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Day Zero (0) .. Prague

Charles Bridge.




When wifey asked me why I was heading to Prague on Wednesday night yet only commencing my ride on Friday, I responded with “well we are going to have to pick up the rental bikes and sort them out “. She didn’t look convinced. As it transpires it was a good thing we allocated a full day.

Suffice to say (and I have promised Gareth.W that I won’t say anything nasty about Michal, the bike rental proprietor) when building his business I think ol Michal at OKOLO Bike Rentals skipped the chapter on “Operational Effeciency “. Lovely chap, well intentioned, communicative, offering commercially competitive rental rates. However it shouldn’t take 5 hours to change the pedals on 4 bikes.

The day dawned very cold at just 4C. The everlasting wintry conditions of the UK seemingly showing no regard for the boundaries formed since Brexit and thus this Spring Day in Prague was just as cold as any we have experienced recently back in ol Blighty.

However any day that starts with a walk across the Charles Bridge and through the old town of Prague is never going to be a bad one. Have been to this city a few times for both business and pleasure and it’s centre never ceases to amaze me. The architecture is a sight to behold.

Charles Bridge



Just another scenic Prague Old Town view



OKOLO bike rental entrance


Finding OKOLO bike rentals office was relatively easy and a mere 2km walk from the hotel. Arrived at the “office” at 10.15 am and after selecting our ‘bikes‘ (Surly Touring bikes they ain’t) was told to return ”no earlier than 2 pm, by which time I will have changed your pedals “ .


The plan had been to pick up the bikes and do a days touring of Prague to check out the sites and iron out any issues with the bikes.


So no bikes and 4 hours to kill.

Gareth suggested a stroll to the hill top fortification known as Vysehrad.



Red squirrel of Vysehrad. Plenty of grey ones in the UK . Red, not so much.


So after consuming a poor version of a flat

white coffee we set off on foot for Vysehrad some 5km away. Lovely idea and our route took us well away from the well beaten tourist tracks. The sun even emerged and all was good.

The views from the summit of the fortress were impressive and lunch was taken within the grounds. Enjoying a 600ml pour of beer that is cheaper than a 330ml bottle of water is a good reminder that you’re in the Czech Republic.



Looking south to where we are headed tomorrow from atop Vsyehrad.



Prague Metro. Cheap and aesthetically pleasing on the eye.




We caught the metro back into the centre and made our way to Michal and OKOLO for an arrival at 2.15pm . “Come back no earlier than 3 “ was the response .


Really?


Time to kill it was yet another coffee and time to plan how the two of us were going to get 3 bikes back to the hotel whilst avoiding the masses of tourists.


Why 2 men and 3 bikes? Our third accomplice, Tim.I was not due to arrive until 10.00pm.

Returning to OKOLO at 3.10 pm it seemed that finally everything was in order and back to the hotel we went. Pushing 3 bikes with us.



Prague Old Town views




Street scenes in the late afternoon in Prague. Nice name for a bistro too IMHO. :-)


Watching the last sunlight rays of the day, as we sat looking over the Charles Bridge sipping very cold and very cheap beer was a good thing. So too the very authentic Czech cuisine meal just meters from our hotel.



Vysehrad Tennis Club. I could think of less scenic places to play tennis.



Prague Old Town views



The doors of St Peter & Paul Basilica - Vysehrad



Graveyard - Vysehrad




Prague Old Town views



Mulit-purposing a bike



Signs from a bygone era. Those were the days when you’d send off your roll of 24 photos for printing and wait expectantly for them to be returned. To then discard 23 of them.



Observations


- Prague is still cheap

- The Old Town part of Prague doesn’t seem as heavily “touristed” as previous visits. Having said that it is still only late April. - The quality of stock on offering at OKOLO Bike rentals suggest this next week will be an “interesting “ one. - Michal needs to revisit that business book and find the chapter mentioned above

- Vysehrad is impressive and well worth the effort if you’re ever in Prague

- Metro travel is cheap at £1.10 for unlimited travel inside a 30 min window period. sure beats the Underground in London at £4.50 to go just one stop

- Beer is cheap

- Food is cheap

- Prague has cobblestones to spare. Wear comfortable footwear

- Prague terrain is undulating

- Prague Old Town is best visited very early in the morning before the river boat cruise passengers and also hoards of selfie-stick bearing tourists appear






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