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  The Chatter Box : Travel
Czech Republic by paulfranciswilliams on 11 August 2007 7:12pm
Ahoj and dobry den - Hello fellow Palin (and travel) fans!

I'm brand new to this site, having only just discovered it. However, I've been a huge Palin fan (both his Python years and his brilliant travel documentaries) since I was a kid (I'm 25 now, and would have been 8, or perhaps even 7, when 80 Days was first broadcast).

I was inspired to check the site out after watching a marathon of Pole to Pole which has been broadcast on the UKTV History channel this Saturday.

I'm so glad to hear that Michael will be visiting the Czech Republic in his new series about Europe.

I have an extreme fondness for the Czech Republic, having first visited there with my school choir, in 1997. Our town (Widnes, near Liverpool) was twinned with the Czech town of Usti Nad Labem, which lies to the north of the CR.

We stayed in Prague, which is still, I maintain, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, as well as fantastically cheap for us Brits. We stayed in the city for three days and then travelled north in a battered old coach, to stay with families in Usti.

Usti is a very industrial town, but with a pleasant enough centre. I recall travelling on the local public transport (which was a bendy tram - very novel) to the local cinema, where the auditorium felt more like a university lecture theatre than the multiplexes we get here.

The film was Baz Luhrmann's Romeo+Juliet, and I watched it in English, with the Czech subtitles drawing my eye, every so often, to the bottom of the (rather small) screen. I will never know what those subtitles said, but all of the Czech's in the audience seemed to laugh at the most inappropriate times, so I'm not convinced that Shakespeare has been accurately or fairly translated on the Continent.

In my experience, the Czechs were extremely generous and friendly people, who made every effort to make myself and my fellow trippers feel comfortable and warmly welcomed.

The family I stayed with (in a tower block in Usti, comlplete with rickety vintage elevator and, of course, a family Skoda) where great, but didn't really speak much English. As such, most communicating was done via hand signals, although the father had purchased an English phrasebook and could recite such classics as "My hovercraft is full of eels".

During my time at university in London, I lived with quite a few Czechs who have become my very good friends. I also had a Czech girlfriend for a while, who was from South Bohemia, a very beautiful part of the country, but she now lives and works in Prague.

I have already booked my flights to go and visit her, and the rest of my Czech friends in September. I can't wait to be shown Prague by the people who know it best.

If you haven't yet been to Prague, or indeed to anywhere in the Czech Republic, I can't recommend it highly enough to you. And, seeing as it is only a couple of hours flight from Heathrow, and I think only two and a half hours from Manchester, as well as so incredibly cheap, well, frankly there's no excuse not to go!

I can't wait to see what Michael made of it on his visit there in the new series.

Warmest regards to you all,

Re: Czech Republic by geordiegirl on 12 August 2007 1:45am
You make me want to go back immediately, Paul. We visited this amazing city in 1988 *blushes* -despite the history, the architecture, all the trappings of a western city,it was obvious the communist system was collapsing.Still, the Spring Music Festival was wonderful & there are some amazing concert venues.

Yes, what marvellous people they are, you find this such a lot in eastern Europe, the welcome is huge. Someone on this site said they didn't get Monty Python till 1989!

How nice that you have friends there now.And you got out of the capital & also really saw how people lived. You feel much more connected to a place when that happens.

Do let us know how you get on when you go back.
Re: Czech Republic by tucsonmike on 12 August 2007 2:40am
Prague is fun. Would like to return.
Re: Czech Republic by paulfranciswilliams on 12 August 2007 3:04pm
Yes, it was certainly an experience, and I'll definitely give you an update when I visit in September.

Re: Czech Republic by Markysek on 6 September 2007 3:40pm
Hi everyone, I'm so glad that you enjoyed our country so much. When you come next time to the Czech Republic, please let me know and we can meet each other.And I can give you some good tips here.
Re: Czech Republic by paulfranciswilliams on 7 September 2007 6:20pm
Hello Markysek,
That would be great, thank you for the kind offer. Where exactly do you live in Ceska Republika?

Re: Czech Republic by ztratovka on 11 September 2007 2:52pm
Hello all,

as you might now Michael is coming to Karlovy Vary in October

Re: Czech Republic by Markysek on 13 September 2007 5:50pm
To paulfranciswilliams: I live i Ceske Budejovice and study in Prague, so I am available in both these cities
Re: Czech Republic by kisch on 21 September 2007 9:31am
I'm just back from Prague, and I must admit that everything you say about this beautiful city is true. I have seen a lot of European cities and capitals, but Prague is still something special. New Europe it is indeed. The only thing I didn't like - the hordes of Russian tourists. But as they bring money to the country and help it to develop - let them be. Prague is love.

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