Saturday, March 17, 2007

Czech it out.

I have recently returned from city break in Prague where I went with Craig as a treat fro completing my nursing course. I did not know what to expect having never been to a former Communist country before but I was determined to enjoy myself. It was one of the quickest check-in/flight/check-out I had ever experienced and the whole travel thing was hassle free. Prague airport if very modern and better than most I have seen in the UK. Now for the trip to the hotel.

Myself, Craig and seven others crammed into a minibus (much cheaper than a cab) and the driver set off at 90mph around the narrow and busy streets. We had only been in Prague for 20mins when the minibus driver (and so the passengers too) was almost involved in an accident. But we arrived at the hotel in one piece. It looked a little stark from the front but the receptionist (Svetlana – how very Communist) was polite, the room large and clean and the mini-bar full and cheap ! Now to explore the city.

We set off map in hand (looking very touristy) to see the sights. Unfortunately, the map was not that good and it was starting to get dark so we decided to eat and drink (and me smoke) and save the exploring for the morning. Now I don’t want to go into great detail about every little thing that we got up to whilst away but I must say that Prague is a wonderful city and the Czech people were nothing but hospitable. A place that you must go and see. Now here are my five tips for having fun in Prague:

1. Leave the map at home.
There are enough large and visible landmarks to prevent you from getting completely lost and anyway you will never see anything with your head stuck in a map. Explore, get lost, explore some more – it is much more fun.

2. Sturdy shoes.
The best way to explore Prague is by foot but be warned, there are lots of hills and cobbled paths both of which can be enough to cripple you. Maybe that is why we saw many people with crutches whilst we where there.

3. Be careful on the roads.
Not many drivers take too much notice of the zebra crossings and you don’t get that much time to cross them. Drivers rarely indicate and never use their breaks ! The trams travel at a surprising fast speed and stop for no man. Look both ways, look again, make sure your life insurance is up to date, run to the safety of the other side.

4. Shop around.
Weather it is for sights, food or presents look around. Get off the main tourist places and look further a field. You will experience much more of the real Prague if you avoid the garish neon signs and gaudy hoardings of Wenceslaus Square and head into the Jewish and Old Quarters. Food is slightly cheaper than the UK but the Czechs don’t seem to have a concept of portion control – you will get loads for your money. Beer is always cheap (60p for ½ litre) and so are cigarettes (£1.60 for 20 Marlboro Lights).

5. Look up.
One of the best things about Prague is the gorgeous architecture but most of it is just above normal eye level. Don’t stare at your feet – look above the horizon and see the wonders of the art-deco hotels, the history of the Jewish Quarter and the starkness of the Communist tenements (strangely beautiful in an odd way). Also the graffiti can be very attractive in places and can also be used as handy landmarks.

Friday, March 02, 2007


I am about to graduate ! Three years of training are about to come to an end and I face the big bad world as a qualified nurse. And I am shitting myself !!! But the panic can hold off for a moment as I still do not have a job. Looking hard but the funding crisis within the NHS has hit hard and newly qualified staff seem to be bearing the brunt of it all. But here is to happier times to come.

I would just like this opportunity to thank (well the Oscars have only just gone) everyone who has supported me over the last three years and got me to where I am today – an un-employed nurse. No, seriously I couldn’t have done it without you all.

Thanks again.