Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Prague- Our Christmas Holiday 1

After a really early morning flight from Ciampino we eventually arrived at Stansted. Looking down from the plane the countryside was covered in a blanket of frost, I haven't experienced this since I left England, it was lovely and crisp and brought back lots of child hood memories.
After picking up our car we checked into the hotel at Docklands then made a quick dash to the underground to the centre of London to make the most of the the rest of the day. By the time we had wandered the streets, checking out the shops, we were ready for dinner. We stumbled across a fabulous communal Thai restaurant 'Busaba Eat Thai' in Piccadilly and indulged in a fantastic feast, it had been 2 years since our last decent Thai meal (apart from my attempts at home).
The following day we rose bright and early to start our trip to Prague. We took the ferry from Dover to Calais ( a word of advise.. you save alot of money by booking prior or buying the ticket from the agency advertising cheap tickets before you reach the terminal) and then drove through France,Belgium, Netherlands and Germany, reaching Prague 12 hours later.
Prague-Mala Strana from Charles Bridge
My first impression of Prague was that it felt really eerie, as a low cloud hovered over the city the whole time we were there, preventing the sun from shining through and the air was very still and bitterly cold.
With our thermal underwear on and 'Time Out' in hand we went to explore the city. The old quarter of Prague (Stare Mesto) was really delightful, the quaint little streets were full of christmas lights and decorations and several Christmas markets were scattered throughout the old squares.There was plenty of activity and alot of tourists around browsing through the little shops full of crystal ornaments, Czech dolls and plenty of woolly hats. Others were keeping warm huddled around the wood fires which were roasting hams on the spit, drinking beer or Gluwein (hot mulled wine).
Christmas Hams

Castle Grounds and the Old Market Square

We followed the route which took us over the Charles Bridge and across to Mala Strana, the area between the river and Prague Castle, then proceeded to the castle grounds. Unfortunately we were too late to look through the castle.
Mala Strana area

Prague Castle

Statue St John of Nepomuk, photo taken 1st crossing the bridge then again on our return

To keep warm we spent alot of time in and out of shops and pubs, the feeling was blissful as we entered from the cold that had penetrated through to our bones into the warmth. We also ate a great deal of Czech sausages, and drank alot of Pilsner beer and Gluwein which I became addicted too and brought several bottles home with me. Though it doesn't quite have the same effect drinking it in a warm house.
The Czechs are a very quiet bunch preferring to keep themselves to themselves, though were more than willing to help with advice as most of them have a good knowledge of English.
We were in Prague for 5 nights and it was plenty of time to take in and explore the city.

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