Jensen Monday Club

Day 10: The Wonders of Prague


Top Touring Tip 9: You can't have too much Red Bull.

Looking back, we should have got Red Bull to sponsor this trip as we must have increased their sales by 400% the amount we drank!

Before we get going, anyone any good at etymology? The reason I ask is that in the English speaking world, the letter "J" is pronounced "Jay", and the letter "Y" is "Wye". In the Scandinavian countries the letter "J" is pronounced "Wye", so Jensen becomes "Yensen". I thought this was particular to the Scandinavian countries, but it was also the pronunciation used at all the borders in the old  Soviet block countries and in Turkey. Is "Jay" the Saxon version of the Nordic "Wye"?

If you have any ideas, please let me know.

It was an odd experience this morning. We had previously arrived in cities too late for dinner, and had to scarper early in the morning, but here in Prague we had arrived in plenty of time for dinner, even having enough time to go sight seeing and have a drink was well, so we sat in the hotel restaurant, with time to enjoy the breakfast, and make plans for the day.

Unquotable Quote: "Do you think that was a portent?"

It's a shame that Prague has become a "Brit's on the Piss" destination for stag and hen parties as there is so much more about the city. It is the highly liberal attitude to drink, drugs and prostitution that has made it such a venue. We stayed in a very smart respectable hotel in the city centre, but we found amongst the tourist information in the reception leaflets for the best brothel in town, and also one for "Discreet Escort Girls for Discerning Gentlemen, Delivered to your Hotel Room" amongst the leaflets for art galleries and museums.

Having seen the 4 page picture leaflet for the brothel, with it's "arctic Jacuzzi room", and just about any other room you could think of, it's difficult not to see how the art galleries might be a bit empty!

But we are made of sterner stuff than that, and culture it was for the day :0(

The hotel we booked into had no rooms available for the second night, so we simply moved into the one next door. As we checked in, coaches pulled up outside and in came about 100 16 year old German school girls.

Has this place no limit to it's temptations!

After a good breakfast we set off sight seeing. We had walked extensively the night before, and had marvelled at the Bohemian glassware that is a speciality of this region.

It was no less impressive in the daylight, but it paled into insignificance at the architecture. I could have filled the 4000 shots available in my camera in Prague alone. It is amazing.

The view from our hotel window was pretty impressive...

but it was nothing compared to the rest of the city

These were just everyday buildings and not even "monuments" as such. We headed for an outdoor photographic exhibition, and found this map of the world you could, if you removed your shoes, walk over.

Chris stands astride our journey from Birmingham to Istanbul like a colossus.

and with one foot in Europe and one in Asia, like our expedition.

It was when we saw this that we realised that if we had carried on driving into Asia we could have driven into north Africa, across Libya, Algeria, and into Morocco, then got a ferry to Spain and driven home from there.

We had discussed this route in our planning phase, but dismissed it as it seem too far, but looking at this map it wasn't, and it was perfectly feasible.

We felt that we had missed an opportunity, and felt a little let down. What we had done was an adventure, but that would have been a real adventure having to drive though Israel, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc.

So to cheers ourselves up we had a HUGE lunch instead. We had tried valiantly to have a 5 hour lunch. The first day in Istanbul we managed about 3 hours, and had a good 2 hours at in Prague, but like the trip to north Africa, the 5 hour lunch eluded us...

Chris's wife Elspeth is Scottish, and we took this picture of a currency exchange which was offering a different exchange rate for British and Scottish pounds.

As Scotland is part of Britain, and the currency is the same, it seemed a little odd.

Czechoslovakia is home to the Skoda car company. The have a long and distinguished history, building high quality luxury cars before the Czech Republic fell under Soviet rule. The cars then were appalling, badly made, but cheap, and so were sold abroad as a means of bringing much needed foreign currency into the country to help out the ailing economy.

The became a complete section of jokes in there own right in the 70's and 80', with almost everyone one, motorist or otherwise, able to tell a Skoda joke. a typical example would be:

Q: Why do Skoda's have heated rear windows?

A: To keep your hands warm when you are pushing them!

Now part of the VW group, they are once again building quality cars, and in some cases reviewers are rating them higher than the VW equivalent. The city took the opportunity to show of Skoda's proud history with sightseeing tours in classic models.

We carried on sightseeing and saw yet more superb buildings

We headed out towards the river, and one of the many bridges

The bridge itself was used by performers and traders and was bustling with activity

And Chris caught me and "Dave the Do" in my Jensen Rugby shirt buying a gift for my girlfriend, Kate. This was to be a peace offering for when she finally got to see "Dave"!

Even the bridge was resplendent with statuary

Chris gets in the spirit and gets all arty...

Prague had had the good sense to keep it's tram system, so the roads were relatively car free and pleasant to walk,

We eventually found ourselves in Wenceslas square (of the "Good King Wenceslas" carol fame) with this amazing clock

and we walked past the birthplace of classical composer Chopin

I was feeling the pace a bit, so went for an afternoon nap, but Chris took to a cafe and whiled away a couple of hours with coffees and Cuban cigars. He even managed to find a car showroom with one of the Dodge Viper V10 engined pickup trucks, which he sat in, and he came over all un-necessary.

Unquotable Quote: "...only if you use a pineapple"

We had heard of the Red Hot and Blues Club, which we fancied for our evenings entertainment and which, as luck would have it, was 2 buildings down from our hotel. He had a cracking feed, some excellent Czech beer, some great live blues, and yet more Cuban cigars.

I could really get into Prague and we go back as soon as I get my next years annual leave...

Go to: Day 11. It was all going so well...