Last night on our campsite in Bohemia was an interesting experience – some good, some bad. Once we had got over the fact that our ‘pitch’ was the size of a postage stamp, squidged in between ‘Big Whites’ and caravans in all directions, and the fact that the entirety of Bohemia seemed to be staying there for the bank holiday weekend, we resolved to make the most of it. Everyone around us was having great fun. The site was situated right on the River Vitava, and many families had come with small inflatable boats, and were enjoying a day on the river. The place was teaming with children, having great fun playing in the water fountains installed for their benefit, or cycling around the site on their trikes and bicycles. I can understand if you are thinking that this sounds nightmarish, but actually, it was hard not to be infected with the general feeling of jollity. The saving grace, of course, was that they had opened the bar, cafe and restaurant for the weekend.
So Howard and I sat in the sun, watching the world go by, with a cold drink in our hands on the terrace. Having still not got to the shops, we opted to eat there too – simple, but tasty food. As we were eating supper, two young men started setting up microphones and sound systems, in preparation for the live music!
Well, it turned out to be something akin to a ‘festival’, but without the mud and wellies. Children were dancing to the music on the grass in front of the two guitarists, one acoustic guitarist, with an ingenious set of tambourines on his legs, and one with an electric guitar. I can’t hand on heart say that they were good, but they were definitely entertaining. They played old classics like Otis Redding’s ‘Stand by Me’, Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots Were Made For Walking’, and Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall’. Howard and I loved it.
Before retiring to bed, we had a lovely walk along he river banks, and all was well with the world. We went to sleep with the music still playing in the distance. Then, at about midnight, the party moved from the bar area, to right outside Oscar. A whole crowd of youngsters decided to carry on partying once the music had stopped – and they were loud, very loud, and clearly also a bit worse for wear. We tossed and turned, hoping that one of the other campers would come out and complain, but it took until 3am before one brave Czech woman eventually could stand it no longer, and had a go at them. Even then, it was another half hour before they eventually dispersed. So what had started as quite a fun evening, turned into a bit of a nightmare.
Bleary eyed, Howard and I were up early, keen just to move on. We had booked a hotel on the outskirts of Prague for tonight, so by 10am we had left Oscar at the hotel, and were heading off into the city.
It was a beautiful sunny day, and our taxi driver explained to us that the Czechs always take a four day holiday at the beginning of May, so it was likely that the city would be busy. He was right. By midday, the streets and squares were thronged with crowds. Both Howard and myself have visited Prague before, so we felt under no pressure to have to see all the sights. So instead, we just wandered at our leisure. We had morning coffee in the main St. Wenceslas Square in the Old City. Then we wandered across the Charles Bridge, which was bustling with tourists, people selling their wares, largely paintings, and street musicians. I stopped to listen to a group of old guys playing jazz, with a double base, saxophone, guitar and a skiffle board being played with kitchen implements. Next moment, I turn around to see that Howard had started entertaining the crowds with a bit of ‘Dad-Dancing’ – what can I say? On the other side of the bridge, we found a lovely cafe for an early lunch. This proved a brilliant spot. It was situated in the same square as the metal sculpture of two men having a pee – for those who have visited Prague, you will know the one I mean. So we sat, eating our lunch, watching the reaction of all the people’s faces when they saw the sculptures. Little girls winced, teenage girls looked embarrassed, most women seemed to want to have their photo taken stood next to the pissing men. Most of the males just looked bemused. We decided you could spend an entire day just observing people’s faces – it would make a brilliant photo project!
Lunch done, we headed up towards the castle, and had a walk through the gardens. The soaring heat made an ice-cream mandatory.
By now the heat and crowds were getting to us, so we wandered back to the Old Town, and then grabbed a taxi back to our hotel. It has been lovely to reacquaint ourselves with this beautiful city. Plus Howard has taught the locals a new form of dancing – rather Bohemian, if you will excuse the pun.