Today we continue our Topdeck Mega European Tour journey heading west and to the capital city of the Czech Republic, Prague for two nights as our 49 day European tour is quickly coming to an end with only Berlin, Amsterdam and Bruges to come before heading back to London where it all started.
11 June, 2012 – Krakow to Prague
This morning we got up and packed our belongings once again to continue our journey onto the next country and city, this time we are heading to the Czech Republic and one of the party capitals of Europe, Prague. Since we departed Budapest we have had two girls on board who are training to become Topdeck tour leaders, today will be there first day to give talks to us so it will be a big day for them.
Since they joined our group we have got along with them really well and I have even given some advise to Kriszti a Budapest local on how to appeal to the mostly Australian audience on the coach by slipping in a few ‘G’day mates’ and to use an accent like that of Steve Irwin, because that’s exactly how we all sound…
On arrival into Prague we went on a walking tour of the city taking in many of the sites starting off with the famous Astronomical Clock in the city centre. Every hour on the hour the clock will go off and will put on a little show, once complete a person at the top of the tower will blow a tune on a trumpet from all four sides of the tower. For some reason the people on the ground applaud the first playing of the trumpet, I haven’t quiet figured out why that would be, I mean if you’re going to applaud the first trumpet blowing, why not the other three… are they inferior trumpet blows?
While we were in prague the UEFA Euro 2012 competition was on and in various cities around Europe they have live sites in the public squares with screens broadcasting the match and stages set up for performances. Germany were playing the Netherlands, I opted to support the Netherlands as I like orange and I’m part Dutch, seemed logical to me… until they lost.
Our tour around the city continued where Kate the other trainee on our tour gave a history lesson on Prague Castle, another fellow Aussie, we are just everywhere. The two girls did a very good job today, hopefully we were good guinea pigs for them to try out their tour leading stuff on.
After the tour of the city we checked into our hostel for the next two nights which was the very well equipped PLUS Prague, it was a pretty massive place used by other tour groups also so it was also pretty busy. Most people tonight wanted to go and check out the nightlife that Prague has to offer with a multi-story nightclub being the main attraction to most tonight. I on the other hand was getting over the whole going out at night wanted to go out and explore, so I opted to catch the train into the city centre and go and take some photos of Prague lit up at night. The weather was looking a but gloomy, luckily for me it only was light drizzle so I still wondered around without getting too wet.
I managed to catch the last train back for the night before the whole metro system shuts down, from memory it is 10:30pm or 11:00pm the system shuts down, a tad bit early and yet we complain here in Melbourne that our last train is 30 minutes after midnight.
After getting back it was straight to bed for me knowing that in the morning I would be hearing the many tales and incidents that took place tonight with everyone out nightclubbing it up.
12 June, 2012 – Prague
Today is our free day to explore Prague with many people having a few sore heads from the previous night it was a slow start to the day for most. We walked from the hostel to the train station and got off near the river so we could walk over the Charles Bridge and make our way up to Prague Castle.
When we arrived at the castle it was pretty quiet, we seemed to have made it before the onslaught of all the other tourists which was really good. You can purchase tickets from multiple places around the castle and the cost of the ticket is dependent on how many things you want to see. Some of the things you can see are free or included with the purchase of your ticket.
The main attraction at the castle is St. Vitus Cathedral, yes it is another church, but you’re never going to see anything if you don’t take in at least one church in each city you visit. The castle is quiet big, so big that it is fact one of the biggest if not the biggest in the world, so you can spend as little or as much time here as you like.
After we finished looking around the castle we headed back down the hill and again across the Charles Bridge back to the main city square area of Prague, the main attraction I wanted to see today was the Museum of Communism. I’m really interested in things like retro propaganda posters and things like that so I was hoping to see quite a bit of that at this museum and learn more about how communism impacted on this region of the world.
The museum was pretty interesting, you pay a small fee to enter and have a look around the exhibits, I also bought a pack containing twenty four Soviet Union World War II propaganda posters which I have since framed and hung up on the wall. They were not cheap costing roughly AUD$50, but it’s worth it when it is something you really enjoy.
As my friend was feeling a bit worse for wear and I was getting a bit tired myself, we decided to head back to the hostel, have a bit of a sleep and get ready to go out tonight. There is a communist themed bar here that we are really keen to check out and our tour leader has organised a get together for anyone interested, so we then caught the train back.
After a while we then caught the train back into the centre of town and found a pub to have some dinner, the plan was to meet the people who were also going to the bar under the astrological clock, but since we had some time we decided to go to the top of the tower for some impressive views over the city. We then met some people and went to the bar. The impressive thing about this bar was not that it was a communist theme, but the fact that I found sitting on the shelf of the bar hidden away Vegemite infused vodka! Of course we had to, between about ten of us we had a shot each to finish off the bottle and let me tell you it was the most disgusting thing ever! But worth it for the fact that there was a vodka infused with Vegemite on the other side of the world.
We all then moved onto another bar, this one was packed to the rafters full of people, a bit too crowded for my liking so after an hour I decided to head back to the hostel on my own. By this time the metro had shut down for the night, so a late night tram line operates until the early hours of the morning. Being by myself I was really nervous not to catch the tram the wrong way, I was trying to translate the stops on the map and count them as we passed them. When we reached the number of stops where I thought I should have got off, the name of the stop did not match, I stayed on a bit longer and the name I recognised came up along with the train station where I had been catching the train from. I was so relieved that I found my way back on my own and didn’t get lost.
Exhausted, it was straight to bed, tomorrow we are off to Germany and to the capital Berlin, I’m really looking forward to Berlin given most of the history we hear about when visiting each city has to do with World War II.
DOWNLOAD: Topdeck Prague City Guide