Thursday 31st August – Chabarovice, Czech Republic
We entered Czech via a secondary road and received a bit of a culture shock. The roads were horrific and in really bad condition. The first town we passed through was the worst we had seen. Buildings dilapidated, ugly grey coloured cement buildings – very depressing and with the rain coming down, it was dark and dismal which didn’t help our first impression of this country. We have experienced this a few times now when we have left one country into a poorer country, the towns and roads just across the border have been sadly neglected.
Our stop for the night was not far over the border and was beside a lake.
Campsite for tonight: Autokemp Chabarovice – 2 nights
Mostly accommodated tourists in cabins with about 5 spots for vans or campers or tents. Still raining when we arrived and didn’t let up for two days. Didn’t get to walk anywhere – first time we have had such bad weather for two days straight.
Internet was good so took advantage of our down time to do research on Prague.
Would not recommend this place as drinking water only available by the bucket – no grey water disposal area – chemical toilet disposal was dumping this into a toilet in the men’s block – not pleasant as other motorhomers would know. Showers were at an additional cost as was power – we have not got any Czech money yet – so not an option. Happily used Ziggy for showers as the campsite showers looked like they were extremely old and dirty and filled up the water tanks by bucket before we left.
Probably in better weather conditions, the lakeside would have made this place more attractive.
2nd – 5th September – Prague
The countryside and buildings and roads improved dramatically as we ventured closer to Prague – expected this and with the help of our new NAVIE, had no trouble finding our campsite for the next few days.
Campsite for 3 nights: Autocamp Dana Troja, Prague
Reviews for this place were excellent and though more expensive than some others, we can’t recommend this place highly enough. Only very small (maximum 12 motorhomes), it is set in a garden that once was an orchard. Apple trees still nestled between the sites, had a good crop of delicious red apples there for the picking, though this short person needed the services of my best friend to reach apples high up on the lower branches 😊
The service provided by the owners was the best by far of all the places we have stayed in and nothing was too much trouble. They even offered to put my washing on and hang on the line while we went touring. Tram tickets are organised at reception and they offer money exchange from euros at the best rate we saw anywhere. Trip into Old Town only takes 10-15 minutes by tram.
Most places in Prague take either euros or Czech koruna (CZK) which made life very easy. Even menus in restaurants show both prices and have English translations.
We had three fabulous days in Old Town (Stare Mesto) , Lesser Town (Mala Strana), New Town (Nova Mesto) and Castle District (Hradcany). This area is the largest of any of the cities we have visited to date. Only our pictures can show how magically different this city is – but again none do it justice.
Prague is one of the most beautiful cities we have seen. It’s uniquely preserved historical centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site reflects eleven centuries of history. This culturally rich city is full of fabulous monuments and diverse architecture. Spires and domes, statues, buildings showcasing fabulous paintings, on the outside as well as inside, parks and gardens and boats filled with tourists travelling up and down the Vitava River – so much to see at every corner.
The main square in Old Town is filled with thousands and thousands of tourists all standing and looking in awe – in every direction – just too much to take in all at once. Buskers in every corner. Horses and carriages (for the romantically inclined), colourful restored antique cars (for the “look at me” tourists) and electric big wheel bikes were among some of the forms of transport offered.
It took a couple of days to stroll down most of the streets which included visits to the Old Town Hall and Astronomical Clock where the 12 apostles appear on the hour; Cathedral of Our Lady before Tyn (another impressive Gothic Cathedral) and St Nicholas Church and too many more to mention. Thoroughly enjoyed the stroll across Charles Bridge from Old Town to the Castle District – for every tourist a must do to see the rich sculptural decorations and statues at ever few metres along this bridge.
Treated ourselves several times to pub and restaurant stops for a pint or two and the footlong bread rolls with kobasa sausage, sauerkraut and sauce and mustard – yummy!
Also just had to have the local treat here Trdelnik which can be eaten on its own or stuffed with ice cream and other sweet things. It tastes a bit like donuts but is a sweet rolled pastry encrusted with sugar and cooked on a rotisserie. Certainly a favourite with the local bees who swarm around anyone eating one of these – double yummy and- yes – the weight is getting harder to control.
Cathedral of St Vitus is one of the 10 top cathedrals in the world to visit. It stands high on the hill in the Prague Castle precinct. Just breathtaking, can’t find words to describe this Gothic cathedral that took over 600 years to build.
We toured through the Old Royal Palace and St George’s Basilica and then down Golden Lane which are a row of small houses built in the castle grounds to house workers and marksmen who defended the castle. Stayed long enough to see the pomp and ceremony of the changing of the guards at the palace.
The public transit system is really great – very fast and very punctual, however travelling on this type of system in another country where all the signage is in the home country language can be a challenge.
On our first trip into Prague Old Town we were not sure as to which tram stop to get off – we knew it was probably about the sixth stop – when it was about the fifth stop I asked my Navigator if she could see the sign announcing the name of the station – she replied it is Zákaz Kouření. I smiled and laughed and said no that means “No smoking”. The only reason I knew was because I had looked it up on Google Translate previously.
A fairytale city that could take one a week or more to truly see everything.
Sadly we left on Tuesday morning with a basket full of delicious apples and so many memories.