whole pack?

  2. 2/4

    Tadeusz Szewczyk commented on 19 August 2006 @ 09:24

    Prague is a very tourist friendly place, indeed the old town centre consists mainly of tourists. So there is no danger of loosing your organs whatsoever.

  3. 3/4

    Praca commented on 17 October 2006 @ 18:27

    Yes i agree Prague is really wonderfull city especially old town! The centre of the Old Town has always been the Old Town Square dominated by the Church of Lady of Týn and the Town Hall. I was there and really it's amazing place;)

  4. 4/4

    Pozycjonowanie commented on 28 October 2006 @ 20:47

    "Our first night in Prague was certainly crowned by Jan's introduction of the late-night fast food stalls in Wenceslas Square. That deep-fried-cheese-in-a-burger and bratwurst hotdog will stay with me for a long time. A long, long time." i was there few year ago and it was great time so maybe i will go there in next summer to:)

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