A Travellerspoint blog

Early morning prague, castles and the ballet

all seasons in one day 20 °C

I was woken at about 2:30am today, by rather disruptive dorm room mates - seriously, some consideration for those of us who are now 30 and maybe not drink until somewhere between 2 and 5am each night until we can't even find our own bunk (ok maybe I would do that occasionally but hey, this is not the point!). Seriously couldn't get back to sleep so headed out for a walk at 4:30am. It is pretty light here from that time so wasn't so much a problem in terms of that.

What this did allow me was the joy of the Charles Bridge with only maybe 4 or 5 people on it, all hanging SLR cameras around their neck (and all carrying tripods with the excpetion of me). What it did get me was some awesome photos of the bridge not covered in tourists or vendors hawking items or potraits. It was quite special. Weather wasn't great but didn't seem to matter. Spent about 40 minutes on the bridge and then over in Mala Strana then in the old town square. I was also incredibly lucky not to slip on the damp cobblestones - for those who know me - this isn't outside the realm of possibility. I have been known to be accident prone to to the max.
Weather threatened in the morning so headed back to the hostel for a bit before deciding to brave it to go buy my ticket out of Prague, ballet tickets and maybe see the castle. Train tix was a goer - I now have my ticket for the next leg of my holiday. I was planning on walking down to the State Opera House but it started absolutely bucketing down with rain so did the metro thing instead and ended up only a little bit wet to buy a ticket that evening to Giselle, the ballet. It was raining so hard I just headed back to the hostel for a cat nap and some photo uploading.

Fortunately early in the afternoon the weather cleared and I headed up to Prague Castle by tram (figured tram up walk down was a good theory and it ended up ringing true).

Prague Castle is a large complex with gardens, many buildings and the very beautiful St Vitus Cathedral with it's iconic spires in the Prague skyline. Having been in the castle back in 2003 I settled for wandeing around the buildings and gardens and going into St Vitus. Most special was the amazing views from the Terrace Gardens across Prague. Breathtaking.

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Wandering back down through Mala Strana and slowly back to the hostel was a challenge.

In preparation for the ballet I got 'dressed up' in my best clothes (that I have away). And make-up - really it was a task for the travelling light. I maay have a photo to prove I didn't wear jeans and runners which have been and will be my standard fare this trip. Anyway, I was lucky enough to have a box to myself at the beautiful Prague State Opera Theatre. The ballet was Giselle, and other than losing the plot a little in the second act, I enjoyed it. The stunning theatre just added to the atmosphere. Tell you what though, not a chance that I could afford a box to the ballet or opera in Australia - approximately $20 was a BARGAIN.

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A walk down Wenceslas Square at sunset and few drinks back at the hostel capped off a great day.

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Posted by ellenjd 08:35 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged prague castle ballet Comments (0)

Feet shuffling around Prague

Prague Walking Tour

semi-overcast 24 °C

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I'd decided that despite my normal aversion to tours that perhaps it would be a good idea to brave the tour group and find out a bit more about Prague. A free walking tour was on offer through my hostel (St Christopher's Mosiac House) and I decided was my calling on this particular day. In the hour or so pre-walk I decided to go for a ... walk. Just down to the river and across one of the bridges. Some photo taking opportunities. Still taking some time to get my read around my new camera, however I'm pleased to say I'm now out of the automatic mode and into the Program mode or Apperture Priority.

Anyway, the walking tour started in a way that caused me to doubt my reasoning for doing a tour, but I figured I could always run away if necessary. The tour guide on first impression seemed, well, hung over to honest. And not too informative to start. Though did at some stage work out that this bit wasnt actually the tour - it was just the guide picking us up from the hostel to take us to the meeting point at the old town square. Anyway, I ended up with this same guide but within about 2 minutes of the tour starting turns out I'd been misguided. It was a New Europe tour and the guide was Michael and he was fantastic. I learnt WAY more than I knew before and I've been to the Czech Republic before. And what a fascinating country it is. I also learnt a new word - defenestration - a word I am probably never going to be able to use in context but for some reason I LOVE IT! Just in case others are in my boat - it means to put someone through a window basically. The Hussites did it to 21 counsellors out the town hall window back in the 17th century.

The walking tour encompassed most of the old town (Stare mestro), some of the new town (Wenceslas Square, Republic Square etc) and the Jewish Quarter. The history is intense, particularly that of communism in the 20th century. This tour was fascinating and definitely worth the tip I provided at the end of the tour (tips only, rather than totally free but I had no issue with this).

