The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville


The Happy Wanderer - Last Episode of the Baltic Saga

Having left the Baltic States behind we entered the Czech Republic and headed for Prague, making sure we purchased a vignette at the border, this you have to stick in the bottom right corner of your windscreen “it is a form of road tax for specified period” they are checked by cameras on the motorways and if you are caught without one it’s an instant fine of several hundred pounds, I should know I was caught without one in Austria! last year. It would be a good idea if we did the same in the UK, making all the foreign lorries using our roads get them when they enter the country, so they contribute to our road maintenance.

Winter and Lent Edition 2010

View of Prague

We found a campsite on the outskirts of Prague, from where it was only a short tram journey into the town centre. The tram system is an integral part of the people of Prague’s way of life, there is even a tram museum in the city.

This is another town that I hope to go back to, there is so much to see, and of course there is the Charles Bridge with all the statues along its sides. This is usually what you see shown of Prague in film clips or holiday add’s but it really is an interesting attraction to see, what with all the activity going on there. Of course there are the numerous very beautiful Churches to visit and towers to climb which naturally I had to do, as you always get a fantastic panoramic view from such places.

There is the Prague Castle just over the river sitting on a rocky hill; its dominant feature being the Cathedral of St Vitus, St Wenceslas and St Adalbert its three saints. It was built over six centuries from 935 to 1541 when it burnt down to its foundations, then had to be rebuilt over the next four centuries and was rededicated in 1929.  It is the residential church of the Archbishop and is not only the spiritual symbol of the church but also of the Czech state and nation. It has gained its importance by becoming the location for coronation ceremonies and the burial site of kings; also the store for rare treasures including the Czech crown jewels. There are also panoramic views of the rest of the town from its vantage point which made the whole complex well worth visiting.

    As in most of the large towns I have visited “with rivers”, there is always the boat trip to take as this gives you a different perspective of the city. I also enjoyed walking around the main and back streets of this city, which is unusual for me as I am not a city shopper, preferring the countryside and mountain areas. All the jewellery shop windows were full of Garnets made into all sorts of jewellery and as that is my favourite gemstone it gives me another incentive to return. But I am sure every thing will be much dearer now than when I was there, due to the rise of the euro against the pound plus the cost of living increases which have occurred in the country over the last few years.

Leaving Prague behind it was a couple of days drive to Strasbourg, stopping overnight at a rough and ready campsite by a lake but the view and weather was nice so it did not matter too much.

Strasbourg is another very attractive city which had rivers running all round and through it. The centre had many narrow streets lined with very old wooden framed houses, no more so than in the Petite France area of the city which I found most interesting and really pretty. Of course there was the usual Cathedral which I cannot remember too much about, also the squares where you could sit out in the sun to have a beer and eats; I liked that bit as well!

Charles Bridge with Castle and Cathedral

View in Petite France

The camp site we stayed on had streams running through, one of which I was backed up against, it was a lovely place to sit and watch the water running past with a gin and tonic by my side and wondering if there were any fish worth catching. Only to be aroused from my day dreams by a movement on the river bank close to my feet, the biggest water rat I had ever seen! he turned out to be on closer inspection a coypu. He must have been advance guard as dad came along soon after and “he was even bigger” followed by mum and siblings, so being the sucker that I am, I kept them supplied with bits of apples, biscuits and bread for the rest of my stay there.

   On leaving there I headed straight across central France to the west coast to where a friend of mine lives at Gemozac this town is about an hour north of Bordeaux, to have a few days rest and recreation “as if I needed it” being on permanent holiday, before returning home and to St George’s.

Here endith the Saga.

Christine L Culley

My friendly Coypu