Not intending on wasting another day chasing after my useless insurance company to get my window replaced, I braved temperatures of -12 degrees Celsius and headed off into central Prague. It seemed straight forward enough – catch the 103 bus to Ladvi metro station and then that would take me into town. I paid the driver for my ticket and managed to understand that I had to stamp it in a machine before we set off – simples. I sat near the front with my faithful MP3 player on and became aware of a young man standing next to me with his hand out. Now with French and German you can pick up certain words and roughly understand what someone is saying but the Czech language is a whole different kettle of fish. I just assumed he was selling the metal discs in his hand or begging so I shook my head and said ‘No thank you’ only for him to reply that he was in fact a ticket inspector and could he see my ticket please. I have never felt like such a prize Muppet as I did right then. Of course I have to keep my nearest and dearest at home updated so off went a text explaining my stupid mistake. I then get replies saying my so called friends are standing in shops and sitting in offices crying with laughter and ringing other people to pass it on! You’d think I made a habit of doing such daft things. I’d already had an email this morning from a mate who was amazed and amused that I’d managed to travel 1500 miles without any problems only to wipe out my window when entering the campsite – these people have no faith.
Prague had changed quite a bit in the 10 years since I last visited. There are new housing developments going up all over the place – nice looking places as well and not the personality lacking boxes we seem capable of erecting in the UK. There were more McDonald’s on every major street and Starbucks everywhere – not that I’m complaining as I’ve now made it my mission to visit a branch in every town we end up in. A Latte is a Latte in any language and I like an easy life. After warming up over a coffee I headed down Wenceslas Square towards to Old Town. As it was almost 2 o’ clock I hung around to take in the Astronomical Clock which I hadn’t seen ‘perform’ the last time I was here. I have heard and read that most people say ‘Is that it?’ and by Jove they’re right. A huge crowd puller for not a great deal of entertainment – nice to look at though. Off then to cross ‘my’ bridge and the one and only reason for my 1st visit. Years and years ago I had never really heard of Prague nor paid any attention to Eastern Europe. Then I saw the INXS video for ‘Never Tear us Apart’ and I was in love. I had to visit ‘that’ bridge and here I am again. There is something spectacular about this cobbled, statue lined bridge which is nearly 700 years old. It’s beautiful and it’s romantic – a lot more so if all of the tourists would bugger off and leave us in peace for 10 minutes. This is the place where marriage proposals should be made as the sun sets. Onto St Nicholas Church – a place I stumbled upon quite by accident the last time and which took my breath away. The interior of this church is just beyond words and as I walked in it really bough a lump to my throat. I don’t do religion but places like this you have to marvel at and they give you a sense of peace for a few minutes. I met a lovely man in the Charles Bridge Museum. He thought I spoke very good English which is quite an accomplishment when I am English. He was an Engineer from Cuba and seemed to love and appreciate the bridge as much as I did – damn I should’ve snapped him up. As the light was fading I decided to call it a day and return the next. Apparently people in Bedworth are still wetting themselves over my exploits so I guess I’ll have to better myself tomorrow.