28th, 29th, 30th May.
I've been meaning to write up this blog entry for days, but never seemed to have the time.
We initially stopped over in Brno after driving from Bratislava, through Vienna, then into the Czech Republic. The campsite in Brno was well outside of the city and by the time we arrived there, neither of us could really be bothered to make the journey back in to the city, so we relaxed for the evening in the sun, the campsite being large, but empty.
Arriving in Prague, we found the campsite, 'Triocamp' quite easily with Maisy's help and got settled in. We bought tickets from reception for the public transport and headed in to the city centre by bus and then metro. Just as we had sat down on the bus, the heavens opened and the rain came down in sheets, so by the time we got into the centre, the streets were soaked and my shoes were soon also, as well as the soles being really slippy, so I needed to watch my step. Initial impressions that evening, for me, weren't good. I don't like the rain, I was in a strange city with no map, and no idea of where we were going to go. I admit I was a bit (a lot!) grumpy, and things weren't helped by the number of times we were hassled to go into bars or by beggars. We ended up getting into a taxi and going to a pub. I reckon the taxi driver ripped us off by heading over the river, as when we finally got a map, the place wasn't that far from where we'd been. We had to get a taxi back to the campsite as well, as we weren't sure what tram to take and whether we'd then be able to get a cab from the tram terminus to the campsite. This taxi cost 700 Crowns (about 23euro) - ripped off again perhaps......
After that debacle of Monday and getting soaked, I was kind of put off by Prague a bit, but we decided to head back in on Tuesday late afternoon after Bruce had had his fix of tennis (French Open) and retraced our steps back into town. This experience was much better, as by this time we had a map and we hit an internet cafe early on to check out info, so after about an hour we were quite organised. We found a nice restaurant away from the centre and had my birthday meal. The food was excellent and huge portions served. After that we headed for a few drinks and to a club until about 4am. It was a good night, although we still hadn't really seen a lot of Prague in terms of the sights.
Next morning was a bit of a blur as Bruce had to catch his flight home from Prague, so the morning was spent packing up and doing the airport run. I decided to stay on 1 more night as I wasn't organised for campsites for the next stopover. I headed to a different campsite, only to find that it was closed, (it looked like it would have been crap anyway) so had to make other arrangements. I found a nice, small campsite in a distric called Troja and somehow managed to squeeze Hermione into the only available space left whuch turned out to be the owner's car parking spot. It was fine though, just for one night. I bought a day ticket for the transport and went back into town, and this time had a good wander around the old and new towns, and by the river, but still didn't get close to the castle on the other side. I had to make do with photos, but hey, seen one castle, seen them all probably!
Final impressions of Prague were much better. I didn't like the shopping part of the city centre much, as this seemed way too touristy and was where any of the hassle was. Slightly outwith the centre, I found much more to my taste, way cheaper also. Beer was costing less than 1 euro a pint, food was also really cheap once out of the centre. There also wasn't any hassle and it felt pretty safe. The public transport system is very good and getting around is no problem. I'd probably like to make a return visit at some point.