the red penguin

Czech Republic – day 1

Arrived at the Hotel Kozi Horka at Brno Lake 12 midday. Had lunch and pivos in hotel bar. Checked into our room at 2.00 and fell asleep until 4.30.

At 4.30 there was an introduction by Eric, and then dinner at 7pm.

After dinner we walked to try and find the tram station to go to Brno. Got lost – nobody speaks any English.

Got scared as it got dark and we had been walking for one hour. Got a cab from Hotel Santon on the opposite side of the lake. It cost 150 crowns (about £3.50) – Paul tipped 50 crowns. We were told afterwards we were ripped off.

Got drunk in hotel bar.

Saturday 20 August 1994, 499 views

Czech Republic – day 2

Had trouble getting up for breakfast at 8.15. After breakfast Paul fell asleep again. Went to the lake at 11.00. Sunbathed as it was very hot.

Went for lunch at 12.30 at a mini-restaurant on the lake side. They couldn’t understand us and seemed offended that I only wanted chips.

We ordered pivos and the waiter then brought us two glasses of a clear liquid which looked like pure alcohol. It looked disgusting but Paul felt that if we didn’t drink it they would kill us.

After drinking one glass each he brought us a second. Paul drunk his all up but helpfully knocked mine over.

For the rest of the day Paul was drunk. This didn’t stop him drinking pivo in the afternoon. He fell asleep at 4.15 and I had trouble waking him up for dinner at 7pm.

We decided not to journey into Brno tonight as Paul couldn’t walk.

Sunday 21 August 1994, 545 views

Czech Republic – day 3

We went on the excursion to Brno today.

We had a short orientation tour with Robert from Hotel Jelenice. He was quite good and told us a lot about the local history and architecture.

We then had ages to look around the shops. We took ages trying to find a bank which would give us a visa advance and finally found the CS Czech Savings Bank.

It was a very hot day and we spent most of the time sitting down. Tried the local Pegas beer which is brewed at the Pegas Hotel, but it smelt like perfume and wasn’t very nice – although for 20p a pint what do you expect?

We had lunch at a pizza restaurant where the waitress had shorts on that showed her bottom; also the food was quite nice.

On the way back from Brno the coach took us to a market which sold very cheap alcohol – brought Baileys, Malibu and something Czech for Jackie and Jon. It was a very tiring day.

Monday 22 August 1994, 501 views

Czech Republic – day 4

Today we went to Prague, which meant getting up at 6.30am for a 7am breakfast.

It took 2½ hours to get there on the coach and it was raining heavily by the time we were dropped off on the outskirts of Prague to get the Metro into the centre.

Everyone was in shorts and t-shirts because the weather had previously been so good, and we all got soaked.

Yaric took us on a short tour of the city because we had lost the other coach of people. After the tour we had time to look around Prague for ourselves – it is a lovely city with so many things to look at and a really buzzing atmosphere.

There were hundreds of crystal and glass shops – you were spoilt for choice. Ended up buying myself a crystal and one for Jackie as a birthday present.

We had lunch in an expensive restaurant by Czech standards where the food was not that good. We also visited McDonalds and Harveys as well.

We had pivos in the town square where hundreds of people were waiting to see the clock chime on the hour.

The rain cleared up halfway through the day and it turned out quite nice in the end. Arrived back at Kozi Horka at about 8pm with dinner waiting for us.

Tuesday 23 August 1994, 477 views

Czech Republic – day 5

After two days of walking around we decided not to go on an excursion today.

At about 11am we went to sit down by the lake – it was quite warm but a bit overcast. We stayed down there for about 2 hours.

Had a couple of games of Scrabble whilst waiting for the hotel bar to open so that we could have lunch.

After lunch we went back to the lake (more walking) and hired a pedallo. It was good fun but hard work and we spent most of our hour just drifting around in the middle of the lake.

It started raining, so we hurried home. Had an early night.

Wednesday 24 August 1994, 469 views

Czech Republic – day 6

Today we went to Vienna which meant another early start.

It took about 3 hours to get there. The weather was dull and overcast again and we had a few shower, but not until we were on the coach on the way home.

Vienna was a very pretty city but it didn’t seem as cultural or atmospheric as Prague.

Robert (the tour guide) said he found it clinical, which is a good description for someone whose first language is not English.

The shops in Vienna were so expensive that you dared not look at anything. Food and drink was also dear – we ended up in McDonalds but even that came to the equivalent of £10.

We did go to one bar, where our bill for a beer and an orange juice was £4.

It took ages getting home due to traffic, rain – and the fan belt on the coach breaking. Over 3½ hours for an 80 mile journey.

We felt really tired and only had 2 pivos in the bar tonight.

Thursday 25 August 1994, 489 views

Czech Republic – day 7

Our last full day here so we decided to go into Brno by ourselves to do our souvenir shopping. It took about 1 hour to get there via bus and tram.

The shops in Brno do not really cater for tourists because they probably don’t have many, although there are a few good crystal shops and a shop specialising in wooden things, where we bought Andy and Sue’s present.

It was raining up until midday but we still walked around the shops for hours.

Paul wanted to go to the Post Office to look for stamps for his dad. The lifts in the building were the most dangerous I have ever seen. They have no doors and do not stop at any floors – you just have to jump in and out while they are still moving.

Paul nearly missed getting in and pulled his way into the lift as it was zooming up at quite a speed. Not to be recommended, but Paul thought they were great.

We had lunch in a nice restaurant in the centre of Brno. After this we got the tram coming home, doubling back because we missed our stop.

We went to a plane which has been made into a cafe. It is really weird, as it is in the middle of nowhere and looks out of place.

Inside it has the original seats and cockpit, which has been made into the bar area. We had 1 pivo each.

Whilst waiting for the bus back to Kozi Horka a nutty peasant-looking Czech woman started talking to us in fairly good English about communism.

Had our last evening the hotel bar drinking cheap pivo.

Friday 26 August 1994, 472 views

Czech Republic – day 8/9

We had to vacate our room by 9am so it was quite a rush in the morning.

After we had checked out we went down to the lake and took a boat tour. It took about 2½ hours and only cost us about £1.20 each. Nice weather – typical to get hot as we are leaving.

Had lunch in the hotel before left Brno Lake at 2.45pm. It took ages to get to Prague to pick up people, and we left there at 6pm. We stopped for an evening meal just past the German/Czech border at about 9.30pm.

I had quite a lot of sleep – sleeping through Every Which Way But Loose which I wanted to watch – Paul was not so lucky.

Had one comfort stop in Germany at 2am and then stopped again at about 6am in the Netherlands for breakfast.

There had been a fire on a Sally Line ferry on Thursday so we could not go to Dunkerque (the way we had come) and had to go to Oostende to catch our ferry home.

We arrived at Oostende at 10.30am and our ferry was not until 1.45pm. We spent the time walking around Oostende which was nice but meant we spent more money.

The ferry home was full of drunk Northerners and the sea was choppy, so there were a lot of people being sick.

Paul’s mum and dad picked us up from Ramsgate and we arrived at home about 7pm. Smudge was sitting on the living room window sill waiting for us. It was good to be home.

Sunday 28 August 1994, 498 views