Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Goodbye Prague...and Hello Again

I originally started to write this entry at the end of April 2015...

I now just have a few hours left before my taxi arrives to take to me the airport for the last time. My bags are all packed and I've already done three or four sweeps of the apartment on Francouzska where I have spent the last few months. I am excited about going home, but I am also aware that my life is never going to be quite the same again..

And that was as far as I got. I wanted to write so much more, but after leaving, I soon got caught up in my old life back in the UK and time ebbed away and the sentiments became more and more muted. I did miss Prague. I missed the new friends I'd made and I missed the beauty of the city. But I was happy to be back with my girlfriend and back in my own home...

Fast forward to October 2015 and I got a message via LinkedIn from a former colleague asking if I'd consider returning to Prague for another contract; same company but a different role. I replied saying I'd think about it, but in reality I didn't fancy upping sticks again, especially only six months after I'd left. In the end, it took me a week to decide (I won't bore you with the details), and on the morning of 30th October I landed back at Václav Havel airport ready to start my second Prague adventure in 12 months.

Once again, the good people at Happy House rentals had worked their magic and I was really excited about moving into my new apartment. Although I'd been really happy in Vinohrady, this time I couldn't find anywhere that fully met my requirements, so instead I opted for a place in the old town, just a hundred yards from the Charles Bridge.

It's a palatial, two bedroom apartment with high vaulted ceilings, a simply furnished sitting room, well equipped kitchen, bathroom with bath and walk in shower and a spare loo just in case. I adore it - and it has become affectionately known as the Pent-Palace. The location is stunning - from the front door of the building I can see the Vlatava, from the back bedroom I look out over Anenské Námestí. It takes a minute to walk to the Charles Bridge, two mintues to walk to the metro at Staromēstská and five minutes to walk into the Old Town Square.

I have one of the most amazing city jogging routes in the world - although it starts getting a bit crowded after eight o'clock in the morning as the tourists start to dominate this part of town - starting at the Karlūv Most (Charles Bridge), under the castle, back over Mánesūv Most, and back down Križovnická to the flat.

While I'm waiting for the tram to get to work in the morning I look over the Vltava at the castle and see it in a different light every day. I used to get a buzz just getting a small glimpse of the Disney-esque skyline on the walk down to I.P. Pavlova, but this is a full frontal panorama.

View from the tram stop
OK, so it's not all perfect - the downside of the location is that it can be a bit noisy - especially at five in the morning when the clubs kick the last of the drunks out, and I sometimes get woken up by idiots   chanting and clapping. I do miss the little grocery stores that abound on my old street, Francouska, but the big Me superstore at Národní Trída is only ten minutes walk away, and in real emergencies there's a 'potraviny' round the corner, but it's really expensive (by Prague standards).

My contract runs until the end of April (they know I like six month deals) but I have a sneaking suspicion I might end up staying a bit longer than that this time around...

God, I love this town!