Mai 162016
11-Prague in the Rain

Today is supposed to be the first city highlight on his tour: Sightseeing in Prague!

The kitchen at the Zizkov Camp in Prague at least allows me to have my breakfast in a warm(-ish) building - the door cannot be closed and it's still only 7 degrees ...

But hot coffee and some food quickly lets me forget the cold night and the giggling partygoers who returned around 5 am, waking me from a light sleep.

At breakfast I team up with Claudia, the cyclist taking off on a tour to Asia and who knows were, since both of us feel that doing a sightseeing trip together would be more enjoyable than alone.

The best way to visit Prague is by tram, which runs frequently and is cheap - 24 KC (Czech cronas) or about 1 Euro per trip. Compare this to 4€ in cities like Hamburg or Essen!

And the tram line took me directly down to the Old Town City Center. Wonderful. However, the weather wasn't wonderful at all. Rainshowers on and off all day. But walking across Charles Bridge ("Karluv Most") with its world famous towers and gates from the 13th century,  and then hiking up the hill to Prague Castle, founded in the 9th century, is a major treat even in drizzling rainfall and the occasional sprint to take cover from the downpour wasn't too bad, either.

But then another drawback: I had intended to take a guided tour of Prague Castle because the interior is said to be absolutely magnificent. Coming up to the castle I saw a queue for tickets and my heart sank. At least an hour's wait for tickets and then the same crawling, congested and stifling amount of people from every country on the planet during the walking tour inside the castle and the other sights included in the ticket were absolutely discouraging!

On the lookout for some hot coffee to at least soften the frustration of having to give up on the guided tour and switching over to a walking tour of the Old Town the two of us come to a huge crowd looking up at a place on a wall I couldn't see. What were a thousand tourists pointing their cameras at? Walking a couple of steps into the crowd and turning round I saw the astronomical clock on the wall of the Old City Hall of Prague. It was about to ring out 11 am. The chimes were set off by a figure of the Reaper and accompanied by revolving figures of bishops and other people from public offices. Since we had already decided to climb up to the top of the Town Hall Tower with its view of the city we ran to the ticket office even while the clock was still chiming - and not a second too late because about 500 people queued for tickets right behind us!

The view from above the city was absolutely great! I have never before been to Prague and most of my expectations are based on vague memories of wartime stories, the history of Emperor Charles, whose relation with the city of Aachen I am much more familiar with, and the stories of citizens from the GDR who smuggled books from Prague back home to their "Socialist" home. Prague in the 80s was a place more open to western books, music, films than East Berlin at the time.

But now I understand that even young people today are fascinated by the views of this city. Plus, the city is said to have a very exciting Night Life and Clubbing scene - not that I would personally be too keen on it. It's a great city for "young" people (as opposed to "young at heart" 🙂 ) Tomorrow I'll be off towards the south west and Bavaria ....

Last thoughts: Don't EVER pack your cycling equipment in warm weather .... even if you're going on a trip in May to July .... 🙁

The following pictures might lead to the conclusion that the humble author is exaggerating with the weather, but the ray of sunshine you might find was followed about 10 seconds later by another downpour ... html body ul#lightGallery0 li .overlay_easy{background-color:#666;} jQuery(document).ready(function() { jQuery('#lightGallery0').lightGallery({ desc : , caption : , mode : 'slide', size : '', }); });      
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