31 July & 1 August 2011

When touring by motorcycle it is a luxury to stay more than one night at the same place. The constant packing, loading the bike arriving at the next hotel, checking in, unloading the gear and carrying it to your room can become a bit tedious. Each night the following comes off the bike:

– left side pannier inner bag with laptop, maps, travel guide books and plugs/cables
– waterproof roll bag (this sits on the back seat of the bike) with my clothes etc
– camera bag from the top box
– GoPro video camera and mount from where ever it has been mounted for the last few rides of the day (this usually goes inside the camera bag so I have less things to carry)
– helmet (to charge up the Bluetooth headset)

Of late I’ve also been taking the GPS off so I can download my tracks for a more permanent record of where I’ve been.

If it has been raining I may also need to bring in my wet weather gear to allow it to dry out properly before packing away again for another rainy day.

About the only thing that stays on the bike is the left pannier inner bag which contains some tools (don’t know what I would do with these if the bike broke down anyway!), a puncture repair kit and 12v tyre pump, some cable ties and duct tape.

The challenge at the end of a long day in the saddle is to get all this stuff into your hotel room in one trip. It is possible but not without a struggle.

With two whole days in Prague and no luggage to repack and reload, my biggest worry was where to leave the bike. At the recommendation of Kristina from the hotel, and following much nervousness on my part, the bike was left in the open air car park opposite the bus station. At least there was some shelter that the bike would fit under to keep it out of the rain. I was assured the car park was manned 24hrs a day and the bike would be left within view of the attendant. Reluctantly I parked up the bike, activated the central locking (yes my bike does have this – activated from the key fob) and turned on the alarm. I said goodbye to it on Saturday afternoon – planning only to return on Tuesday morning to pick it up and move it to the hotel so it was handy for the morning loading routine.

Anyway, no point worrying about it now. Can’t watch it all day – and always trust the advice of locals. Unless of course the locals are part of a motorbike scam!

Fingers crossed it is still there on Tuesday morning when I need it again (and it was, just as I had left it).

Even though it looks a little dodgy, the staff kept an eye on the Family Truckster 24/7 so it really was safe as a house.  At least it was out of the weather and had some company.

Of the two full days I had in Prague I spent Sunday wandering around the tourist areas. On Monday I stayed in the hotel and caught up on emails and got this blog up to date (only got the go ahead from Grant of Horizons Unlimited the previous day).

The thing about Prague and other great or iconic cities like it is there is just no view of this city that hasn’t already been photographed. Many before me have worked all the angles and photographed the wonderful buildings, bridges, monuments, statues and streets much better than I ever could. Nonetheless it was good to wander around this city I have heard much about and never before visited.

Before I conclude with a some of the typical tourist snaps of this wonderful city, I would like to share one photo which you may have never seen of Prague before. It is my favourite photo from Prague.

Feeding the ducks

Everyday life in Prague

And so on with the other images that many will recognise.

Maybe I should have spent more time wandering around but I did get to watch the F1 GP in Paddy’s Bar with a bunch of Irishmen – and it was a very good race!

Update: Prague was a bit of a turning point between myself and Kalahari George – hope things stay on course for the rest of my Turkey motorcycle tour.  His Aussie mate was also in town and to my dismay there was a bit of carrying on like Aussie students in the big city on their first overseas holiday without their parents.  Their appetite for strip clubs was not quite what I had in mind when I agreed to join them for drinks/dinner on our first night in Prague.  It was also on this evening that I learned of Kalahari George’s currency arrangements.  He was travelling through Europe, refused to use any type of credit/debit card or cash point and was carrying British pounds.  Small amounts (< £50) were exchanged regularly – but with such low value transactions why shop the rate with every dodgy money changer on the main drag?  It was like a sport to him so barter and extract the best rate possible for very little monetary benefit. We waited for him for what seemed an eternity to return with enough local currency for the evening’s entertainment.  I managed to bite my tongue for now but this wasn’t to be the last time he would involve me in his currency needs.