Monday 15 June 2015
After a whistle stop tour of Dresden, I settled into my first class interrail seat to Prague. Admiring the view out the window as we travelled alongside beautiful hillsides and riverbanks, I arrived in Czechoslovakia a couple of hours later with no passport control checks!
The usual story ensued as I checked in to my hotel, dropped my bags off and headed off for a brew in a nearby bar and restaurant. As I supped my 34 CZK (£1) pint of Pilsner Urquell, I accepted Prague’s warm welcome once again.
A short walk over Charles Bridge to soak in the night views, I retired after a day of train, city and country hopping…
Thursday 18 June 2015
Guess what?? Another Segway tour booked today. A 3 hour private tour with Philip, I whizzed around the city of Prague through both sun and rain. First on the adventure tour was the Lennon Wall. The Czech people loved John Lennon (from The Beatles) for his stance on peace, decided to paint and graffiti the Maltese Embassy Wall with words and pictures against communism. Since it was situated opposite the French Embassy, to this day, the wall still stands and continues to be daubed with graffiti.
Completing the circuit of the Lesser Town in Prague, I then went over to the Old Town, Jewish Quarter before heading up toward the Castle. The views were amazing, as I could see over the whole city.
During my Segway tour, I noticed a popular shop selling Trdelník. A traditional bread-like cylinder roll with a choice of flavours, I bought one after my tour covered with caramel.
The Trdelník staved off the hunger pains as I walked up a forever lasting hill toward Klasterni pivovar Strahov. A pub which now brews the recipes for light and dark beer traditional made by the monks from the monastery over the road. I opted for the Su Norbert Tmauu a.k.a a dark beer. It was certainly very tasty so I had a couple!
With a taste for more Czech beverages, I stumbled into a dungeon bar. With its creepy cellar holding skeletons and hooded axe men, heavy wooden table and benches and lit up by candle light, I tried some honey mead to accompany my Pilsner.
For dinner, I tried out a vegetarian restaurant called Maitrea, recommended by the Segway tour guide. Located in the House of Personal Development, it had a feeling of a more formal café which was a surprise as I was expecting hemp cushions and hippies to frequent the place. As it turns out, I was very pleasantly surprised by the building which was named after the still life of the Buddha MAITREA and designed by architect Oldřich Hozman, applying Feng Shui. I chose the spicy goulash with vegan “meat” pieces served with wholemeal dumplings for a cost of 175 CZK.
Walking back to my hotel to retire for the day, I gazed at the clock tower for a while which was beautifully lit up at night…
Friday 19 June 2015
A new day, a new dawn as I packed my rucksack to move onto another country today. As I made my way to Prague Hlavni Nadrazi (train station) to catch my 2:42pm train, I was weighed down by my rucksack which is getting heavier each day. I’m not sure what exactly is going into my bag but it’s not an abundance of souvenirs! I settled into my very comfortable first class seat as I headed toward Vienna where I would have to hop onto a connecting train to my destination.
I would have made my connecting train had the RJ79 taking me to Vienna not been 40 minutes late rolling into Wien Hbf in Austria. Having to swallow another reservation fee, I boarded the overnight 8:18pm train from Wien Hbf to Firenze S.M.N. Settling into my 6 berth cabin, I was immediately flashing back to my amazing Trans-Mongolian Express trip and recalling tales of my journey so far to my fellow cabin passengers. Sleeping in the middle bunk, the bed itself was comfortable if not lacking in headroom. It didn’t bother me at all as I wasn’t intending on impersonating Dracula waking from his coffin at any time during the night and banging my head on the underside of the bunk above. As I closed my eyes, I smiled to myself to think I would wake up in yet another country…