Skip to main content

The kingdom and the castle

After a very comfortable night's sleep we arrived downstairs to a breakfast that included Kristina's famous hot toasties. Saving our legs we bought day tickets on Pragues public transport system and caught a tram down to Prague's funicular.

The line runs up to Petrin, through a pretty park. Alex loudly declaimed his  Daddy's error in referring to a male driver when in fact a lady turned up.
At the top of the hill are a series of religious sites, an observation tower and a playground. Alex emulated a young girl in climbing high up a rope tower.


It was a pretty walk through the cool misty air under the green and yellow trees. We were following Kristina's recommended route to the back of Prague castle but made a tiring mistake going down the hill, then having to return up the stairs, Alex perched on my shoulders.

Towards the castle there were beautiful views across Prague, looking to the old town. We passed a small vineyard, then walked past a gauntlet of tourist stores on our way to the entrance. Alex had by now fallen asleep and was uncomfortable to carry.

We purchased the short tour tickets to the castle, reputedly the world's largest, enabling us to see a reduced number of sights. First was St Vitus cathedral, where we had to wake Alex up to see the grotesque gargoyles jutting out from the ornate exterior. The inside was lit by light through the colourful stained glass windows.


From there was the rather dour old royal palace building, with its focus on record keeping, then the Basilica of St George, not grand at all compared with the one dedicated to St Vitus.

Finally, at the bottom of the complex was Golden Lane and Daliborka Tower, old houses with their original decore, an alchemist's meth lab and a tower full of suits of armour (including one for the chicken mascot). Alex ran around shouting out "Sawadee! Sawadee!" until I explained that this wasn't Thailand. Amazing what he remembers!




We caught the wrong tram to take us back to Andel, stopping off at a touristy square where we ate a Czech pub lunch of pork, dumplings and vegetables. Then back on the right tram this time. While B wandered around and shopped I took Alex to see Railroad Kingdom, a massive and still growing model railway display of major Czech sights. It will be much more impressive when finished.

There are also toy train displays, such as Lego and Chuggington, though these are static, along with driver's eye views from the train and Xbox games to play. It's very kid friendly with child sized toilets, kids videos projected on a big screen and a play area that held Alex's attention for a while.
Prague appears to be very child friendly, with lots of play facilities and thought put into entertaining kids. The only problem, as Kristina says, is how many people smoke everywhere.
Kristina kindly allowed us to keep our room until departure, so Alex and B had showers before we sadly said goodbye and carried our luggage off to the metro.
At Prague's central station we encountered our first turnstile equipped pay toilets, at Alex's insistence. We were catching another overnighter, this one to Zurich in Switzerland. There were a few subtle differences between this service and the last one to Prague, apart from the female attendant. There was already orange juice and a welcome champagne waiting for us in the room, we were facing the other side of the tracks. Worst was the inability to stop the flow of warm air into the cabin - changing the dial seemed to have no effect, making the ride hot and stuffy. The attendant recommended that we open the top window. Apart from that I looked forward to another comfortable night train ride.

I'd be happy to return to Prague. It's an interesting city and we've only scratched the surface of the country. There is plenty for kids to do and if we do come back we'll definitely want to stay at Aparthotel City 5. It's so friendly and such a home away from home. I feel certain that it will be the most memorable accomodation of this trip.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A lazy day at the beach

It's 2am and somebody is still setting fireworks off on the beach in front of the hotel. I can't see the explosions as I have the window shuttered, but I can still hear them. I've wanted to have a lazy day and today was the closest I got. I woke up in the night from a very sad dream. Dreams follow crazy paths, but this one resolved itself as so. An entity had been causing disruption of computer systems around the world. It turned out that this entity had emerged from the computer networks and had been struggling to gain access to more computing power so that it could live. The entity had taken on the persona of a woman. The protagonist who had "defeated" the entity discovered that it was alive, spoke to it. Ultimately fell in love with her. But his prior actions would lead to its death. As a gift to her he downloaded his memories so that she could experience life even as she died. I know it sounds like a pulpy sf or technopunk plot, but dreams are about feeling

Insanity at 40,000 feet - Part 2

We could relax for a moment. The gate lounges at Kuala Lumpur's LCCT were crowded, but our gate was not yet open. Once it was we quickly made out way outside for the long walk to the aircraft. The terminal offered no air conditioned respite from the tropical weather outside and we were perspiring on both sides of the gate. It's a pity that taking photos on the tarmac is forbidden, because the tropical evening sun cast a beautiful orange-gold light. Our flight to Singapore was on an AirAsia A320, the workhorse of a low cost carrier. The legroom was shorter, but still adequate and the width felt greater than their longer cousin we had just flown. Alex sat at the window and was excited to see the world outside, chattering loudly. Captain Raj gave a detailed, but clear, explanation of the flight, listing runways and routes like an aircraft enthusiast. We launched into hazy grey skies that were soon dark for a very typical hour long flight to Singapore.

The sound of running water

We made it home from Osaka. There is a special feeling that comes when your arrive at your house after a holiday. It is utter relaxation. No longer do you need to worry about other language or customs. There is no need to look up directions, to plan out your day, to journey between sights. Then again, you now need to clean up your own mess, to make your own bed. Rather than eat out you need to cook your own dinner. The shower is weak and the toilet doesn't wash your bum. And you need to wake up early tomorrow morning in order to spend a day at work. You are back to your old routine. Looking back upon this holiday in Japan I've decided that the theme of running water has applied to each of the days. Sunday - Arrival in Osaka - washing ourselves Japanese style Monday - Matsuyama - water from the hot springs at Dogo Onsen Tuesday - Takamatsu - waterfall at Ritsuen-koen Wednesday - Tsumago - streams of water throughout the town Thursday - Takayama - the sounds of rushing water e