Saturday, 26 June 2010


So for the past few days I've been in the Czech Republic on holiday with my mum. I've always wanted to go to Prague - it looked gothicky and old and medieval and I love all that stuff. Plus, there's a town nearby called Kutna Hora and well... I'll talk about that later.

It was my mum's 50th birthday on the Wednesday (but shh, don't tell anyone!) and we wanted to do something special for it. Being in a foreign country for your birthday is pretty special so there we were.

We stayed in a 'botel.' That's a boat... hotel, geddit? It was called the Botel Racek (left) and when we first booked the holiday we thought 'a boat? Cool!' After reading the reviews about the boat, mostly bad, we were rather less enthused. The rooms looked tiny, people had complained that the food was bad, that the staff were unfriendly, that it was too far from the centre of the city...

I try to be optimistic. I was thinking it couldn't possibly be as bad as people were making out.  When we got there, we saw that it kinda was as bad as we had heard. The staff were very friendly and helpful, apart from the guy who checked us in who, for some reason, thought we hadn't paid and wanted 28 euros a night up front. Um... no, mister! We asked for a non-smoking room which, luckily, had a river view. So that was nice. But the beds were tiny, I have no idea how anybody bigger than me coped in those rooms, and I'm 5'4 and a size 6. The beds were also rock hard and had one super soft pillow. A pillow which needed to be folded at least four times before your head would stop sinking through it. The bathroom stank. It smelled like a very large, very wet dog had crawled in there and died. And it was tiny. The toilet was inches from the door, the sink and shower also. The photo on the right was taken from outside the bathroom.

It also happened to be several miles from the centre of Prague. And we walked it almost every day (I say almost, there was one day when I had heels on and refused to walk any farther, so we let the Czech taxi drivers rip us off and drive us back.) On the plus side, I'm way fitter than I thought I was. We probably walked around five miles a day and not once was I out of breath or had aching legs. Aching feet, yes, but my legs were fine.

I would like to talk about the toilets in Prague. Toilet paper in the Czech Republic is grey. A bit like cardboard. Also, like cardboard, it's pretty rough. But hey, it's better than nothing, right? Toilet doors rarely seem to have locks on them either, which makes visiting the bathroom a pretty nerve racking experience. I need to pee, but what do I do? Do I wait? Do I hope we find another loo soon? Do I sit with one leg outstretched to keep the door shut? Do I ask someone to stand guard? (Someone did once, a nice English lady who now lived in New Zealand.)

Speaking of the English, we seem to end up doing similar things on holiday. If you see someone doing the same as you, they're probably English. We went into Debenhams (yes, not very Czech, I know) to use the loo (go when you can, seriously!) and after finding the loos after a while, discovered that it cost 10 crowns to go. I went and peered at the door and the sign saying how to pay, then I backed off. As I was hovering around I saw two older women go and do the same. Clearly, they had as much idea of how to work it as I did and I figured they were English. I had another look as they retreated and after finding a 10 coin in my purse, I unlocked the bathroom. I called the ladies back as there was more than one toilet in there. Why one person has to pay, yet there is more than one toilet in the room is beyond me, but there you go. As we left the bathroom we held the door open for another English lady. I'm just nice like that.

I'm talking about toilets too much aren't I? Sorry.

So, Prague. We had several excursions. A couple of city tours and two trips out of the city, one to Karlovy Vary and one to Kutna Hora. Kutna Hora has an Ossuary, a 'bone church.' Basically, this was my reason for wanting to visit the Czech Republic. Decorations made from the remains of 40,000 humans? Awesome. All the bones were from people who died naturally, apart from some skulls you can see in glass cases, which were from soldiers - you can see the wounds to their heads.

I loved it. Apparently, not to everybody's liking though. Strange that.

Finally, I'll talk about the shops. Mostly, they sell crap. Touristy crap. Just like Seaton (a seaside town near to where I live). Some sell interesting things and I suppose the farther away from the tourist centre you go, the less crap gets sold. Makes sense. In one shop, where I'd just gone to buy a present for my friend back home who was kindly looking after my plants for me, I had one of the sales guys telling me about how Absinth is like Viagara. Then he kept winking at me. And then, after I'd bought my gift, he asked me to come back later. Of course I said yes and of course I never went back. What, do you think I'm crazy?!

I'll finish with a picture of me on holiday, to prove I was there.

1 comment:

  1. I still reckon you should have tried the public transport! My sister spent a lot of time in Czech last year though, she reckons they're a surly sort of people overall. The hotel sounds awful but I just figure a city with all that great architecture can't be too bad...