Friday, October 8, 2010


The train journey from Dresden to Prague was enjoyable. Followed the Elbe River and then another (or it changed it's name) all the way. Lots of attractive views of interesting buildings nestled into the hills overlooking the river, the river traffic & the autumn colour beginning to creep over the hills.
And you couldn't get a greater contrast between Dresden & Prague. Dresden was quiet & seemed under-populated. Prague is bedlam. This most visited city in the world is very busy. The traffic is terrible, the public transport is crowded all day, and the tourist crowds in the old & lesser towns make moving around on foot slow. Walking across Charles Bridge is more of a shuffle.
We deliberately didn't some here in June or July, thinking we would miss the worst of this, & I guess we have. There is also a European Cup match friday night between Scotland & Czech Republic. The town is full of kilts. And those sporrins come in handy for keeping money in while out shopping. We had dinner in the Old town last night and the Jocks were getting a bit rowdy. A few sore heads this morning I think. The sound of emergency vehicles is incessant. Our hotel has quadruple glazed windows - great in winter I'm sure, but also terrific for keeping the traffic noise out.
As Prague only has 1.2m people it's hard to understand why the roads & public transport are so crowded- don't seem to be tourists using them.
Greater Prague is far from lovely, but the closer you get to the Old & Lesser cities the better it gets. It is beautiful there - the buildings are the stars. Street after street of interesting buildings, which are mostly not so different in style, but are all painted or decorated in such an individual way that you can walk for hours looking at them.
Have found some very helpful Czech people and many very surly ones in shops etc. I think this tourist avalanche has overwhelmed them a bit. They still have their own currency- the Krown- for a bit longer.
In Europe we have also had to get used to smoking in pubs & restaurants. Sometimes it is really unpleasant and spoils it for us. We realise how unused to it we have become. Happily it is now banned in UK.
There is a lot of building activity going on- it's hard to walk a block without scaffolding. They are also madly ripping up their footpaths & paving them with very small cobbles. This makes walking difficult and is very hard on suitcase wheels. I think this is general in previously eastern block countries, which are now having a resurgence of activity.
Prague Castle. This overlooks the city and is really a complex of Palaces. The President lives in this one.

Another day , another Cathedral. St Vitus Cathedral in the Palace Complex

View of part of Prague from the Castle.

View of the Castle from the Old town on the other side of the river Vtlava.

Wenceslas Square, which isn't really a square, but a very large rectangle with traffic & shops. The Museum overlooks it at the top & the Old Town is at the bottom.

We stumbled on a film being shot in Wenceslas Sq outside the Hotel Europe (where apparently many of the interiors for 'Titanic' were filmed). We got shooed out of the way. They are extras walking up & down in front of hotel. The old guy with the stick came out of the hotel, hailed a cab & got in it - over & over again. We heard Tom Cruise was here filming another Mission Impossible, so I'll watch for this scene. A lot of films are shot in Prague.

A lot of restaurants & cafes here provide blankets in their outdoor eating areas. Very thoughtful.

No- we didn't go to this one!

You can take hundreds of photos of the buildings of Prague, and I'm not saying I didn't, but will put only a few here to finish off. Heading to Vienna now.

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