Friday, 11 May 2018

Fri 11 May 2018. To Prague, Czech Republic

Fri 11 May 2018. To Prague, Czech Republic
Rainy morning. Breakfasted, left washing, reassured everyone of our return. TNT site says consignment is in Vienna - good news. To Raab to pick up water hammer in case we see a place to call in on our drive today. Erich not happy, the Bremach he’s working on is not responding to his ministrations.
Traffic jam in Passau all roads converging on bridge across river, took almost half hour to cross city (gave time to take photos out the window though...) 

Nice drive through rural areas of Austria, then Germany, then Czech Republic. Long-eared hares, bright pheasants, pine forests, pretty flowering shrubs and trees.

Hmm, awfully rusty infrastructure

Arrived in “Praha” Old Town where we have booked to stay two nights, always a “fraught” drive in narrow cobblestone streets where difficult to see if roads/ alleys will take a vehicle or if one way etc. Today it was complicated by sharing limited space with trams! Found front of hotel, EARoyal Esprit, BoyRob stayed with vehicle while GirlRob took in luggage and came back with instructions and card access for nearby parking garage. Finally booked in, picked up backpacks and out to spend afternoon exploring. Changed euros to Czech koruna, and had a bite to eat in deli. 

Went out to explore, confronted first by the Gothic Powder Tower, where gunpowder was stored a part of Old Town fortifications. 

The Old Town Square was alive with activity - so much to see it was impossible to take in. The Tyn Church, darkly gothic on the outside was truly magnificent indoors - altars, murals, reliefs, carvings, so much gold leaf !(sadly photos not allowed). Churches (one of St Jacob the Bigger), Astronomical Clock undergoing restoration, Kinsey Palace, Stone Bell House...

Tyn Church

We almost missed the statue of Blessed Virgin Mary on top of the Marian Column, erected in thanksgiving for the relief of Prague from the siege of the Swedish Army. Together with a slender brass strip marking the meridian line, the original column was used to tell time from 1652 to 1918. 

The shops were intriguing, puppets, gingerbread, amber and garnet jewellery. The Blue Glassware, made in Czech Republic took Wanderoos eye (have to think about whether it would complement the contemporary fish from Venice!) 

St Salvatore’s was at edge of Charles Bridge, and the St Francis of Assisi Church/concert hall. A monastery abuts on edge of river. 

Strolled across beautiful stone Charles Bridge over River Vltava (one of 17 bridges), with its statues of the saints. The crowd was thick in places, people stepping around prostrate beggars (all with well nourished dogs though), highly entertaining buskers, a Hari Krishna band, a jazz group, a one-man symphony orchestra, portrait and caricature artists, watercolorists, graphic artists, people having their photos taken with pigeons, with snakes... 

View of Prague Castle and the Lesser Quarter from Charles Bridge

The views were superb. Glimpsed National Theatre with its gold crown/ ridge) built by the people, and the Rudolfinum (its purpose not listed on our map).

On we ploughed over the bridge to the Lesser Quarter. Had the best ice cream ever, trdlo a fried spiral cone, inside coated with chocolate, yum yum! 


Unbelievable crowds clogged city – literally thousands of people (even the swans came in "crowds"!!)

The bridge with NO crowds!
Came home exhausted and collapsed to read emails. Erich said he has turbo out, bolts, gaskets etc, looks OK if need to be reused. He seems to think intercooler has rubbish inside that he can’t reach which will take longer to disconnect/ clean out etc. The saga continues...