Friday, August 17, 2007
Hollingdrake Tours Inc.
Sme blogging. We did it! We got to Prague. It was 3,500kms all up (well actually 3,535 which I thought was a nice number, cos I'm into numbers).
Our final entry to Prague was not an ideal way to enter a city but that's life. We'd been following the Czech "Greenways" cycle route that goes from Vienna to Prague for a couple of days. It has natty little yellow signs that are usually very easy to find and follow and goes through lots of little villages and along nice quiet country roads. We didn't have a map of Prague and thought we'd be able to follow the Greenways signs into the centre. Um, no. Our signs ran out in the communist housing blocks on the outskirts and after a few dead ends, lugging bikes up stairs and generally getting very geographically embarrassed, we took the advice of a very nice cyclist to catch the metro into the centre.
We found our hostel very easily and got tidied up to hit the town. We caught up with the lovely Simon Hollingdrake who had lived in Prague for 3 years before gracing Australia with his presence. Simon showed us his Prague which was brilliant. I had been there 14 years before (not long after communism finished, but long enough for the first McDonalds to open - thank god for progress) and was amazed at how the city had changed.
LOADS of tourists, golly, lots and lots. Many of the buildings had been renovated and had swanky shops. A great vibe. Simon did his level best to undo our good work by taking us out drinking and eating but we just don't have the stamina. Two beers and another great Czech meal in a smokey restaurant and we'd be needing our little hostel bed. We did manage to be out until about 1am one night - party animals!
A line was drawn under the end of the trip (for me anyway) when we sold the bikes. We found a very nice home for them at a bike hire shop. We cleaned them, took our saddles, pedals and computers off. I actually got a little bit teary leaving them there, that funny little bike had been my transport for 3 months and had done a very good job of it. For a fairly basic mountain bike, they functioned really well. Armed with the cash (good price for all concerned) from our sale, we purchased cheap nasty wheely bags that we hope will last until Sydney.
The rest of our time in Prague was spent wandering around, dodging monsoonal rain showers, looking at lovely buildings, eating, drinking and talking tosh with Simon and his fabulous mate Chris. A really relaxing and fun way to finish the continental European leg of the holiday.