24 October 2018
Arrival in Prague was in darkness. We straggled off the train in ones and twos, no rush as this was the terminus, then rolled the bags along the platform, through the concourse, and out into a cool street. We waited for a few minutes while Michal bought us a group tram ticket, then piled on a number 22 which hurtled us along the streets of Prague, across the Vltava river, and into the street where our hotel is situated. We parked all our luggage in a corner of the breakfast room, then tucked into breakfast, along with some puzzled hotel guests. It would be hours later before we could check into our rooms, so Michal took us on the orientation walk, to show us the basics of how to get around, and number of the monuments. The first impression I got of Prague was of a beautiful city with a large number of architectural gems. Michal explained that in WW2 when Germany threatened to invade, the city capitulated within days, so was largely left unbombed.
Loads of statues, one of King Wenceslas, and the main square had a famous astronomical clock. It told us everything but the time. Mercifully there was a bog standard clock next to it, for the avoidance of doubt.
Signs everywhere on restaurants, shops, information boards etc were all in English to cater for the huge number of tourists from everywhere whose common language it tends to be. We wandered about with the group for a while, then split up to make our way slowly back to the hotel and wait for our rooms to be ready. We walked back, learning a lot about the geography of the city in the process. We sat in the breakfast room for a while, then found that our room was in fact ready, so checked in and settled down for an afternoon nap.
At five thirty we mustered in reception, and caught a tram to the city centre, and went to the Dancing House, a spectacular modern building on the bank of the river, where for the price of a drink you can go up on the roof terrace and survey the whole panorama, while being blown around by the wind. So we did that, then moved to another Prague hotspot, Mosaic, a decidedly funky restaurant/bar/comedy club. We had our last group dinner there, with lots of laughter and anecdote. Ju and I rounded off the evening with a dram of Laphroaig each.
Then back to the hotel, tomorrow is our last day........