2000-04 (APRIL, 2000)

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is a magnificent city. It has preserved it's Art Nouveau architecture better than any other Western European city and it is a joy to walk around.

We began our two day walk in the Prague Castle which looms over the North-western corner of the city. Unfortunately so did every other tourist in town this weekend. In fact we spent most of the weekend trying to second guess what the other tourists would be doing so that we could avoid them, but regularly wound up bumping into other groups of people carrying which ever of our three guide books we were using at the time. From the castle we meandered down to the river via the Little Quarter and the first of 800 churches named in honour of St Nicholas. We crossed the Vltava River by way of Charles' Bridge. On the eastern side of the bridge we made our way into the Knights of the Cross square and from there down into the Old Town square. Here we found the Old Town Hall Tower, with it's Astronomical Clock, and had lunch. From the square we wandered further east down the main thoroughfare of Celetna. Along here we passed the House at the Black Sun, the Municipal House and the Powder Gate. Other afternoon sights included the Old Jewish Cemetery and the Museum of Decorative Arts.

We dined at a cute wee restaurant and walked home through town to the tram stop for the tram to our hotel.

On Sunday morning we arranged to meet Alan, a friend from work who was half way through a nine month secondment to the Prague office. We dawdled into town past the Dancing Building and the Rudolphinum. We met Alan for lunch and he took us on an afternoon tour of the local hostelries. The three of us commandeered a 1924 'taxi' to take us across town for diner at a fabulous restaurant called the Opera Grill.

We flew back to London early on Monday morning and went straight into work.

Lanzarote - The Canary Islands, Spain

Seven days of cheap and cheerful sunshine. We flew into Aricife on a Thursday afternoon and were ushered onto the bus that dropped us around the various hotels of Playa Del Carmen. Our middle-floor room was OK except for a worrying lack of hot water. We eventually traded up to a top-floor, hot-watered room.

On our first morning we were subjected to the expected, by still surreal, 'Hi-De-Hi' welcome courtesy of some cheesy letch. That was the end of our participation in the very English 'sit by the pool all day, drink beer, and talk about English football teams' holiday experience.

We braved the local transport system twice during our stay - once down to the much posher resort of Playa Blanca and once on a day trip up to the Lanzarote Cactus Gardens, which were very cool.

The dining options were a mixed bag and we returned twice more to a groovy Italian restaurant called L'Artista that we discovered on our second night on the island.

We flew home on Friday of the following week and stayed away from work until the Monday.