Friday, June 18, 2004

Brno CastleWe tried to work out a timetable for the route to Prague. Matthew has taken it into his head to take the scenic route on the train to Prague; it turns out that this will require about eight changes and take twelve hours, so we decide to go direct, which takes three and a half.

We say goodbye to Brno, catching the 10:25 train to Prague.


King Wenceslasastronomical clock

Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic

We arrive at the main station, Hlavní Nádraží, where the information office directs us to a pension €60 per night.

We've arranged to meet Irena, an old friend of Matthew's. He met Irena in Gdańsk in 1980 on a previous epic travel.

We meet Irena in the late afternoon by the statue of King Wenceslas. She is happy to be our local guide.

There are no Russian tanks in Wenceslas Square today.

The astronomical clock was pretty amazing! This  stunning mechanism was built in the early 15th century. (Matthew is crafting a replica here.)

CowCharles BridgeWe stroll around the old town, and along the river. There are lots of fibre glass life-size cows painted up randomly placed about the city. (There are also cows in Stockholm and currently Manchester. Some kind of virus perhaps?)

Irena's daughter (who we don't have the pleasure of meeting) is trying to find all the cows.

Irena recollects the "Velvet Revolution", November 1989. The revolution split the country off from the Soviet empire and culminated in the Velvet Divorce and the separation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

We choose a restaurant near the touristy King Charles Bridge, swarming with visitors.

StatuePissing Don't look at he prices! Ł36 for the three of us - reasonable for Matthew and I - but a gross extravagance for Irena. (She asks for the itemised receipt so she can amuse her friends.)

We admire a fountain with two urinating gents. Send an SMS message to +420 724370770 and a message will be remotely pissed on the ground in Prague. (Excellent use of technology - I approve!)

VltavaReal Budweiser lager, Budvar, is readily available here. Beer costs us 40p a pint. And it's damn good beer. The finest lager in the world no less. And a national religion.

(I have been chastised by friends working at the London Stock Exchange: my informal Here in this country beer costs 40p per pint! is somewhat amateurish.  OK, GDP per capita may be a better metric, or may be I should use PPP, Purchasing Power Parity?)

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