Sunday 17th April 2011
We had the usual shopping trip in the morning and this afternoon we got on the Prague metro and headed into the centre of the city. The metro was quite clean and reasonably easy to use. Unfortunately when we got off the train, Ray pulled out the map, and due to our failing eyesight, neither of us could read it. I reached into my trusty girl scout bag, retrieved my glasses case, which was empty, so we wandered around trying to find a pharmacy or similar where we could get a cheap pair, or a magnifying glass, no such luck, but we soaked up the atmosphere anyway. The place was buzzing and lots of groups, some obviously finishing off stag do’s and some big groups of tourists.
|The town hall|
|An astronomical clock on the town hall|
|Some of the detail was macrbe|
Ray had been part of a stag do some 6 years ago, and had harped on about these fantastic statues that had been in the centre of the road, or square, or somewhere, anyway after walking miles and seeing several places that “this looks familiar dear”, we were no closer. We did however find some absolutely fabulous buildings and sights that are really quite mind blowing. I was a little bit apprehensive, after all the cultural touring we have done recently, that I would be a bit bored by it all, but no, I can honestly say it is in a league of its own. We came upon the town square, by the Town Hall, on the hour, some bloke leaned out of the top bit and played the trumpet, waved to everyone then moved around the tower. Apparently this is a tradition of long standing.
|You can just see the buglar above the clock|
|The detail was incredible and everywhere|
|We love retirement|
The square was completely decorated for Easter and there was live music (questionable and Czech, wierdsville).Everything though added to the complete ambience of the place. I love it.
|It was a perty atmospher - and there's another week of this - Wohooo|
|Hey, they got a band (ish)|
We came across a Thai massage parlour in one of the normal streets and it appeared that this really was a massage parlour. There were people in the window getting their legs exfoliated by some sort of nibbling fish.
|Would that be a massage or cheese nibble, Sir....|
Eventually, we resorted to what we do best, and found a pub. It was called “Zombie”. It wasn’t even that lively, (nor are Zombie’s !) so we left and headed back to the campsite. We reached the train station and decided that while we waited for it, we would get a beer in the Jazz Bar. This was one of those really strange moments. I can’t stand “heavy Jazz”, George Benson on a commercial day is fine for me. We entered this room at the side of the station. We went to grab a seat and a female ran up to us saying this will cost you like one hundred Korunas, so we could see the jazz players, call me MRS PICKY, but, a) these guys were ugly, b) I hate heavy Jazz, and c)they were playing heavier than heavier Jazz, it was awful, so we headed for the door, only to be grabbed by the owner who said, “alright you can sit in the cheap seats, have a beer, but you still gotta listen to da music”. We are good at devouring beer, but even we had bleeding ear drums before we had finished it. I do apologise if we are becoming heathens in the music world.
The train back was more like the late bus in London, everyone stank, most were drunk, and you realize that everywhere is the same. I will say though, that foreign languages make an argument or apparently a normal conversation sound far more exciting, except, everyone then pats each other on the back and walks away smiling, yeah try that in Haringey.
The money is different again, although they do use the euro, but we went local, and I’m still confused. I think everything is expensive, (well anything Ray wants to buy, mine is all really cheap!!), and I keep having to ask for help. If you are reading this blog, you may not agree, but I was always better at English and sport. Ray does the Maths.
When we got home we told Leon about all our adventures and within 30 seconds his interest was blatantly obvious.
|Snoring and uniterested cat...|
Monday 18th April 2011
We had a lazy start to the day and sorted out some of the motorhome admin (emptying and filling of tanks etc and a bit of housework) intending to go into Prague late afternoon and mill around waiting for a boat trip that we had sorted out over the internet.
At about 3pm we set off for Prague and 30 minutes later we were in amongst the tourists. Again, the atmosphere was fantastic. It is such a warm and welcoming place. We set off and wandered about looking for the museum of Torture. Karen had been on the internet, located the place and carefully marked it on the map. We arrived at the place marked on the map and lo and behold, it was not there. We were fairly sure we had seen it somewhere the night before so were convinced that it did exist. We asked around, including the local fuzz, but nobody seemed to know where it was. Eventually we found a tourist desk that pointed us to where she thought it might be. We found it, exactly where we had seen it the night before. I was amazed it had not moved overnight.