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By 2:30 or 3 when the tour ended I headed back for an afternoon nap (still suffering a little from some jet lag), and then took to the streets to take some more photos. Quiet evening in due to a combination of jet lag, exhaustion and suffering feet. All in all an excellent day.

Posted by ellenjd 14:06 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged prague walking_tour Comments (0)

Pragueward Bound

Munich - Prague

all seasons in one day 18 °C

Well after a ridiculously jet lagged night, compounded by the whole hostel dorm room where one cannot just turn on the light in the middle of the night, get up, read, play on computer (well I probably could have done that), the three hours sleep was just great. Actually it was quite a good hostel, at least quite clean and decent mattress so probably couldn't ask for much more than that really.

Much to my delight there was an unreal bakery kind of store at Munich Hbn which allowed me to stock on enough food to last a lifetime... well a train trip at least. So then had the 6 hour train journey from Munich to Prague. It was all very green really/ No worries about water over here. I managed to score myself a comparment of all non-English speakers... I just smiled and nodded my head occasionally. Also managed to finish my book that I brought (one of the Castle series - sad I know, but I'm a sucker) and don't really know what else I did to whittle the time away. I think I listened to music too. The towns we passed in Prague were very... yep I;m going to say cute. Pastel colours is in here in the housing market for SURE! It's like communism ended and they painted all the what I would imagine being drab grey flats with pretty pastel pinks, blues and oranges.

Anyway, arriving at Prague Hln and thinking uh i have no money, I have no idea what the exchange rate is and i don't know where my hostel is... Completely organised this trip as you can see... Anyway, just took a wad out of the atm and winged it - can always exchange it later for zloty if I got too much.

Found my hostel, and Danielle andk Matt as I walked in. Nice hostel. Best bathroom award for a hostel I think - maybe I'll have to take a photo.
After this, we went for a walk through the old town, got rained on a couple of times and ended up drinking beers in an Irish Pub and meeting a smurf and Wally (sure Danielle will provide photos).

Drinks at the Irish Pub

Drinks at the Irish Pub

Later wandered back to the hostel to overhear some American guy on skype to his family - hilarious - seriously - my parents just want to know roughtly what city I'll be in but this is like EVERY detail. He did hold back on the detail from Amsterdam clearly though... Fortunately a bit more sleep on this night but geez guy with the cough, want to do something about that?

Posted by ellenjd 00:12 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged prague munich Comments (0)

The trip to Munich...

2 plane rides and a 7 hour stopover in Bangkok

overcast 12 °C

Well after a crazy day at work and a few afterwork drinks it was airport bound. A full flight from Melbourne to Bangkok ensured that sleep was, well minimal. A number of TV episodes later (did I say many many), Bangkok was there. The highlight of this stopover was the great massage at the airport. YES - I know 600BT for an hour is a rip off compared to the street places out in bangkok, but really, where in Australia could you get an hour of foot and shoulder/back massage for $20 or so. Bargain if you ask me.

Second flight i found to my dismay, had NO individual entertainment systems - I forget this is still the case. BUT to MORE than compensate me for this slight, the plane was not full and I had, YES 3 SEATS to myself, a whole row. And that combined with some chemical assistance meant I had I reckon 8 hours sleep on and off. GREAT for getting through the flight, CRAP for jet-lag as I discovered waking up at 3am this morning.

so arrived in Munich at like 9pm. Easily found my way to central station and my hostel. Dorms... Must get myself used to this again. Went for a short S-bahn ride to Marienplatz and had a walk through the city and night. Reasonably busy but it was Saturday night. A few pics attached.

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Today - off to Prague. Booked on the 0900 train and to meet Danielle in Prague.

Cheers,

Posted by ellenjd 23:00 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

A change in plans...

Europe here I come!

overcast 14 °C

Well after some last minute changes - and a change of continent one week before leaving - I am now on my way to europe.

Unfortunately my Tibet tour was cancelled and the Chinese government are not issuing any travel permits into Tibet for foreigners thus prompting a complete change of plans. Flights to Beijing changed to flights to Munich and a vague plan of where heading. To Munich today, and then the plan is around some of Eastern Europe - Prague, Krakow, Vienna and Croatia - but given the lack of planning it's subject to change.

But for now... Adieu.

Posted by ellenjd 13:05 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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