We had an exciting beginning to the New Year here in Brandys Nad Labem. There have been odd bangs around the place since we arrived two weeks ago, a bit like England in November. But, at close to midnight it really go under way and lasted for, we estimate, at least 20 minutes. There were rockets going up at the town square, plus at other sites all around the town. We have a very good view of it from our apartment. Eventually it mostly died down and we went to bed at about 0100HRS. I took quite a lot of video, but have yet to process it and prune it down to a short clip giving a sample of what the fireworks were like.
I have been obsessively checking the weather sites in search of snow predictions. There was a possibility of snow last night, but I tried to not get my hopes up too high. I woke up at about 0410HRS and found that there had been a light fall of snow. It lasted until morning, so I got photos of it at night, but also in daylight. It is now about 1300HRS here, and it has all melted.
I rang sister Marie as a special New Year’s Day treat to myself. Using Skype minutes, of course.
Stephen has been writing to Della and Tony and his family. I will include his emails below as they give things from his perspective.
First: the one to his family
Last night, NYE, was marked by sporadic fireworks for most of the evening, leading to a full gush as midnight approached. There was the main event at the town square, but individual groups seemed to be in competition to keep the momentum going. We got a good view from our fifth floor window, and we are 25 km East of Central Prague. And then in the morning some snow had fallen.
It is two weeks now from my attack. I still have a feeling of some rib cage strain, which makes me take walking and sitting movements a little tentative. We really now have put the “trip” on hold until this discomfort disappears. I am sleeping ok, but there is some discomfort in lying on my left side and changing position in bed. Progress is disappointingly slow, but after 12 weeks on the road, there is room to just do iPad work, what would we do without the Internet and our iPads???
Before the attack we had booked some tickets and we went through with these, but I had to go in and out by taxi as the 90 min bus and metro ride would not really have been possible. Curiously we have a taxi driver living in our apartment block so we use him, but it is $50 a ride so has to be used sparingly.
The couch where “it” happened, note iPad.
From my theatre box, waiting for Smetana’s Bartered Bride at the National Opera House
Susan waits for a Children’s Christmas concert to begin at the State Opera House.
The street view when we crossed the Elbe to explore the twin city to where we are living (Brandys nad Laben). Note the onions.
Stephen and Susan”
Then the one to Della and Tony:
“Dear Della and Tony and Yaxuan
We wish you a prosperous and happy new year!
We are now in Prague in the Czech Republic. It is now 12 weeks since we left Perth, and almost three weeks since we left London. London is a wonderful city. It is where I , Stephen, was born and I feel very at home there. We were able to find some houses where some of my ancestors lived. I also met up with two cousins. The English countryside is beautiful and during October we were able to get out and Explore. We decided to travel to Prague by bus. This trip took 22 hours and came through the Channel Tunnel. We needed to bring our own food as there were only three 15 min stops, apart from the 35 mins coming under the channel.
Last night it snowed so the first day of the year is a little white. This was after many minutes of fireworks at midnight which we can see from our 5th story apartment. Our apartment is about 90 mins by public transport from the centre of Prague. So far we have visited the theatre twice, as the theatre is reasonably priced, unlike London.
Thank you for photos of Yaxuan, she is making wonderful progress. You will be very proud parents. Sorry to hear about the traffic delays, I think for big cities public transport is the way to go. London has a very good network of tram, bus, tube and railway. And there is good documentation to help one use it.
Autumn colours in London
Walking at Farthing Downs, Surrey
An English Pub near Farthing Downs
Travelling in the top of a red London bus on the way to the British Museum
One of the many footpath signs, which make walking such a pleasure
Czech Republic, the river Elbe, 15 min walk from our apartment.
At the apartment, they have a connection with California.
So, it has been a very long trip, it will be good to get back to Perth, and some warmer weather.
Love from Stephen and Susan”
I wasn’t able to include the photos in the copy and paste, so will upload a few separately. Stephen takes photos on his (inherited from me) iPhone 5.