We flew out of Edinburgh this morning, en route to Prague. It felt as though we had entered a completely different world in some ways. The clean modernity of Edinburgh was past. This was the first time I truly experienced what it was like to struggle with languages. Despite showing the taxi driver the address of the air BnB we were staying at,
and at one point stopping just down the road as we shortly discovered, he insisted there was ‘no hotel in the area’ and drove us two blocks away to the tourist hotel and ‘helpfully’ pulled our bags out. Google maps then lead us on foot back to the place he had initially paused. Yes, there was a room there that we had rented, right above a hook-up bar. If there is a seedy part of Prague, I think we accidentally found it. The Warden style keyring hanging at our host’s waist only highlighted the feeling. I was loving this!! Setting up his office on the tiny table offered by the room, he whipped out a map and spent 20 minutes exulting the main points of his city. It may
not be the most progressive city, but it seems to engender a fierce pride in its citizens. Although according to the tour guide we spoke to on day two, there is still a significant way to go; it is clear that they are proud of how much they have managed to accomplish. According to our tour guide, they are still suffering economically, and in her words, class themselves as the second world.
A walk along the Charles bridge provides a fair cross-section of the peoples that make up Prague. Beggars line the sides, most on their knees with faces pressed to the cobblestones, palm up to receive anything that passersby might press into them. I asked the tour guide if there was a reason they all seemed to echo each other in this pose, the response was that the more pathetic the sight, the more likely they were to get tourists attention. If you are travelling, it’s worth noting that there is assistance made available, and it is advised not to give handouts on the street.
Prague Castle (Hrad) is on the other side of the river, Among its exhibitions is a small torture chamber. Hubby isn’t into the guts and gore like me, so we compromised and went inside. Less gore than I would have liked FYI. Something like the Jorvik or Thackray displays would not have gone amiss.
After having lunch on a Wine bar burrowed into the side of the hill -definitely worth a visit- we walked back to old town, taking in the markets, and the buildings. The astronomical clock was sadly closed for refurbishment when we went, so we had to make do with the
fabric covering on the building for scale, and models of the clock instead. Something to save for next time I guess. Prague is beautiful, and the people are very friendly. Fortunately, for the most part, everyone seems to understand English and is able to converse at least a little. I guess that goes hand in hand with being a tourist destination. I wish we had had more time to see the area around it, I would have loved to see the Sedlec Ossuary. Oh well, as I said, there’s always next time!!