I pack my suit in a bag. I’m all dressed up for Prague. I’m all dressed up with you, all dressed up for him too…
My travels continue and I find myself in Prague. I’ve come to realise that every 21 year old who travels Europe finds themselves in Prague, most of us International Students at Leeds will touch base here at least some time while we are away. However for me, Prague is also the home of my brother Justin since last September. Therefore Prague holds a little more significance and was one of the first listed places that I wanted to visit when planning my trip. From all reports it is a great city, I get to catch up with my brother again…oh and the free accommodation is a plus 😛
I arrived in Prague yesterday at 6pm Prague time after once again changing timezones. It was about midday for me as I hadn’t adjusted to leaving North America yet, but the fact I hadn’t slept much on the plane to Heathrow meant that I wasn’t too awake for ‘nighttime’. The British Airways flight to Prague was fine and definitely a lot better than the options of taking a slightly cheaper Ezyjet flight which would’ve meant changing airports (a costly and time expensive exercise in London) instead of just terminals, especially as the ease of flying on British Airways is a well received level of comfort when travelling for so much. In the end it cost about 10 quid more, but I got a lot more than 10 pounds worth of benefit. The only down points of the flight were the 50+ american (and therefore loud) teenagers (and therefore annoying) who were on the plane with me on some sort choir trip and the fact that I had to wait over 30 minutes, after the first bag appeared, for my bag to eventually come on to the carousel. Juz met me at the airport though so I didn’t have any worries dealing with the bus and metro or finding his place. It is always good to see a friendly face after over 24 hours of travel and it was a relaxing thought that I now don’t have to deal with another airport for almost a month.
My first impressions of Prague were limited. From the plane you don’t see much as the airport is a fair way out of the city. All I could tell was that the country was very european (surprise surpise), but I do suppose that led me to think what Justin would’ve thought flying in to such a different looking place knowing that he was moving there. It is definitely different from Australia. After quickly settling in to Juz’s place and saying hi to Matt who is now living with Justin, we were off to what can only be described as an “ex-pats” restaurant for dinner – Banditos. The food was pretty good, the beer was cheap as you find in Prague and I met one of Justin’s mates Angus. The night wasn’t that eventful but I was able to relax and recover from the non-stop two weeks of travel with Joey and 24 hours spent on a plane.
After a well needed sleep I was up this morning and off to another of the Sandeman’s Free (or “tips only”) Walking Tours. I had done the Dublin one and it was good and this one came with Justin’s recommendation. I haven’t planned out the things I want to do in Prague in much detail but a broad introductory tour of the city sounded like a good idea. Without a proper map, Matty was good enough to walk with me to the Old Town Square where the tour would depart from ensuring I made it there and didn’t get horribly lost in the maze of streets the go around Prague. It was a nice and sunny, if not a little muggy, day too.
The tour itself was really good. Probably awesome when you consider that you have the option of doing it for completely free, although not tipping your guide would be a bit of a low act. My guide was Mike – a tall, loud canadian who had a slightly weird accent from his time in Europe. He was very informative and at all the variety of stops on the tour gave some great info, a few stories and even a couple of jokes. Probably his weakness though was that he was not good at ensuring that the walk between stops was at all interesting. By the end, besides gazing at the streets and sights of Prague, it became a bit of a quiet march from place to place. Other walking tours I have been on have been better at having the flow continue.
The tour was a broad coverage of the city, the people and the history of Prague and wider Czech Republic. I knew relatively little going in to it so the 10 minute summary of the history of the Czech people, a people who seem to have been continually overtaken throughout history, was well useful. Along the walk we saw most of the main sights. We saw a lot of the different Churches and synagogues, the Powder Tower, Old Town Square, the river with a great view of the Charles Bridge and Castle district, the Jewish Quarter (which hasn’t got much of the original buildings surviving…just the important ones), Wencelslas Square (which is definitely more a rectangle than square) and much more. It was quite thorough. A fair chunk of the tour was spent explaining the different architectural styles of the buildings of Prague which was good to see, but I must admit talking about architecture bores me a little…looking is fine but lets keep the discussion to a minimum. I can enjoy just looking at the wonderful variety of buildings. The lunch stop of the tour was at Bohemia Bagels which was good as I was getting at a little hungry and my hummus bagel with peppers and olives was gorgeous. Only cost about 100 krona as well.
So that is my introduction to Prague. I have been able to see the surface of the city and like what I see. I now just have to find out what I am doing for the rest of my days in Prague (that involves hitting the guidebooks), wash my clothes for the first time in too long and just get on with enjoying Europe again.
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