Ahoj from Prague
We spent three fantastic days in Prague, a very beautiful city, with huge numbers of tourists all following their tour guides around various parts of the city, listening to commentary in a variety of languages via their individual headphones or the shouting tour guide, swarms of people, moving on-mass all following the guide at the front holding up a distinctively coloured umbrella or car radio aerial decorated with different coloured ribbons……..We took a different approach to discover the delights of the city……The Prague ‘Hop-on Hop-off’ bus system. There seemed to be an abundance of choice of bus companies offering their services….we chose the one called ‘Hop-on Hop-off’ because they had red buses and everyone knows they’re faster! The buses are small, about 20 seats, all with headphones and commentary in about 22 languages……what else could you ask for? The headphone controls are on the back of the seat in front of you, they have up/down volume and up/down language. The headphones that you have on your ears are connected to the box in front of you, well that’s the theory!
We boarded our first bus and began our journey. All started out well except that the headphones I had, had a very very short lead on them. As the bus rounded corners and bounced over the cobblestones, the wires on my headphones pulled and jerked my head around….I pulled on the wire to try to lengthen it to give me a little more freedom as we bounced along on our little journey…..It became obvious that the guy sitting in front of me, who was on the bus when we got on, had my headphones on his head and I was left with his pair! So he was wired to my control box and I to his….I looked at his control box and noticed that he had it set to #03 (English), good for me….I could have had a lot of fun with his volume and given him a trip through 22 different languages, but the easier option was to shift seats.
It was Saturday morning and the streets of Prague were extremely busy. We waited at traffic lights, waited at intersections; Barbara followed our progress on the official ‘hop-on hop-off’ map given to us at the time of ticket purchase. One street was so busy it took about ten or fifteen minutes to move about 200 metres…I saw the same snail go past about 3 times!….then things began to move….we sped up streets, hooning around corners….we were making up for lost time…. we thought! We didn’t know it at the time, but, they, the driver and the guide had changed the route…The guide would make an announcement over the loudspeaker as the little red bus screamed to a halt…this is stop 2, 3, 4 etc…the numbers and stop names didn’t correspond with the map.
Barbara was getting a little ‘testy’. (She was trying to work out where we were, and when to ‘hop off’). As we would drive past places of interest, the headphones would leap into action and pass on a bit of interesting information about the thing you were looking at……you know how it works……..okay, supposed to work! Well, because of the change of route, none of that made sense either… I thought the little ‘red brick’ place down the end of one street was the official Palace…..it was the W.C.! So I found out the next day when we boarded the bus on the proper route with the correct corresponding map and the right headphones on my ears. We were all happy again!
Saturday night…..what will we do? Let’s find a laundromat and do some washing, a standard Saturday night for us these last few weeks! We gathered up all the washing, went down to the Metro Station at the end of the street, and after several attempts on the machines we bought two 30 minute passes on the metro, total, 48 Koruna, (Kč) $A2.20, then made our way down to the tube station on one of the hugest, longest, biggest escalators I have ever seen…… Just a ride on this was worth the 24 Kč each.
After the metro ride, we got out of the train and had another even bigger escalator ride the other end. Definitely worth the money! We found the laundromat,…..’Andy’s Laundromat’, ‘first in Prague’, ‘the original’, ‘serving Prague since 1937’….so the advertising said. It was the most fantastic laundromat in the world without a doubt. They had coffee, a reading/chilling out area with comfy seats and ‘funky’ décor, computers, internet, wi-fi, cold drinks, toilets…you name it, they had it…..did I mention they had ‘washing and drying machines’ as well……If you are ever in Prague and you need to wash your smalls, this is the place to go…It would be worth buying a ticket to Prague to do your washing at ‘Andy’s’…..you could have a look around the rest of the city while you are there!
Lance and Barbara