The Torture museum was small but interesting, including his and hers, matching chastity belts along with the usual array of nasty implements.
One, a Garrotte, where the victim is tied to a high back chair and a large screw, screwed through from behind into his brain was last used in Spain in 1975.
|And slimmer of the year award goes to....|
The centre of town was again like a big party with the Easter celebrations and entertainment in full swing. After a bit more strolling around and a beer or two later and we set off for the night time boat trip.
|One of the city gates|
We were taken by a small bus to the boat which was a 100 feet long (ish) river cruiser. There was a hot and cold buffet supplied and a glass of some thick indescribable liquid as a taster on the way in. We think it was to make you buy a beer real quick to get the taste out of your mouth.
Incidentally, beer and the like are really cheap here. In a bar we paid 112 thingies (about £4.10) for 2 small beers and 2 glasses of wine. In the supermarkets you can buy a half litre of beer for about 50p.
The boat trip was very relaxing and the views were spectacular. The photos do not do it justice. It is difficult to take a picture in low light from a moving, vibrating boat.
|Instead of driving the boat, the captain was watching "The Simpsons" followed by "Tegeshies Castle"|
|The passage through the lock was a bit cramped|
After the boat is was a 10 minute walk back to the metro and once back near the campsite it was a quick visit to a 24 hour bar cum casino underneath Tescos and a couple of beers later we went to bed.
Tuesday 19th April 2011
Today was a visit to the Bohemian Glass blowing factory. Wallace did his bit and took us there via the back roads to see some countryside.
Once there we asked for the factory tour and after a £4 fee which included a glass tumbler as a present, we were given a private tour by a young lady who spoke near perfect English. It was amazing.
We were first taken to the cutting room. This is where they use diamond grinding wheels and cut the designs into the raw glass forms, all by hand.
|Cutting the grooves into the glass|
Next was the polishing room where the matt grinding finish is removed. They unfortunately were on a tea break. Finally, the glass blowing room. This was a mazing. The furnace was in the middle of the room and the molten white hot glass was bubbling away at 1500 deg C. There were two processes going on in here on either side of the furnace. On one side, there was the glass blowing where several people were involved. One dipping his tube into the molten glass and then slowly turning and blowing the bubble into it. He then passes the big bubble to the next guy who forms it into its final shape using a wooden form.
|I missed the bubble by seconds|
|Getting the rough shape|
|Finalising the shape in a wooden form|
|Removing the unwanted bits|
On the other side was a guy making solid glass forms into moulds.
|Making a solid lid of some sort in a mould|
Lastly was the inevitable shopping visit. Karen spent a Kings ransome on pretty glasses and a jug. Only joking, it was very reasonable and very worth while. (Obviously a man’s opinion, it was great fun and absolutely necessary, not just “worth while”)!!!
Then it was back on our trusty steed and a 60km ride to a city by the name of Plzen. You would be forgiven for thinking that it sounds a lot like the European light beer called Pilzner. You’d be right. This is the birthplace of what we call Lager …. Wohooo
First stop was the museum and a quick history lesson on the golden throat charmer.
Apparently, there were many places making beer of some sort or another and it was often disgusting and was flavoured with some God awful materials including dog poo. The council at Plzen decided to do something about it and collected many barels of crappy beer and poured it down the sewer in the town square. They then decreed to pull all the brewers together and control the ingredients and process and there was formed the beer we now drink as Lager. The Pilzner was so good (and it is – trust me) that it was exported all over the world and many breweries have tried to copy the recipe and according to the original company “Pilzner Urquell”, have never succeeded.
|Some bottling machines|
|Drying the barley|
|A cooper making barrels|
|Old wax person playing with his sons chemistry set|
|Dont mess with me baldy or I'll shove this Ace up your nose..|
Included in the entry fee was a free beer so after demolishing that.
We headed of into the town centre for a look around.
Again there was an Easter celebration going on around the main church and the atmosphere was very friendly and lively. Karen got her finger bitten by a donkey whist trying to feed a sheep. (I couldn’t resist getting some food, unfortunately the Donkey was greedy and a bully)
|A half litre of beer - about £1.10 - nice|
|She just can't leave the sheep alone....|
Some of you may be thinking that our retirement is just one long drinking session. Well let me tell you, it could not be further from the truth.OK, maybe it is, but who cares, we are enjoyiong ourselves.
Methinks he doth protest too much !