Our itinerary (apart from Riga for New Years and taking Santa home) has been very much decided by what others have recommended. Our travel agent recommended Tallinn, the boys in the Bar in Riga recommended Vilnius, and some people in the Hotel in Riga, had a great time in Prague last year. So Prague became the last stop in our Eastern Europe Odyssey.
There was no direct flight from Vilnius to Prague, so we had a scheduled 40min stop-over in Warsaw to change planes. Vilnius airport was closed for fog, so we missed our connecting flight, resulting in us getting to our hotel in Prague at 6.30pm, not the scheduled 1pm.
Our travel agent had found a lovely hotel in the central piazza, what was closed off to traffic, so we had to wheel our luggage across the coble stones to get to it.
We have all had those moments when we realise that we forgot to factor in something that we should have. I had one of those at this time, when I remembered all those travel agent shop fronts around the world, with their glossy brochures of package tours through Europe. We were smack bang in the middle of package tour central.
there were thousands of them, (if not tens of thousands of them), from all corners of the glode. The Chinese travel agents are doing a roaring trade selling 5 European cities in 10 days.
There were Chinese getting married in Prague.unlike the usual pedestrian traffic we are use to, were commuters are on a mission to get too and from somewhere, tourist suddenly stop, in front of you (in mass), or they unexpectantly cut right or left, to get the photo. Then when they get to the places that needed photgraphing, selfee stick and hands holding up smart phones, shoot up like bulbs in spring.After the very minimal tourists in the Eastern Baltic counties, having to share being tourists, was a shock to us, for the first few days, but we adjusted and joined them. Prague is definetley one of those “WOW” tourist destinations and it’s popuarity is very well founded.our hotel room was on the 4th floorLisa doing her best Rapunzel
if we stuck our head out the window, the Town Hall spire was just therewith the moving clock, that a crown would form in front of, on the hour, to see the 12 apostles, go past the window also around the City Square
the trick to avoiding the bulk of the tourist hoards, was to get going early, before they were bused in
everything was covered in a pollution, moldy looking grime. A look, that from habit, had me wanting to get too work on it, with a high pressure water blaster everywhere there were gulls or pigeons, giving every landing surface a covering of guanoor ugly netting, to keep them guano freesorry, if I am sounding pedantic, we were spoilt in the Eastern Baltic countries
I went to Sanday Mass in, St.Francis of Assisi Church (green dome)
it’s door were unlocked, only for mass times, to prevent the Chinese tourists, doing as they did in the Cathedrial in the City Square, unknowingly the males walking around with hats on, taking photos despite the no photos sign.
The experience of attending mass in this magnificent building, was a memory I will cherish, so I snuck a quick photobecause the bulk of the tourists were only here for a few days, they did not move out from the main tourist areas, we found that if you moved out a few hundred meters, we were eating and drinking with the locals
the next morning we headed off to The Prague Castle (in the backgoround of the photo)
the sculptures either side of the main gate, had a definite subjugation theme
the Cathedral had a WOW factor
complete with gargoylesinside was equally impressive
we had access to the back of the church, but one needed to buy a ticket to go any furthurmy immediate thoughts were of the biblical story of “Jesus and the Money Changers“, and a feeling of sadness that in the search for maximising their tourist income, they have compromised their traditional Christain identity.
I don’t think St. George would have approvedmaybe the griffins might havePrague is unbelievably picturesque at midday there was a changing of the guards
back out into it, for the walk back to our hotel
a 600 year old pub, was too temping to just walk pastthe cloud lifted overnight, dropping the temperature to -4C, but giving us the first sunny day, time to go up the clock tower to catch the viewsgoing past the apostles, that appear in the windows on the hourlook down at our hotel room
magic views over the city
by the last day, we had ticked off all the tourist sites, so I went for a big walk into the Prague, were the package tourists don’t go.
There was a promenade running beside the river.which took me past some amazing arciticture
this was a very unusual subject matter for a sculturedespite having to share it with thousands of others, we enjoyed PragueLisa and I both have personalities, which fit some, if not all of the criteria for being Alpha personalities. After the full on Alpha of skippering my boat around the South Pacific, for 10 months, I enjoy putting it in hibernation, and letting Lisa’s Alpha run the show. Unfortunately my Alpha’s hibernation period has expired, and our interacting was getting prickly.
for the sake of our ongoing (plutonic) friendship, it was time for us both to get a break from each other. So I got her to drop me off in Torquay, on our drive from London Airport, to her home in Cornwall.I an currently enjoying Torquay immensely, as I get back to being my own personhopefully Lisa and I get to enjoy a 5th chapter of our once a year, month of shared adventure