Prague: 13th February 2005
After an incredibly early start at 0420 to have a shower etc before heading off to the airport, I made it to Bristol International Airport. Had a mini problem after I had parked the car at reception to find out that when I came back that I had failed to leave the handbrake on and the people who were parked in front of me were gently pushing my car back. How embarrassed was I!!
Checked in all ok and waited for my flight to be called. I gave Hannah her early wakeup call as promised as she is off to Belgium to go and stay with her parents. I got her answer machine though. She called me back to let me know that she was in the bathroom. I then called Mum and Dad to let them know that I had made it to the airport ok. Being a lone traveller it was quite easy finding a seat on the plane. I sat in an emergency exit at the front of the plane. I was slightly alarming when the captain welcomed us all aboard the flight to Amsterdam though!! The stewardess did correct the captain though and we all had a good giggle. The stewardess told me that they only had a 7 min turn around at Prague before they headed back to Bristol and that their next destination was Amsterdam.
I texted Hels once I got off the plane but ended up waiting ages at baggage reclaim. My bag was one of the last ones to come off- typical! We got a taxi back to where Helena lives at Na Valentince 11/643, c5 150 000 Praha 5, Smichov, Czech Republic. The taxi driver drove like a major bat out of hell. On a par with some of the freaky Romanian drivers. She has a lovely modern flat which is decked out from Ikea. I settled in and gave her all of the bits and pieces that I had brought over for her of which she was very appreciative.
We decided to make a move out to have some lunch. We headed on the tram though initially we were going to walk but it started to snow so that idea went out of the window! Helena reminded me that although the Czech Republic became member of the EU in May the Euro was by no means being used everywhere over here, so my panic of getting Euros before I left was all in vain – they still use Korunas here. So I had to change Euros – now have absolutely no idea of the value of the money that I am using!
We headed to the old town square to view the sights that I remember so well from our trip back in 1998. We went to try and find the restaurant that we ate at back then that Helena and I then sneaked back to after a shopping trip together back then. We managed to find it – it was most bizarre. It had not changed a bit. Sadly we could not sit at the table that we sat at all those years ago but we still had a meal there. It was called Giovanni’s and it was an Italian. We went for a wander through some back streets around the Old Town Square and then stood to watch the clock chime at 4pm and watch the figures come out and so on that the clock is so famous for. We walked to have a look at the façade of St. Nicholas Church and then another wander but going nowhere really. We walked past a bar that I could hear the rugby (England v France) being played in – Mum was sweetly texting me the ‘live’ score.
We headed back on the Metro to Andel which is the stop that is closest to Helena to go to the shopping centre there to have a look at what films were on and the time etc. We then had a coffee and came back to the flat for a bit of a rest and a sarnie before going out again to the cinema. I did feel quite sick and almost quite emotional in our rest back at the flat. Quite homesick too – how daft! – I am 26 for heaven’s sake. I think that with all that has been happening over wanting to leave school and Fiona’s death on New Year’s Eve it all started to catch up with me as I relaxed. We went to see Closer in the cinema (Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Clive Owen & Natalie Portman) a very clever film but really not that much to it. It was definitely not a film that would have been suitable for Helena to see with her Christian friends to put it mildly!! We came home and went straight to bed. I am on a futon in the kitchen area. I was shattered but then it was a pretty long day for me! (Bed at 10.30pmish) Lovely to be away but pangs of homesickness in the pit of mu stomach – hopefully they will go by morning.