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Prague 2009

Members on tour were Rita and Adrian Mullins, Brian and Teresa Clarke, Lynn and Brian Stephens and Sue Panter with her friend Jean Summers

Eight members of the club set out on Wednesday, 9th December to spend 4 nights (and five days) at a hotel my wife and I had been to previously. Although it was five years ago we hoped it was still as good both in terms of accommodation and food. We all met at the airport as agreed at 8:30 am and were ready for the big adventure. After only a short hop we were in Prague by lunch time. Once we were out from customs we easily found our man who we had organized to drive us into the city. Within a blink of an eye we were there - and with a full afternoon and evening to spare.

 

 

 

Rita and I decided we would introduce the group to what we feel is one of the prettiest sights in Prague - Old Town Square, which boasts a 1000 year old working clock and what can only be described as a fairy tale building Tyn Church. The best way to see these at night is from the roof bar in the U Prince hotel. The prices are a little more expensive but the ambiance is great with the views and also the heaters also help with the cold. We spent a pleasant hour there getting all the requisite photos and then went off to a local Czeck cafe we had used before. The atmosphere was good even if the food wasn't as good as we remembered. On the way home Brian C was accosted to see if he wanted to change any currency, a theme that was to be repeated regularly throughout the stay. He obviously looked affluent.

The following day we all went our own way to see what there was on offer and met up for a meal at 7:00pm. There were tales of the Castle, St Vitas Cathedral and all the Xmas markets plus showing all the presents for friends and especially Grandchildren. We had seen a local restaurant with walking (staggering) distance from the hotel so off we trooped. We were regaled with a mixture of Czech and English music played on a guitar which was accompanied by a reasonable meal. Back to the hotel and straight to bed as we had a long day tomorrow. Well, when I say early to bed we almost it. Some of decided to have a Becherovka party. Becherovka is the local spirit and one I really like. So, Rita and I were joined by Brian C and Teresa and Sue drinking away. The video footage is, I am sure, available from the hotel security. Brian. Lynn and Jean all had the sense to avoid the party.

 

 

As part of the deal when we arranged to be met by our own personal transport at the airport, we were all given places on a free walking tour of Prague. This would normally cost about £14 each. Those knowing us will know that we were determined to enjoy this just to save the money. On a serious note it proved to be a magnificent if tiring way to see Prague. We all met outside the Old Town Square clock at 11:00 am as requested. All went well until a door was opened and a newly married couple emerged. The ladies admired the dress of the bride whereas the men admired the lack of it. The men were mesmerized by the attractions on show. For those who would like to see her attractions a photo can be obtained from Teresa.

We met our tour guide and off we started on a five mile trek of which at least six seemed uphill. The start of the tour was the signal for heavens to open. The tour moved on to the jewish quarter where was saw the Jewish cemetery among other sites. We then passed by a Music Academy where we were told an interested story about WW2. Along the top of the roof their are many statues of famous composers. Mendelson was a jew so the German soldiers were told to get rid of his statue. Without names they used their initiative they picked the one with the big nose which they assumed was the way to tell who was jewish. Try to imagine their shock when they had gotten rid of Wagner the famous German composer. Don't stereotype or judge by appearances!

 

Off across the Vltava and on to some lunch before we did the royal walk to the castle - all uphill, Thanks goodness for the ever present sellers of Gluhwein. Up, up on through the vineyard admiring the views toward the castle. We went near Golden Lane a very pretty medieval lane but didn't have time to go in. On to St Vitus Cathedral, a sight everyone associates with Prague. Next we saw the changing of the guard at the castle. More in testing facts were divulged here. Skoda is the famous Czech car, the name Skoda is Czech for "Shame". From here we walked and saw Little Venice and that was where our tour guide left us.

 

Down toward the famous Charles Bridge which is famed for its beauty and its pickpockets. As we reached the lights at the end I am positive there was a pickpocket behind Lynn as when I looked at him he smiled in a "Yep, you've got me " kind of way. He was really close to her and had an accomplice. Thank goodness for him he didn't try it on with Lynn. My money would be on her! On to the Wenceslas Square Christmas market which was pretty although not too big.

 

 

 

 

Having walked all day we decided to eat at out hotel. We say a deal which meant a three course dinner with wine for only £14. That was it, we were there. After a lovely meal we decided to play a card game my daughter had introduced us to - UNO. It is a card game designed for the vicious but lots of fun. We all had a really great laugh but there was one surprise. We had all thought Brian S was a gentleman. He became the "Silent Assassin" as he stitched up players on each side of him. What a brave man as my wife, Rita, was next to him, I Know that look and yet he was brave enough to do it again and again. There were so many laughs we all went to bed with sides hurting. Teresa went off as the happy winner. Jean was not so happy as she had been stitched up all night by her now ex friend Sue. Consequently she lost.

Next day free again and we all did what we wanted. It was Saturday and the trip into Old Town was twice as long as usual as there had been a great influx of people for the weekend. We decided that an hours sightseeing tram ride for a pound was good value so off we went. On out return Brian, Teresa, Rita and I went off for a pleasant hour in the hot tub. I think the lobby has dried out now after all that splashing and bubbling. Off for another wine filled evening and the now obligatory UNO. I Thought Brian had learnt his lesson but he hadn't. He was determined to live up to his Assassin name. To be fair, half the time Sue told him what cards to lay. She must have been psychic, I am sure it didn't have anything to do with the fact she was sitting next to him. Rita won this time.

 

The final day saw snow falling outside although it wasn't much. We were picked up after a quick walk to town and off to the airport. Again all was smooth except for the problems Rita and I had, still that was soon solved. On to the plane and home where it was colder that in Prague.

May Rita and I thank all those who went for a memorable trip. Next time Budapest???

 

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