Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Saturday 4 July 2009

Prague Spring

Perhaps it was too late in the year to call it Spring, but Prague was a welcome sight and a welcoming city. So what’s it like as a destination? Is it true that most Brits go there in pursuit of entering a state of advanced alcoholic derangement? Is there any problem with making yourself understood? How do you get downtown from the airport, and get around? What are the hotels like?

The sights of Prague are well known: Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, Tyn Church (which overlooks Old Town Square), the Astrological Clock, St Vitus Cathedral, and of course the statue of King Wenceslas on his horse at the south east corner of the square that bears his name. There’s a “City Tour” here, and for those wanting to see a bit more of the city, some extras here.

And here’s the boring bit: in four days, I had no language problems. Everyone I needed to communicate with – in supermarkets, hotel and restaurants – spoke decent English. So yet again, good for Brits abroad, despite their shameful lack of language learning. And it was pleasantly warm – but be warned: it can be bitterly cold in winter.

Drinks? More drinks? Too many drinks? I’ve no doubt that there is an element of Brits Abroad (tm) dedicated to excess, but probably no more than in many other European cities and resorts. Have a good sit down nosh, and linger over chat and beers – that’s agreeable, and the locals tend to do it too. From my hotel on the corner of Namesti I P Pavlova (very convenient for the tram and metro), a walk down Jecna revealed plenty of eateries with staff happy to keep the Pilsener Urquell coming. It’s not expensive. Relax.

Hotels are not expensive – well, not if you can get B&B in a three star one at less than fifty notes a night. Many places have their own websites, and in any case, there are always places like roomsnet where you can book and reserve beforehand.

How to get around? This is not difficult – trust me on this one. The local public transport provider has counters in both Terminals 1 and 2 at the airport. They speak English (again!) and can sell you all the tickets you need – beforehand. You validate them as you need: a one journey ticket on the first bus or tram (or on entering the Metro ticket area), and day tickets on the first trip only. A regular bus service – number 119 – takes you from the airport to the Metro terminus at Dejvicka, and from there it’s quick and easy. Learn to love trams – they’ll take you up to the Castle, around the city, and back from evenings out. All for around three quid a day.

And don’t worry about getting that camera out and pointing it at something that just caught your eye. It’s not like the UK, you know.

No comments: