Not so busy in Britain

By Noah – We’ve returned home now, to our own beds and a whole house to ourselves, a lot better off after the last journey. We may be tired and in desperate need of sleep, but we both enjoyed our little adventure together. We were happy to say goodbye to some not so hot Prague weather, and as the plane took off, we said goodbye to the rain of Europe, and hoped there would none in England. At the end of our trip, I just want to share some of our statistics with you.

Total steps: 204,293

Total distance (excluding travel): 142.41km, 88.45m

Total flights of stairs climbed: 312

Once again, thank you all for reading this blog. Whether you know us, or just found us for this trip, this blog wouldn’t be any thing without our readers.

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Very tired now…

By Noah – Today was our last full day travelling round Prague and our last full day on this wonderful journey. Today we decided to see everything on the other side of the Vlatava river so that we could confidently say we’ed been everywhere and seen everything in Prague. This started with a trip to two synagogues: Pinkas Synagogue, and Old-New Synagogue. The first was shut but the latter was open to the public so we went inside to have a look. When I went inside, I was given a Jewish Kippah that symbolises respect for a higher power. The synagogue itself was quite small and very basic, only having a highly decorated altar and chairs all around the outside. 

The next place we went to was the main square in Prague. The main attraction there was the Prague astronomical clock. Built in 1410, this is the third oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest still in use. It has many dials and hands and it had many different sections to tell you lots of information about when you are. The different parts tell you: the position of the sun and moon; sunrise, sunset; moonrise, moon set; what phase the moon is in; the time( in local Prague time); the time( in unequal hours); the time( in old Czech time); what the date is; what the current sign of the zodiac is. All this information was crammed onto two medium sized discs that were constantly moving. Also, on the hour figures moved and bells rung.

The rest of our day was spent going round the other side of the river and visiting any old building of interest we could find. We returned home early, tired, but happy about our day and what we had seen.

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Castles and Caches

By Noah – Today was our first full day in Prague and to avoid the early afternoon heat -and I mean heat- that we had been caught out in the previous day we left before nine in the morning. We decided to split the day up into three sections, going back to the comfort of an air-conditioned room in between. Our first section was to the Prague Castle which was nestled high up on the hill. You might have recognised it from a previous blog, see ‘Sunshine? Check. Sunglasses? Check. Sunshine? Czech!’ if you don’t. This is a palace complex, centered around St. Vitus’ Cathedral, and some of stonework can be dated back to the 9th century. Nowadays, it is the official residence of the president of the Czech Republic but in the past it has  was the location of the throne of Bohemia, The Holy Roman Empire, and the Presidents of Czechoslovakia. It is also the world’s largest ancient castle and is built in the Baroque and Mannerism styles. Having left very early, we were rewarded with a very small queue for tickets and got in almost hassle free. When we arrived, we completely ignored the numbering system used at the castle and went straight for the cathedral. After seeing all of the different parts, including numerous polygonal chapels, we went back outside and then decided to follow the numbering system. This led us first to the story of Prague which told of how this city had come up, at first, only around the castle but then spread over the river in the continued expansion of the city. The next place we went to in the castle complex was the Golden Lane, so called because it drew in alchemists looking for fortune from around the castle. It is made up of many small brightly coloured shops that now house souvenir shops and a large collection of mediaeval armoury. After this, we went back to our hotel to plan the next part of our day.

When we next went out we had several geocaches planned to find and these took us past other sites such as the John Lennon memorial wall. This geocache was well hidden behind a lamppost but unfortunately the wall had come loose, letting the cache fall out of reach. Undeterred, we turned onto a bridge before stopping halfway and onto the island below. We knew where this cache was but there were lots of other people around so we had to do a lot of bench hopping to find the right one.

After returning back to the hotel for the second time, we went back out to see the narrowest street in the whole of Prague. Another geocache was waiting for us under the main bridge, and we quickly found and logged it. We came back to the hotel, tired and worn out after a day of wandering around Prague. But with one more day to go, we can’t rest just yet!

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Sun cream? Check. Sunglasses? Check. Sunshine? Czech!

