Friday, 20 July 2012

Day 13 - 14th July, Poděbrady

This afternoon the usual gang went to Prague, minus S of course, who was already there. The train journey was rather boring, but as we had got one of the modern three-tier trains, we got to sit on the top part of the train which was exciting. For about five minutes. When we got to Prague, we grabbed the metro to Vyšehrad, where the settlement of Prague first began. Getting the metro in the Czech Republic was rather simple, a bit like you do in France; you pay for how long you are on the metro, rather than the journey to where you will end up, as you do in London. As such, you can get a metro ticket for 25 minutes, 2 hours (I think…) or a whole day one. I’m also guessing you can get commuter ones too. 

It was lovely and sunny by the time we got to Vyšehrad, which was a bonus as the majority of it is outside. We had a nice wonder around the old castle bit, which leads you up a hill to the Vyšehrad Cemetery and the Church of St. Peter and Paul at Vyšehrad. The Vyšehrad cemetery is like a who’s who of famous and wealthy Czechs. Amongst those buried there are Karel Čapek (a famous Czech author) and Alphonse Mucha (a famous Czech artist, who I talked about a bit in one of my earlier posts). We wandered around for a bit, looking for our favourite famous Czechs before going over to the Church. Whilst I was walking round the cemetery I noticed that the Czech VIPs were buried with their families, usually spouse and children. I was thought it was quite sweet that your family got to be buried in the graveyard with you, as if the Czech government was honouring the families that quite often support and encourage the authors, artists etc. and not just the famous person themselves. 

The inside of the Church of St. Peter and Paul at Vyšehrad was beautiful, with icon-like paintings of various Saints (most of whom I’d never heard of, so I’m guessing they were Czech Saints) adorning the pillars. As with all churches, it was beautifully peaceful and calm. After taking about half an hour to actually find a way down from Vyšehrad, we decided to walk along the river towards the centre of Prague, where we were meeting S and her boyfriend for dinner. Following about 40 minutes of walking, we split up, with Sheffield!Nic, Jones, Mike and T heading towards the Karlov Bridge and German!Mike and I heading into the shopping district, as I wanted a big Czech dictionary, and German!Mike wanted a specific book of poems by a Czech author he is studying next year. After getting rather lost in a one particular bookshop, I found what I was looking for and German!Mike and I went to join the others. We met up with S and her boy, and headed to the restaurant.

The restaurant specialised in Afghanistan cuisine , which turned out to very similar to Greek . Sheffield!Nick, Jones, S and Mike all had the restaurant’s signature cocktail…which turned out to be exactly like tzatziki , the yoghurt sauce you usually get with lamb at Greek restaurants! All apart from Sheffield!Nick ended up ordering another drink, and Mike was whining about the 50 kc he had spent on the drink for quite a while. When our food turned up, almost all of it was covered in yoghurt. Nick had however, ordered a korma. And his face when this tiny little dish of what looked like one meatball covered in sauce was placed in front of him…

After eating, we headed back into the centre to check out an ice-cream parlour that S and her boyfriend were raving about. I had a pistachio ice-cream, which was delicious, and huge! We wondered through Prague city centre, taking the scenic route back to the station whilst eating our ice-creams, meaning that we got to see Prague at its busiest and most exciting. This did however involve a guy dressed up in medieval gear spraying water at our legs for no apparent reason. As you do. 

Instead of getting a modern train back to Poděbrady, we hopped on an old-fashioned one, complete with leather-style seats and compartments!! We didn’t manage to get a compartment, but the whole feel of the train as we headed back was a lovely ending to an amazing day.

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