The city of floods is a pretty accurate summary of both Budapest and Prague. We were aware of the floods prior to going there but the extent to how bad it was didnt hit us until the train ride through lower Germany let us witness how bad it actually was. Our train was delayed in Germany due to rising waters but were given the all clear after lunch and we heading to Prague at a crawling rate. Many houses were underwater along the river and many roads all closed. Lucky the train tracks sat higher up along the river and we were able to make it into the city, many of the other routes were closed for example it was very hard to get to Vienna, Austria so sadly we couldnt make it there as planned. Anyways Prague city was functional although all underground Metros were closed and many trams were also deverted making it rather hard to find out how to get to our accomodation. When we arrived in Prague a trip that should of taken 10 minutes to our apartment took 90 minutes as we walked part of the way and took a stab in the dark as to which tram to take. But we arrived and settled in just fine.
Exploring Prague was very interesting, the city was still buzzing and many people mainly tourists were stunned by the floods. The main roads, parks, resturants, houses, historic buildings and tram tracks all under water that were situated along the river side. You could see where the water had risen as lamp posts and traffic lights were half under water as well as trees. Police and a few army officers were everywhere courdening off areas and sand bagging alot of building were still occuring. Sadly the oldest bridge in Prague, Charles Bridge remained closed for the 6 days we were there so didnt get to walk over it. While in this beautiful city the sun came out for first day alowing us to explore Prague on foot. We went to the palace, watched the change of guards, exploring the old Jewish Quarter and spent some time walking along the river. Our highlight was on the 3rd day where we spent time exploring the old town square and climbed the clock tower to look over all of Prague. As we all know town squares are always popular places and Pragues old town square was probaly our favourite town square we have been to. They have many historic buildings as well as the old astromy clock in the world which seems very popular to get married under or a photo. We witnessed about 5 weddings in the 2 times we visited to square. Anyway who gets to Prague the old town square is a must and a great people watching spot!!
After 5 nights in Prague we headed to Budapest another city experiencing flooding. Although the one different between the two cities experincing the same devasating floods was that of the mood of people. Prague people were very deoressing and often quite abrubt to us. There was just a very gloomy feel in this city where budapest was much more upbeat and energetic. People were generally happier we noticed and often said to eachother.
We were planning on spending more than one night in Budapest but as we werent going to Austria we had more time so stayed 4 nights. We were glad we did as we really enjoyed Budapest - one of our favourite cities. What made this city so great? Here are just a few things....
- The ancient city baths. Budapest is known as the city of baths and there are many different thermal baths to relax and spent the day at. At night some are even converted into bath parties like night clubs!
- The old jewish quarter has the oldest synagoge in Europe in and some of the orginal building names pre war are still seen on many of the buildings in the jewish quarter. We enjoyed a day walking round and looking at the buildings which some of them even had the bullet holes in from WW2.
-The beer festival located within the castle walls looking over the city. We meets the Australia borthers we meet in Berlin and had a great day and night at the beer festival. No beer was more than 4 nz dollars and there over 70 cidars and 100 beers to choose from.
Back to the flooding it was still again wipping out all side roads and tram tracks along the riverside as well as all boat restuarants located on the water. However towards the end of 5 days and 5 days of sunshine which helped the water levels had lowered and people were cleaning up silt and mud along the river.
After 10 days in the city of floods we decided to head to Krakow, Poland as we had both heard many great things about city. So off we headed another 2 countries visited and what not a better time but to have wittnessed one of mother naturers very own disasters....we really have had some interesting experiences!
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