Waking late, we ran to the train station in order to catch our early-morning train to Prague. The station was packed, as expected, and we spent our last few coins on some water for the journey. The ride was pleasant enough and we had fun playing musical chairs again. There wasn't all that much to see out of our windows but lots of greenery. We passed a village called Levice which has a small castle high on a hill overlooking the village, and about an hour later passed what looked like a building site with a big pile of sand or stones, I couldn't tell, with three towers which were made to look like turrets with little flags on top. We also passed lots of pretty churches and an army vehicle junk yard full of broken helicopters, planes and tanks, at which John wanted to stop (especially after a guy we had met in Munich told us that his Dad had bought a tank for only £1000) but unfortunately (!) we whizzed right past it and further into the Czech Republic. The journey was pretty long, 4½ hours, and when not moving seats or gazing out of the window at castles, I spent the time making lists.
It was a refreshing (supposed) 19 degrees when we got to Prague, though it still felt quite muggy and warm under the blanket of clouds. We took a Metro (so clean!) and then a bus to our hostel and checked into the largest and most full dorm in the universe - 14 beds, though by the mess you'd think it was more like 40 - and headed straight back into the city. Near the bus stop we saw some graffiti of a reclining nude signed by "Kickasso" and a man with a ferret in his satchel.
Prague is very pretty, though it was so full of people we didn't really get to enjoy it much initially. We got such an early train that we forgot to have both breakfast and lunch so at around 3pm we decided we should probably eat something and stopped at a pizzeria to have a cheap meal. It was such a nice change from pasta and soup! Walking through the streets you are surrounded by tourists and souvenir shops, and we ended up going into a couple simply because I could no longer resist the Bohemian Crystal and its taunting sparkles! More glass animals awaited us, we saw a sausage dog and, not a pentapus, but a quadropus (or a demipus if you like) and masses of other sparkly bits and pieces. Prague certainly knows how to do tourist tat, it is wonderful! The few snowstorms we saw were all a bit too nice, quite fancy in fact, and this was evident from the price. I will have to resist until I see a tackier (and cheaper) version, I think. We were drawn into a shop full of beautifully carved wooden chess sets, daggers, shields, mini crossbows and a crossbow pistol. John was tempted, but I'm pretty sure we wouldn't be able to get it through customs... On the other half of the same shop were long lines of utterly gorgeous, intricately-painted Russian dolls. Passing picture shops and galleries along a side street, we spied some very cool 3D postcards and a cat-themed gallery.
We stopped at a supermarket called Albert, which had a fruit and vegetable covered painted cow at the main entrance, fish in tanks at the back of the shop and a travellator in the centre. I could faintly hear 'The Winner Takes It All' by Abba being played and was relieved to hear that I wasn't the only person singing along when I overheard a lady singing in the dairy section. We saw another purple-rinsed old lady, the most vivid purple yet, some water bottles that looked like hand-grenades and bought some cereal with a weasel in a hat on the box. The day was further brightened when I received a text from Miss Kaz Tew, and very much hope that she a splendid time at the Chap Olympics with Mr Biddle, Mr Kennington and Mr Dean. We were thinking of you all, but didn't so much as see a moustache today, most disappointing.
We bussed back to the hostel in the rain, where we drank Slice Cola and sorted out our bunks. The room is, as I said, very full and smells distinctly of socks and students. It's not only the most unpleasant smell we have encountered on our travels, but also the least ventilated room in existence. We sat in the lounge in the evening, as people milled around, and John enjoyed both of our free "welcome" beers while reading about castles nearby. Unfortunately, as well as being stinky, a lot of the people here are obnoxious and rude. It's such a shame as Prague was one of the places I was most looking forward to coming to and I wouldn't like to think that horrible people will taint our stay. We have three castles to enjoy while we're here so I don't think John will even notice!
We had a nice night time wander around the immediate area and I phoned William to get the lowdown on the Olympics. He sounded in highest of spirits (could that have been down to the G&T?) and said that a marvellous time was had by all.
Everyone in our dorm was out for the night so we settled down to another early night, to the wonderful sound of silence.