Prague to Dubai

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December 26th 2013
Published: December 27th 2013
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This morning we managed to finish up most of our packing before breakfast because our breakfast was delivered a bit later than we have become accustomed to. We had just about decided that our breakfast had been forgotten when the lovely ladies who do the catering for Pasquale arrived with their baskets of food for us. We're not sure why they were so late, but they were very apologetic about it.

We ate our breakfast quickly because we wanted to get down to see the 10.00am 'Walk of the Apostles' in the Prague Orloj (mediaeval astronomical clock) mounted on the southern wall of the Old Town City Hall in the Old Town Square. The Apostles appear every hour on the hour between 9.00am and 9.00pm, but somehow we have never been passing through the Old Town Square at the right time. We thought that we could hardly leave town without seeing it, so this morning we made a special effort to be in front of the clock at 10.00am.

After seeing the clock do its thing - not quite as impressive as Munich's Glockenspiel - we popped back to the apartment to finish our packing. With our bags pretty much ready to go we returned to the Old Town Square to view the inside of Our Lady before Tyn Church. Although it is not as large or as extravagantly decorated as St Vitus's Cathedral at Prague Castle it is still a very impressive church.

From the Gothic splendour of Tyn Church, we walked across the square to the Baroque embellishments of Saint Nicholas Church. A free concert was scheduled for 11.00am so we found seats up the back just before it was due to start thinking that we might want to sneak out before the end. The concert commenced with a rousing piece on the pipe organ. A soprano then sang a couple of pieces with the organ. The concert was billed as a live performance, but we couldn't see the organist or the soprano; we suspect they were both performing from one of the balconies under the main dome which rendered them quite invisible from our seats up the back. The acoustics were amazing though, with the organ and the vocals being amplified dramatically by the dome.

Although we could easily have stayed to enjoy all of the hour long concert we also wanted to walk down to the river one last time so we sneaked out after about 35 minutes. At least we left quietly during an appropriate break between pieces. Other people who were leaving mid-concert left very noisily and in the middle of pieces that were being performed. We felt a bit discourteous leaving mid-concert, but some other people were outright rude. After our subtle exit Bernie found that he had left his beanie behind!! I waited outside while he went back in to retrieve it from under his seat.

We walked down to the river in the sunshine. While the sun was shining it was very hazy again this morning over the river. We suspect that like Melbourne (and most other cities?) that Prague only has a handful of truly spectacular clear days each year when it would be possible to take picture-postcard quality photos. Still, we are pretty happy with our shots. In fact, in a couple we are inclined to think that the mistiness adds a bit of atmosphere!

From the river we walked backed to the Old Town Square for one more sampling of the outstanding street food at the Christmas market. Today I had the potato dumplings (but quite like gnocchi) with sauerkraut and smoked pork, while Bernie tried the potatoes with paprika (? something that made them orange anyway) and farmhouse ham. Our last trdelniks for some time and hot cider. I've never eaten potato cooked so many different ways.

We walked back to the apartment and swapped our fleece lined pants for our other pants in anticipation of it being somewhat warmer when we arrive in Dubai. We settled our account with the charming Pasquale who has been an excellent host with plenty of tips on how to make the most of our stay in Prague. He helped us take our bags to the end of the arcade and load them in the minivan he had arranged to take us to the airport.

At the airport we walked straight up to the desk to check in and then wandered off to claim the tax back on our Swarovski purchase and do the security thing. With our tax refund converted to Arab Emirates Dirham, we kept on walking and walking wondering when we were going to find the security screening point. We eventually realised that they were screening passengers at the entry to each gate lounge. Surely that can't be as efficient as having one screening point? Anyhow, we decided to have a drink before going through the screening point and into the lounge. Bernie had kept so few Czech Koruna that he could only afford a small beer.

We cleared security without any trouble and sat in the gate lounge watching them load all of the freight and luggage onto our Emirates jet before we commenced boarding for an on time departure. Just after dinner had been served an apology came over the PA to say that tea and coffee could not be served because of turbulence. That sounded pretty ominous but, in the end, we only had a few bobbles. We reached Dubai in good time, but air traffic over Dubai was heavy so we were in a holding pattern for about half an hour before we landed. We eventually landed way out on the back blocks of the airport somewhere because we had a 15 minute bus ride to the terminal. And it was rough! We braked really suddenly at one stage and, because I was only leaning rather than actually holding on, I ended up on the floor of the bus. How embarrassing! No real harm done ... except to my pride. Lesson learned I hung on for dear life for the rest of the ride to the terminal building.

In theory we could use the Smart Gate to go through immigration. Beauty, the queue there was much shorter than the other queue. Slight catch though, the Smart Gate was broken!! Fortunately, they had two immigration officers staffing the Smart Gate queue so we still cleared immigration relatively quickly only to find ourselves with a long wait at the baggage carousel!!

Eventually we had our bags and we found our driver to transfer us to the Radisson Blu to check-in at about 2.45pm local time. Straight up to our room, cleaned out teeth and got into bed for what remained of the night!! Blagh, if only we could click our heels like Dorothy and be home ... or win Tattslotto and extend our holiday indefinitely.

12,106 steps / 8.24 km

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27th December 2013

Are you exhausted yet
Hi Tracey and Bernie, we have really been looking forward to your blogs coming in every morning, don't know how you manage so much walking, I remember when in London how tiring it became. Fancy Deb being in Dubai at the same time, do you have plans to meet up? The Prague part of your trip looked very interesting, we are considering doing a river cruise and finish up there, will talk more about that later. Happy New Year.
28th December 2013

What a trip!!!
I thought you had won the lottery as you did everything first class and at a decent pace.

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