This is your captain speaking…

“Guess what?  The air-conditioning problem we had ten minutes ago has recurred.  We’re going to have to taxi back to the stand and get an engineer to fix it…we’re looking at about half an hour…”

Not the best start to our adventure, being stuck on a runway at Stansted.  Nevertheless, after missing our various flight slots as a result of the pilot’s a/c trouble, we arrived at Ruzyně International Airport rested and raring to go.  Actually, we were knackered – the girls spent the night on the airport floor and the boys got a lift at the crack of dawn.

After buying our first public transport ticket with an obscene amount of Czech currency, we successfully failed to navigate to our hostel, walking in a loop no more than a kilometre away at any given  time from our desired destination.  Nevertheless, we soldiered on and eventually checked (or should that be Czeched) in to our room.  Not the one we reserved, of course, but two doubles and a single, for the same price.  Can’t complain.

In an interesting, quirky turn of events, Stuart Phillips (yes, affiliated with our very own Maz) was in Prague with a friend, who arrived on our doorstep shortly after we had settled in to show us the city. This involved a litre of beer each to start, for less than a bottle of coke, and some odd Czech delicacy (I had beef, cream sauce and whipped cream?) from the equally cheap bistro we stopped in.  Staroměstské náměstí was next on the agenda (the Old Town square) and a trip up the clock tower to see the breathtaking view.

Returning to our Czech base for a brief nap after a quick tour of the famous Charles Bridge, we pledged to join our new guides for the evening.  Gill successfully managed to offend the entire service industry of Prague in the first restaurant we went to, and in the public interest, a dramatisation is as follows:

(enter humble waitress…)
Can I take order?
A Magherita pizza, please.
What kind?
What kind of Margherita pizza?  What do you
mean ‘what kind’?  There’s surely only one kind! I hate you! Why don’t you understand me?
(…shocked waitress leaves in floods of tears)

To alleviate the mood, we hit a “Beer Factory”, where we were to drink as many litres as possible to gain a top place on the scoreboard.  We sadly only managed a team best of fourth.  Then, the largest club in Central Europe, Karlovy Lázně, with five floors of funky music.

For our first day, we packed in a lot, thanks to our handy city guides – Stuart and Nick (yes, another one).  How we will fare without them in the days to come is  mystery, but if we have even half of their amusing anecdotes by the end of our trip, I’m sure we’ll be happy…

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