Not having to sit in a car is a real joy. I think we have all had enough of that for the moment.
The plan today was to follow one of the Lonely Planet guide book walking tours of Prague, the Royal Way. Unfortunately the map is a little too small a scale for make that really possible however we gave it a valiant attempt and saw most of the sights.
Even despite the cold (yes cold in early september) the route is awash with tourists which is another distraction from the sights. The Tyn Church (Church of Our Lady Before Tyn) was for me the highlight although the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle are pretty good.
Overall we did a lot of walking even though we had bought a three day metro 'all you can eat' pass for a very reasonable price (about £5.50 or $NZ 15.50)
Dinner at La Provence in Stupartska was excellent albeit a bit expensive by Czech standards..
S & G were keen to head out of town and do a bit less walking today, so we parted company for the day and I made for the ancient citadel of Vysehrad on foot along the banks of the river.
Technical difficulties (I got lost) got me to the min shopping centre Wenceslas Square and the National Museum before finding the river. How hard can it be? Quite hard apparently.
Today was even colder than yesterday and my homeless persons 'beanie' was welcome protection against the cold wind. It's NZ logo was an added benefit as it led me into a conversation with an amiable Frenchman about the merits of the All Blacks and French in the Rugby World Cup which starts next week.
Vysehrad is a great spot with huge views and the most splendid churchyard. Lunch on the hill was cheap as well as excellent and I got some impromptu language instruction from the charming Slav waitress. As mentioned in the Lonely Planet, Vysehrad is not quite a tourist free zone but pretty near. Put a highly recommended sticker on it.
By this time I too had walked enough so I headed down the hill and made the discovery that the metro ticket also covers the excellent Prague tram service. I was back into town with only a minor excursion to where I have no real idea but I was able to get a tram to take me back to town pretty quickly.
It seems that Alphonse Mucha (of the Art Nouveau Sarah Bernhart posters fame) was a Czech and there is a splendid but small museum here. I've always been a big fan of the posters but until today knew very little else about him and his work. The museum is an hour or so very well spent! Also highly recommended.
I should be used to rain. Seem they have it in Prague too :(
Stephen & Gerlinde's trip yesterday to Kutna Hora some 70km SW of Prague had reveled that the alternator problem had not been cured by 24 hours sitting in the hotel garage. Seems that it (the alternator) had got very hot and started making bad smells.
A morning walk (in the rain) to the very nearby Volvo dealer gave us the unwelcome news that it would take 5 days to get a new one as, being an old car, the alternator would have to come from Sweden. It's a bit of a surprise really as there are a lot of old cars here but there you are.
That being the case we set off into the city again on the tube with the rest of the damp masses. We'd promised a look at the Dali exhibition in the event of rain and so that was the next stop (after buying the three crummiest umbrellas known to man). As was evident at the London exhibition I went to last year Dali was clearly pretty disturbed but the work is interesting. I don't think I'd want to hang one in our house though.
Stephen decided to flag the Lonely Planet walking tour of Josefov (the Jewish town). In many ways he was right. While interesting it really was not as good as the other two walks (the Royal Way and Upriver to Vysehrad). It could also be that the incessant rain spoilt it of course.
On the way back I decided to again part company and try for the the Franz Kafka Museum and had only just started on it when I got a call from Stephen that we had been chucked out of the hotel as the extension to our booking had not been made properly and was not being honored. This looked like it was a shame as the museum had lots of interesting stuff but needs must and I had to walk out past it all :(
By the time I arrived back at the hotel, S&G had packed their bags and were in the foyer. They had decided to head back to Germany rather than mess around changing hotels for the one night. Hopefully this will be an incident free run for them and not a decision that you could regret.
I on the other hand adopted the unhappy (but reasonable) customer role and gave the girls behind the desk a hard time until they brought down the manager. To his great credit he said they would honor the extension at the price. Fair play to the Diplomat Hotel, they definitely score extra brownie points for that.
Looks like a quite night for me and a mid morning departure for the airport tomorrow. I was looking forward to a good final night dinner. ho hum.
Yes three days in Prague is really as much as you need. You could happily leave after two feeling there is more to do but not feeling too regretful about it. Would I come back? Probably not, there are too many tourists chasing too few experiences for my taste. On the plus side the locals are mostly friendly and certainly not pushy.