Steps: 12,749

Distance: 8.89km

Flights of stairs: 22

By Noah – Today was the day of our journey into the next, and final, town on our trip. This also meant venturing into another country before flying home. We had plenty of spare time in the morning before the train, so we had a lazy breakfast and took our time. When the train arrived we were ready and fully prepared for two long hours of sitting down, eating lunch, and playing games. However, luck was not on our side. We boarded the train only to find it chock full of people and soon found out why. This was a Eurotrain that went all the way from Hamburg in Germany to Budapest in Hungary. This mammoth journey would take you 16h 20m and weave its way through four different countries. This was mainly a train full of sleeping people with reserved seats, something we had not planned which meant that we were left to stand or sit in front of a door. This wasn’t that much of a problem until our door opened and mum had to get off and get back on again.

By the time we had arrived in Prague, we had drawn up a detailed, road by road plan of the journey to our hotel. This was quite extensive and featured many quick left and right turns. This route took us over the famous Charles bridge as we went from one side of the river Vlatava to the other. After over-shooting our road, we made it to our hotel which also featured an adjoining restaurant, something we would make use of later. After finding our room, we went back out again to see the world’s largest metronome which just so happened to be on a hill! On the way back we passed a few of the sights we would see in the two days we had to look around this beautiful city. I also tried one of the most famous foods in Prague: a trdelnik. Try saying that with four marshma- anything, it’s just really hard to say! After dinner, we went back out onto the bridge to watch the sun set on the river but missed it by about 5 minutes. We then used the time to get some great photos of the view we had.

Neither of us can wait to have more time to look around this city tomorrow and share our adventures on this blog.

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How many flights of stairs?

Steps: 19,386

Distance: 13.31km

Flights of stairs: 92

By Noah – Today was the day we had allocated to explore the Saxony Switzerland National Park that we are now in. We had looked ahead and decided, after much deliberation, to climb to the Schrammsteine viewpoint and a German climber had even told us that the views were one of the best in the world. This was marked out as 417m above us. Thankfully, yesterday’s rain clouds had disappeared off the horizon and the sun was out in full. The starting point for our hike was possibly the world’s oldest lift that ran vertically up the mountain side. As we climbed, we passed through many forests and impressive corridors caused by the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. One of the many different and unique ways to get up the mountain was by ladder. These were ordinary metal ladders, drilled into the rocks and our legs noticed there could be up to five flights in a row. These ladders definitely contributed the most to our stair total. When we got to the top, the views did not disappoint. They stretched for miles on end and were some of the best 360 degree views I have ever seen. You could see mountains far away, trees everywhere, and the Elbe river far down below. Then we began our slow descent back to Bad Schandau, the ladders being no less difficult on the way down. When we finally got back to a café to eat kaffee and kuchen, we were utterly exhausted. We had seen some of the best views in the world and were much better off for it. Our next destination, the capital city of a whole new country all together: The Czech Republic…

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Water, water, and more water

Written on 5th August by Noah –  I am writing this post from a Dampfschiffarht ( yes, that is the real name for a paddle steamer) as we slowly make our way down the Elbe. This very wide and very long river will take us all the way to our next town: Bad Schandau. We woke up to the sound of rain pounding against our window and neither of us were quite looking forward to the walk ahead. We hen we reached the port, we realised that our boat was the last one, and that meant more walking in the rain. We are aboard the oldest steamboat on the world and it still works perfectly! The engine is very shiny and we are making good progress towards our destination.

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Dresden, part 2

Steps: 10,143

Distance: 7.02kmBy Noah – on our second day in Dresden we decided to venture over to the other side of the Elbe, a much newer part of town but it still had its hidden spots. Our first stop was a Japanese palace. The only area of this that was accessible was a large open courtyard in the centre of the palace. This courtyard had lots of pillars that were each supported by an individual figurine that was intricately chiselled into an array of poses. Our next destination was a very tall church with a viewing tower at the top. The views at the top were the best of all of Dresden, or at least that’s what the guide said! It was closed to us due to building work going on at the base. We then journeyed on to our next stop, Kunsthofpassage. This was a simple area behind some apartments that had been converted into an open air art display. This made use of the perfectly flat building fronts and was a great place to stop for a cup of tea which we didn’t have.

We then went on to the most beautiful dairy in the world. And that’s according to the Guinness book of records. First, I tried a softeis which is basically the German version of soft ice-cream. This was so nice that we both had to try a glass of milk. In my opinion, this was more of a yoghurt and tasted absolutely disgusting. My mum managed to drink this and finished mine as well. After getting rid of the bad taste in my mouth, we walked along the river to have some lunch. In need of something to kill a bit of time, we went to a nearby shopping mall to look at what German people like to shop for. 

We returned home after seeing literally everything that Dresden had to offer and couldn’t wait to venture down the Elbe towards Bad Schandau…

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