Prague to Vienna by Bus

Day 38, Wednesday, October 2, 2019

We take a Flixbus to Vienna today.  We were going to take the train but Bob read reviews and they all said to avoid the trains!  Service is terrible, the bathrooms are filthy, the seats you reserve are often not even on the train, and so on.

We have used Flixbus before and they are affordable, clean, comfortable and efficient.  We take our very first Uber ride ever to the bus station.  Our driver, who was originally from Azerbaijan, had a university education and spoke five languages!  Bob had thought we could walk, pulling our suitcases on the cobbled sidewalks…I am so glad we changed our minds on that.  We drive by the train station we first arrived at in Prague five weeks ago.The National Museum at the top end of Wenceslas Square.  I didn’t recognize it at first from this angle.  I drew one of the corner domes at the Urban Sketcher’s Meetup last week.
Not sure if I have a photo of the trams we used here in Prague so I snapped this one from the bus window.  They run every few minutes and are a fantastic way to get around the city.Soon we are in the countryside.  It always surprises me how quickly cities transition into rural areas in Europe. You are in the city and then suddenly you are not. The views here are quite similar to the countryside around home in Canada.  There are those big round hay bales, and… then something we do not see at home.  We see several huge haystacks of loose hay piled high.  They must have a machine that throws the hay up onto this haystack?
No idea what was planted here but it was the brightest green!

This big double decker bus drives through small villages on narrow roads.  I like being up high as I can see over fences into the yards of the houses we pass and sometimes into windows.  I am always curious and love these little glimpses into people’s lives.

I also do some sketching today, standing outside waiting for our bus and then later on the bus. I forgot to post this page from yesterday so here it is today.  Most of the museums charge a fee to take photos.  That is what the big yellow sticker is about.We pass several fields of pumpkins, all lined up ready for harvest.  Halloween is coming!

When we arrive in Vienna we take an Uber to our new Airbnb.

St. Charles Bridge, Prague

Day 34, Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Prague TV tower against a beautiful blue sky.  It is 18 above today, and the sun is shining.
This is another of those very long, very fast moving escalators.  We wonder why the metro is so far underground?  A little research reveals that “In the event of an attack on the city, they should close to turn the designated stations into hermetically sealed bunkers. The doors can allegedly withstand a nuclear blast on the surface as well as a “torrential” wave of water. Up to 300,000 people can allegedly take refuge in the system for three days.”  Who knew? Although I can’t imagine being underground with another 299,999 people!  These fellows gave a little preview of an evening performance in one of the many churches in Prague.
St. Charles Bridge is probably on every Prague visitor’s must-see list. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is also home to many Czech artists, musicians and souvenir vendors whose stands line both sides of the bridge. This Medieval bridge, completed in 1402 is now a very crowded pedestrian zone. 
Here is a close up of the entrance to the bridge in the photo above.  Just a few people!  Very crowded but such great people watching, which is one of my favourite pass-times.  The bridge offers a great view of the Prague Castle on the hill.   As well as views of some of the other bridges along the Vltava River.  Touching this statue is said to bring good luck and ensure a return visit to Prague.  There are 30 statues on this 516 metres long and almost 10 metres wide Gothic bridge. The sun was setting as we leave the bridge. On the way home we peek into a Thai massage studio.  I wanted to give this a try but we somehow ran out of time. Prague is famous for its marionettes.  Most of the ones we see are obviously made for tourists and not that great but I find this window display of really beautiful marionettes.  They had really ‘beautiful’ price tags too! There are lots of shops selling wooden products. We see Nemo every time we walk along Wenceslas Square.
The streets are jam-packed with people tonight.  It is St. Wenceslas Day today which is also called Statehood Day and is a holiday. Interesting to see a blacksmith working in the square. These pastries are sold everywhere in Prague. They are call Trdelník (which means a hollowed out log)  and they are made by wrapping  layers and layers of dough on a cylindrical spit. It is then baked on an open fire and dusted with cinnamon sugar and crushed nuts. They look yummy just like that but many shops fill them with ice cream and all sorts of fancy toppings.  Unfortunately they are not gluten free…so none for me. These little sculptures in the store window appealed, but they are too big and heavy to buy so I settle for a picture.

Prague, Czech Republic

Day 32, Thursday,  September 26, 2019

First thing we need to do this afternoon is return our car rental.  Because the rental office is in the train station it didn’t cost us anything for parking.  When I went to take photos of the car before we returned it I realized I had left my memory card in the computer at home!  Good thing we have a backup camera on our phone, but it isn’t as good or handy as my camera.

Bob is doing a great job organizing our days and finding information about what to see and do.  He went out for a walk this morning and discovers that, because we are seniors, we get free transit passes!  We just need to have a passport photo.  It costs us $6 CAD each for our photos and another $1.20 to get the card.  A transit ticket good for one day costs $6.60 so this is a great deal.

We go for a walk to Wenceslas Square and take a few photos.  These horses are part of an art exhibit in the square. The Prague Astronomical Clock, or Prague Orloj, is a medieval astronomical clock.  The clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest clock still operating.  Crowds gather here to watch it strike the hour. We enjoy this street performer and the poor lady volunteer who is terrified by pretty much everything he does, including pouring lighter fluid in a circle on the ground around her!  He never does light it but her reactions made the crowd laugh. We find the Senat, where there is a free concert.  We were expecting classical music but a group of students perform and sing more modern songs, including Hey Jude, These Boots are Made For Walking, Can’t Buy Me Love and Cabaret.  Some of the songs are in Czech and some are sung in English, with a heavy Czech accent!  It started to rain during the performance but we had brought our umbrella so we stayed dry.
I tried to draw but didn’t manage much.

Walking through the gardens after the concert we saw this pretty white peacock, who walked along with us for a bit.