Wednesday : Prague Ibis to Prague Airport via Destroyed Russian Military Hardware

My final day in Prague and there are more photos on Flickr.

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My final breakfast at the Ibis Prague Mala Strana, which I accept looks very similar to those from previous mornings. Blue cheese and spicy chorizo though, why stray away from such fine choices?

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I decided that I’d get an all-day transport card which cost around £4 and I needed to get to the airport anyway. Excuse accidentally photographing my own finger, but I decided to get whatever tram came first at the stop and that happened faster than I had expected. I like doing this on trams (getting the random one I mean, not photographing my finger), as buses can go all over the place and be a little unpredictable, whereas tram tracks make it hard for the tram to stray very far.

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It happened to be tram 12, which went in the same direction that I had failed to reach the previous day because the riverside path had been closed.

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I got off at the Chaplin square tram stop, which for reasons unknown to me is named after Charlie Chaplin.

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There looked like an interesting park, but my attempts to have a little look were slightly thwarted by this. There’s a little bit of a story here, as someone (visible in the photo to anyone looking carefully) was having a substantial argument with the digger driver (or whatever they’re called). I assume the driver was annoyed that a random member of the public had breached his cordon, but at least it provided some momentary excitement for me and others.

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The public transport day ticket includes trams, the metro, ferries and the funicular railway. It proved to be a little challenging to get to the ferries to use them, but I’ll do that next time.

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I thought that this was powerful, the Memorial to the Victims of Communism, comprising of seven bronze statues representing those who suffered under the period of communist oppression and terror.

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The statues represent the same figure, but they show a more decayed figure as they go backwards, representing how communism destroyed lives. The strip through the middle shows a series of numbers, namely that 205,486 people were arrested, 170,938 were forced into exile, 4,500 died in prison, 327 were shot trying to escape and 248 were executed.

The nearby plaque reads:

“The memorial to the victims of communism is dedicated to all victims not only those who were jailed or executed but also those whose lives were ruined by totalitarian despotism”

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Not wishing to distract from the powerful nature of the installation, but one of the figures seemed to resemble a Labour politician.

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I didn’t like the representation of a snake quite so much.

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I was going to have a little trip on the funicular railway, but the queue was very long and I’ve done it before numerous times so it didn’t seem worth the wait. And it was too hot, which I don’t think that I’ve mentioned on this post yet. I expect I’ll mention it again though.

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This symbol is I think used by the Czech military, and the text on this one reads “Sergeant Major of NSG Jaroslav Janis Veren, the founder of the National Rifle Guards, laid down his life for the freedom of the nation”.

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There was an exhibition at Letná Park that I wanted to see, although to my slight annoyance I realised that meant climbing another great big hill. But, I didn’t complain of course, not least as there was no-one apparent to complain to.

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There were some nice views of Prague from the top of the mountain that I climbed in what I considered to be the extreme heat. I had several sit downs during the summit.

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The Prague Metronome, installed here in 1991 and it’s one of the largest in the world standing 23 metres in height.

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Before the metronome, this site was the location of a huge statue of Stalin (the largest representation of him in the world), built between 1949 and 1955 and designed by Otakar Švec, who killed himself a few weeks before the unveiling. The monument was blown up in 1962 after the Soviets started a process of disowning Stalin.

The quite ridiculous monument during the few years that it remained standing.

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This was the exhibition that I had been looking for that I had seen in some national newspapers, a number of Russian vehicles and equipment that had been destroyed by the Ukrainians. It took me around 45 minutes of looking around the park as I didn’t know exactly where it was, not an entirely ideal situation given the heat.

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The display of destroyed military hardware had previously been on display in Warsaw for a few weeks.

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“Be Brave like Ukraine”. Very powerful and inspirational.

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This display is located on Letná Park plain, an important location for pro-democracy movements over recent decades.

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I’ve looked in many vehicles like this over the years, but that’s usually in museums and they’re from conflicts some decades ago. It is sobering to think that Russian troops were seated in here just a few weeks ago.

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There were a few locals looking around the site, but this very much remains a city that is in solidarity with Ukraine with the number of blue and yellow flags and anti-Russian graffiti being testament to that.

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A quick trip on the Prague Metro to have one final craft beer experience before getting the flight back to London.

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I stopped at the Muzeum station to have a little wander about above ground and I was reminded by the quirky interior design of these underground arrangements.

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I’ve written before about this Catholic Church built in 1932, which I note was carefully locked up to avoid anyone trying to use it to get peace and solace in. God forbid that there might be an open church for individuals to pray in. I was sitting on the benches nearby and there was an almighty bang and lots of screaming, which caused some people to run away. It transpired they were doing road repairs and had dropped something, with that noise then scaring some nearby people and that promptly resonated far and wide. I never left the bench I was sitting on, it was too hot. I’ve never been one to panic without good reason though.

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A quick trip back to Beergeek, the city’s only Untappd Verified Venue, which I visited with Richard a few months ago.

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I had come all the way to Prague and ordered a Vault City Brewing beer from the UK, but it’s a delightful brewery and I wasn’t disappointed with the Raspberry Kir Royale. Suitably refreshing on such a hot day.

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My second beer was the Extra Cocoa Bananas from the local Sibeeria brewery and I very much liked the flavours, indeed a banana stout is one of my favourites, although it wasn’t quite rich enough to entire surprise and delight me. I like the cellar set-up here though, it’s interesting to peer through, with the service being as impeccable as before.

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With that done, it was time to think about getting back to the airport and that involved one final visit for the moment on the Prague Metro.

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All very well signed to connect to the airport bus, although it’s a shame that neither the Metro nor the tram network reaches the airport directly. This is apparently something they’ve planning to change as some random point in the future.

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It would be very hard to miss the signage for the 119 bus.

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It was also only a wait of a couple of minutes before the bus swept in. This efficiency of the public transport network meant that my plan to arrive three hours before my flight (which I thought was cutting it very fine) meant that I arrived four hours before my flight.

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Back at the airport, and I have to say I was quite sad to be returning, primarily as I have such a long gap before returning to the EU and my favourite countries such as Poland.

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And at the departures terminal, where I will pick up this scintillating (or something like that) story in the next post.