Now Wednesday evening and the eve of our departure from Plzen and the Czech Republic. Our room here in Plzen at Pension U Salzmannu has been a great base to soak up some Czech food, beer, culture, and to be lost in a language rather beyond our Australian imagination. A few polite words of greeting and thanks are about all we can manage. Thank goodness for the helpful and friendly locals who have a ‘little’ English. Below our window is the tram stop – I love the sound of the trams as they rumble up the hill, squeal to a halt, ring their bell and roll off again. From the street our window can be seen as the one that is open with washing hanging off window handles to catch the sun and the breeze. Despite the chill in the evenings we love to leave the windows open. Partly to air our clothes of the ever present smoke from the bars and restaurants. Always a shock to non smoking Australians!
A day trip to Prague was a definite highlight. Our third visit to this beautiful city. A great feeling to be familiar with this place and be able to navigate directly to some of our favourite spots and to discover some new places. The old city is just beyond description. Wonders around every corner and if you can stay off the main tourist drag and avoid the tour groups with good timing it is so rewarding. David Cerny’s emotive, political statements through sculpture are treasures to be found and discovered. My first visit to Prague 4 years ago overwhelmed me when I entered Vaclavske nam and relised this was the place where my father was committed to hang in the mock trials of the early 1950’s. Fortunately the regime had to suffice with ‘in absentia’ and he lived to see Australia as his new home. This visit the emotion hit me at the John Lennon wall as we left our message for peace and acknowledged those who took a stand for freedom.
Today in Plzen a mixed day of riding the trams to their limits to explore all corners, discovering hot chocolate to die for at Andel cafe (needed a spoon to eat it), being front row at the town hall as the Czech President Milos Zeman emerged to greet the public, discovering the size of Skoda and what they make, viewing a strange collection of modern art, eating goulash, pork, duck and apple strudel with a bottle of Bohemian Sekt.
Ahhhh Czech you are in my blood!
Sunday afternoon in a bar (where else would I be in plzen?) enjoying a glass of Habanske red wine (yes I’m having a short break from Pilsener beer!) The day has ended in Australia where my 3 sons have all sent heartfelt greetings to me for Mother’s Day. They have already moved into their new week. The time difference creates odd moments like this. Friends on Facebook have read their greetings before I have seen it! Thankyou boys and love you all heaps.
Back to Pilzen – why are we here? Hadn’t been here before and wanted to explore more of Czech ( the land of my father). It’s also pretty renowned for it’s beer.
Travelling in by train from Germany caused the usual flutter of my heart as we crossed into Czech. Now the border is not noticeable, no stopping, no sign. Very different from my father’s last years spent in his homeland. A time of turmoil and oppression. I am drawn to this land as it forms one deep root of the family tree and yet most of it is still a mystery. The history, the culture, the land, the people, the language – I learn a little more with each visit.
Staggering production figures, huge copper kettles, 5 week brew, triple heat, massive influence on the world beer market. Local restaurants serve unpasteurised tank beer.
Cobbled streets, uneven, the noise made by car tyres rolling over the cobbles always reminds me of some cloak and dagger spy movie. Narrow streets in old towns, roads meeting in a … Platz sometimes confusing to decide on a path to follow. Arnulfsplatz today had 8 choices of streets to exit by! The upper reaches of the Danube meeting the Regen. A long river cruiser docking in the lock. A ‘bowl’ of coffee this morning and by afternoon I’ve changed my order to a macchiato. A challenge with ordering food from a menu not understood but helpful wait staff try to find the English words to explain. Traditional Bavarian beer garden serving Schnitzel large enough to feed 2 and have some left to take home for the neighbours dog. Icecream shops a popular stop as are the small cafés and bars. People walking and riding bikes, very few cars in the old town. Beautiful Regensburg.
Guten Tag. Sitting on the banks of the Danube in Regensburg after way too many hours sitting in a plane. Taking in the sites and immersing ourselves back into Europe. The best sausage und beer at Historische Wurstkuchl – the oldest sausage inn in the world – been serving them up for over 500 years! This isn’t the inn just the building we’re looking up at! Soft greens of European trees, bird life, history, architecture, languages not spoken, happy hash house harriers running along the banks of the river trying to follow their maps. Oops then the same ones running past again, lost? Kayakers trialling the Strudel (whirlpools) under the Old Stone Bridge. Beer tavern, more good food and finally a great sleep. Points to me for the first accom booking – a 5 star private apartment in old town 50 m to river. Success on this one. Regensburg, Germany a beautiful old city UNESCO world heritage site listed in 2006.
G&T thanks Greg! Cheers holiday ahead. How many movies can we watch in the next 20 hours. Next chat from Germany. Xx
On the eve of our trip a lovely walk along the foreshore to Curtis Bay, through the bush up to the Country Club along the fairways. Soaking up home before we leave. Constant noise of the gentle waves on the beach. The seaweed brought in by recent swells, the smell of the salt water, quiet streets as the town heads into winter, eucalypt leaves plucked to use as a bookmark on our travels. A quiet pensive moment sitting on the rocks at Curtis Bay watching the ocean perform its never ending dance. The bush, the beautiful bush of Meelup Park, the kangaroos quietly picking at green shoots on the bare fairways of the golf club – heads up for a casual look at us as we walk past. The kids having their tennis lesson at the courts, coach calling out ‘next week we’re doing a backhand slice’. Grab some change from home to pop into the bar for a quick drink with the locals. Talk of travels been and travels to come. So many head off at this time – to the warmer north, to Europe, hiding from winter rains and enjoying the freedom of being able to explore the world. Back home to empty the fridge, sort the final technology bits, make final phone calls to family and friends. Stay tuned we fly tomorrow.
Autumn, May the first showers, the morning mists, cooling temperatures, winter approaching. Day after day the spiders repair and rebuild their webs. When fog is thick in front of you, the air is still and heavy look at the wonder of the dew drops on their delicate webs. The bush becomes a fairy land of spider threads until the clouds lift, the sun shines again and once again they are invisible.