Good report Steve, enjoy in Praha and the Czh beer ! It's remind me when we went there (return from Russia) with the Dodge ram and the Nord Star camper (found a campground along the river) I loved this city so beautiful and really "European".
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I waited until I had quiet time to follow along... it turns out that your excellant pictures and narriative gave me lots to think about...
I was born in 1940... we had many family and neighbors in Europe during WWII in the US Military... I can still remember them spreading the "war maps" on the floor and me lying beside them... listening as the adults talked about where Bubby, or Jack, or Bill were thought to be. You have put pictures to their words all of these years later.
I remember the crying, going to the train station to meet the caskets coming home. The old people were bitter for years... the loss of sons... as someone said,,, a few of us are among the last that will remember.
All of these thing made a strong impression on me... my long term memory is still very good.
I really enjoy the way you tell your story.... we get a chance to see the highways and byways, castles and campers, and faces to go with names we recognize. I have a chace to compare fortified castels with our forts... I now know where we learned how to design our fortifications.
Thank you for sharing... I know that it is a lot of work... at least you get to the trip again with us.
Looking for more.
BTW... Janet would have trouble crossing that catwalk that Sally is on... she hates heights.
...This is a Czech "medicinal" liqueur that started in 1807...
Ooooo - I'm suddenly feeling unwell and in need of some "medicine" - as you will see later in the report we visited the town where that is made, but didn't even realise it - I could have brought back a crate of it if I had known
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We got up fairly early on Wednesday to take the tram into the city. Usefully the tram station was only 200 yds from the camp ground and went directly into the city centre, and the camp ground owner sold tram tickets - they were pretty cheap, and gave advice on which tram to take (plus a warning to beware of Gypsy pick-pockets operating on the trams).
As with many European trams / buses the tickets can be purchased in advance and you have to validate them by inserting them into a machine in the tram which stamps them with the time - your ticket is then valid for a further 30 minutes. This means you can buy many tickets in advance, but you can't get away with just buying one ticket and holding it for weeks in case a ticket inspector checks. He will want to see a ticket that has been validated in the last 30 minutes.
After a 15 minute tram ride we were in the centre. I used an ATM to get more Czech Crowns out, then we wandered off to find the tourist spots - it was still before 9am. We saw this cute toy shop:
A building in the old town square:
The old city hall has an astronomical clock - people were waiting for it to do something with their video cameras, but I don't have that much patience:
We paid a modest fee and climbed up the tower:
Nice views from the top:
We carried on towards the old Jewish quarter.
I wanted to visit the old Jewish cemetary - however, they were set-up for the tourists who want to take long guided tours (and as you now know, that isn't me ) - you had to buy an all-in-one ticket that covered all related Jewish sites, and I couldn't be bothered with that (I've been to the wailing wall in Jerusalem, so I don't really need to pay see a synagogue in Prague).
We then walked around the river bank. Sally spotted a really nice coffee shop by the river, but they weren't open; in fact none of the coffee shops seemed to open until 11am. I have this image of Prague being where young people would sit around until the late hours arguing about politics over a stream of cups of strong coffee .
Looking from the bridge these buildings appear to have been built over the river:
The mural on one of the above buildings:
The stone abutments of the bridge are protected from debris by the log structures immediately upstream:
The bridge is probably the busiest place in Prague:
Crossing the bridge I saw the following boat pull up to the arch of the next bridge upstream and deploy a couple of booms - I don't know what it was doing - some form of maintenance I guess:
Another pretty shop:
Oh, and we did find a coffee shop in the end - snack time
See, I've got to get Buzzcut back for all those mouth-watering pictures of fried breakfasts at horse shows
A door-way just up the road - we are now on the western side of the River Vltava (a tributary to the Elbe):
We then climbed up to the castle:
Sally saw a music recital advertised - for piano, flute and viola. "Can we do that?" she asked - why not I thought - I'd never been to anything like that since University, so we paid our money and along with a handful of others (mainly US and Australian visitors) we took our seats in the front row:
It was lovely, and being only a handful of us, and sitting right at the front, it was like they were playing just for the two of us.
After that we decided it was time for more eating - the palace had a restaurant on a terrace overlooking the city:
My soup was lovely - Sally had a panini to feed her antlers
Yes, it now contains a car park, a sports centre and EIGHT football fields - you would have needed binoculars to watch the action. Unfortunately it is now in a state of disrepair:
There were no barriers - we just climbed up onto bleachers amongst the crumbling concrete. From the top we could see the neighbouring estate of slightly grim apartment blocks:
After leaving the stadium I didn't want to return the way we had come, and I reckoned there was a route down via the above estate. However, it looked a fairly rough area with gangs of youths hanging around. Luckily I have picked up a habit of not looking too much like a tourist when walking through rough areas - the trick is to walk quickly and purposefully with your head down like the locals do, rather than meandering about, looking at maps, pointing at stuff with an expensive camera around your neck (you might as well wear a sign reading "please follow me to a quiet area and rob me").
Luckily my instinct was right - I found a foot path down to the park below, which contained some lovely views over the city:
So we celebrated with - you've guessed it, more snacks:
We then got a 6pm tram back to the camp ground, pretty tired, but happy.
From here we headed further west to Karlovy Vary, otherwise known as Carlsbad:
A resort where people would have gone to sample the healing waters:
Throughout the town you could see people carrying strange cups with a spout which they would sip from occasionally.
Grand Hotel Pupp - you might recognise this from the 2006 remake of the James Bond film Casino Royale:
Further west is this lovely little village of Loket:
This was also one of the locations from Casino Royale:
The castle was nice:
But its dungeons contains a graphic exhibition of the types of torture that were routine in the middle ages - it was pretty nasty.
The exposed ceiling of one of the lower rooms, showing different styles of vault:
From here we crossed the border back into Germany - again, no border controls in site. I had a waypoint for a camp ground below this hill (don't know if this is gypsum - something like that):
However, Sally got a bad feeling about it as soon as she saw the hill, and when we turned into the camp ground we found it was more like a large holiday park, packed tightly with campers, people everywhere, children running around. "I'm not staying there" Sally exclaimed. So a quick search on the GPS showed another camp ground 5 km away. We set off for that. When we got there we couldn't believe the difference. It was really quiet, on the edge of attractive countryside, with a beautiful swimming pool and artificial lake - and it was really cheap. A big relief.
Stay tuned as we head off towards Europe's biggest 4x4 and adventure travel show
Brings back memories, those photos. I remember some amazing "leadfoot driving" at night and in the afternoon , young drivers really winding through the revs ,in Saint Wenceslaus Square. The Tram that ran there was pretty quick as well. That week, they also had a Tank parked near the Statue to remember the 1968 invasion.