Trafalgar Tours – Prague, Vienna and Budapest: Chapter 2

Prague – a stunning city and new friends

Prague never fails to impress. An attractive city. A romantic city with picture book moments. And as the reassuring, dreamlike skyline came into view, we immediately felt at home.

PragueWe last visited 15 years ago and over the years it has become increasingly popular. The highest point on the skyline, the cupola of Gothic St Vitus cathedral stands proud, gazing over the city. Baroque and Romanesque architecture in abundance, entwined amongst cobbled streets echoing from hundreds of years of history. Nicknamed the city of 100 spires but looking around there seem to be 100s more.

Prague is a visual delight – almost too perfect to be true – with a well-preserved medieval centre. It has the largest UNESCO designated area in the world. The entire historical centre is listed. And rightly so. It’s compact and easy to explore on foot. Chose good footwear, or it may be heavy on the feet. A pretty place, easy on the eye. Intimate and homely with a labyrinth of cobbled streets so intriguing that you long to get lost.

Our day had started 6 hours earlier. What Trafalgar promise Trafalgar deliver. Right on cue our chauffeured limousine arrived to whisk us to East Midlands airport. It’s always nice to have a bit of luxury in life and included in the tour price. A lovely touch, and it beats a taxi any day. 

We had a smooth flight. Many youngsters on board were clearly not going for Prague’s beauty and breathtaking sights. No, they were probably going for the unlimited supply of beer for which the city is truly famous- you are never far from a bar!

At Prague airport we had our first meeting with tour director, Paul Wormsbacher and Gabor Imre, our driver. The two had a great rapport, and we knew we were in safe hands. And over the days they became our good friends too. Gabor is Hungary’s answer to George Clooney or George Clooney is America’s answer to Gabor.

St Vitus Cathedral - Prague CastleIt’s not everyone who can say they have stayed with The President. But we did. Trafalgar had booked a 5-star hotel, overlooking the river Vltava (English pronounce it Volta) – the river which dissects the city in two and is famous around the world. The hotel was an easy 10-minute stroll away from The Old Town. Location, location, location. The President has 130 spacious and comfortable bedrooms. A massive room, a massive bed and an enormous bathroom, with separate bath and walk in shower along with his and her basins, which are always good to avoid any squabbles. Five-star elegance which clearly rubbed off on the staff – they were all superb.

Paul held the introductory meeting at 4.30pm. There were 48 on the tour and a great mix of nationalities. Kiwis, Australians, Greeks, Americans, South Africans. Singapore, Canada, the UK and Malaysia also represented.

Our first meal together was at U Cisaru restaurant, a stone’s throw from the palace. With champagne flutes clinking, we sat down and there was the first real opportunity to get to know people.  The pate with almonds and raspberry purée, pork tenderloin and a fantastic dessert were excellent. As was the wine. Taste buds suitably tantalised and fascinating travel tales swapped between the group, Gabor drove us back to our hotel.

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Dave Harcombe

Travelling pharmacist

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