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2015 : Exploring Europe

April 2015
Jump to London 2016 postings.
Jump to London 2017 postings.

Our 2015 holiday started on 07.04.2015. Left Kuala Lumpur via Emirates arriving Heathrow terminal 3 the next morning an hour late at 8:00 a.m. local time. No problem as hotel check-in is 12:00 p.m. Shuttle transport from Heathrow to Travelodge Hotel in Southwark has both been pre-arranged.

Heathrow airport.

Arrival at Heathrow airport

Once cleared immigration and custom, proceed to pick-up my portable pocket wi-fi provided by Tep Wireless at it’s pick-up point at the terminal and purchased two Oyster Cards for me & my wife at Heathhrow underground station which is quiet a walking distance away. Once these settled, it’s just waiting for our shuttle pick-up time to be transferred to our hotel.

Tep Wireless

Tep Wireless pocket wi-fi. Works like a charm provided you are in an area with good signal.

Oyster Card

Oyster cards.

We have booked our hotel, Travelodge Southwark and were happy as the room was spacious. It was on the 7th floor facing ‘The Shard’. There’s a LCD TV, coffee/tea making facilities and ample electrical sockets to charge our devices. Hot water in the bathroom comes within seconds. Free 30 minutes strong & stable wi-fi per day.

Travelodge Southwark

Travelodge Southwark, London. About a minute walk to Southwark underground.

The Shard

‘The Shard’ from our hotel window. The double glazed window kept noise outside.

Next door to the hotel is a small grocery shop which also sells some halal products. I consider Travelodge Southwark as ‘muslim friendly’.

Just a block away within a minute walk, is the entrance to Southwark underground and a little further, Southwark bus stop. This hotel is really situated conveniently.

Travelodge Southwark.

Travelodge Southwark location.

London tube route

Useful London tube map. Click to enlarge.

London bus route

Useful London bus routes. Click to enlarge.

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Germany, Austria & Czech Republic. Pt 7.

Czech Rep, Day 11 – Prague

September 2014

Quick links : Halal Food  Andel Market  Dancing Building  Kafka Museum   Petrin Hill/Petrin Tower  Powder Gate Photo spot
Like yesterday, I was out to see Prague at dawn. Today I headed the opposite direction towards Powder Gate tower. Like Charles bridge yesterday, the streets were almost empty, a stark contrast during the day.

First past the deserted outdoor Hard Rock cafe and the still shut outlet/indoor cafe. Then past the astronomical clock and the empty Old Town square and onwards to the Powder Gate tower. What a peaceful walk and the morning chill makes it refreshing.

Hard Rock Prague
Hard Rock outdoor cafe.

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The still shut Hard Rock in the early morning.

Prague astronomical clock
The Astronomical clock from across the Old Town square.

Street to Powder Tower
Street to the Power Gate in the background.

Prague Power Gate
The Powder Gate in the early morning.

After breakfast, we headed over to the Dancing Building … that unmistakable landmark of Prague. As famous it could be, there were still empty floors for rent after all these years.

Prague dancing building
Prague Dancing building.


Lots still available for rent.

Diagonally opposite the Dancing Building, on river Vltava, there were 2 floating restaurants.

Boat on Vltava
Prague floating restaurant.

From here, we took the tram to the nearby Andel station crossing the Vltava river. On Fridays, there is a morning market selling vegetables, fruits, breads, flowers and the like right in-front of Andel station. A big supermarket at the station, would fulfill your other requirements.

Andel Friday market
Friday morning market in-front of Andel station.

Andel Friday market
Your week’s requirement can be gotten here.

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Varieties of bread to choose from.

andel market flower
The flower section.

From Andel station, we took a tram to Ujezd to go up Petrin Tower on Petrin Hill. You go up to Petrin Hill via a funicular using the normal tram ticket of 24CZK each way. On reaching Petrin Hill, you’ll walk across a beautifully maintained rose garden to the tower. Entrance to the 55m high Petrin tower is 120CZK, and you can either walk up 299 steps or take a small lift for an additional 60CZK. We choose the lift up but for the descend, we walked down instead.

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Petrin Hill rose garden.

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Another view of the rose garden.

Petrin Tower
The Petrin Tower looming from the rose garden. A short walk from the funicular stop.


Closer view of the Petrin Tower.

Petrin hill bench
Benches to relax at the rose garden.

The Petrin tower is definitely one of the best photo spot in Prague. Although we went up at 12:00 p.m. there were still mist in the far background. On a clear day, you should be able to get a  beautiful photograph of Prague city.

Prage castle from petrin tower
Prague castle complex from Petrin tower.

Charles bridge from petrin tower
The Charles bridge from the tower.

Close by to the funicular station at the Petrin foot hill coming up from Ujezd tram stop, you’ll see these statues. The Memorial to the victims of Communism.

The Memorial to the victims of CommunismThe disappearing man statues by David Cerny.

Concluded our Petrin Hill & Petrin Tower visit, we took tram No. 22 towards Malostranske namesti. A short walk off the Charles bridge to the left, is Frank Kafka museum. These pissing statues will be greeting you.

Kafka pissing statues
Pissing statues outside Frank Kafka museum.

Towards your right, from the Charles bridge just before Kafka museum, is Prague’s narrowest street … probably Czech’s narrowest. So narrow, it has traffic lights for pedestrians. You can only walk one abreast.

Prague narrowest street

Prague or world’s narrowest street. See the pedestrian traffic light?

Prague's Narrowest Street

Location of Pargue’s narrowest street. Click for bigger map.

To end our day, we had a late lunch at Istanbul Kebab, a turkish halal restaurant. It’s location is right in-front of The Palladium side entrance. It’s diagonally opposite Hotel Ibis Old town close to Republiky tram stop. Muslim travelers may want to take note of this eatery or alternatively at Nordsee inside Palladium mall’s food court.

Turkish restaurant
Turkish restaurant, Istanbul Kebab besides Palladium mall. Tasty food.

Istanbul Kebab
Location of Istanbul Kebab. Nordsee is inside Palladium on the food court level.

Germany, Austria & Czech Republic. Pt 6.

Czech Rep, Day 10 – Prague

September 2014

Royal Gardens Prague  John Lennon wall  Hard Rock Prague  Havelske street market  Wenceslas Square

Start of the 2nd day at dawn, I walk over to Charles Bridge from our hostel for some morning shots of the bridge. It a short distance taking only 4 minutes. A total contrast from the maddening mid-day crowd. At 6.20 a.m. the bridge was so peaceful, calm and the bridge lights were still lit giving that romantic mood. There were more photographers, men & women than locals passing by. Temperature was about 12 C°.

Charles bridge morning
The 6.20 a.m. morning ‘crowd’ on Charles Bridge.

Karlova street morning
Karlova street leading to our hostel at dawn.

Just before 9.00 a.m. after breakfast, I headed back to Charles Bridge with my wife. There were still no crowd .. just like dawn earlier but a little more locals getting to work. From the Old Town bridge tower we walk to the other side but before reaching the Lesser Town bridge tower, we took a left turn down the stairs where there is a small square lined with trees. We are now on Kampa Island.


Trees on Kampa island
Tree lined square on Kampa Island.

Taking a right turn to Hroznova street, it led us to a small bridge leading the way to John Lennon wall. The railing of the bridge is packed full of love padlocks. Wonder whats the combined weight of these padlocks.


Prague love padlocks
Virtually no more space for one more padlock.

A short walk from this bridge, we arrived at one of my favorite artist, ex-Beatles John Lennon wall. This wall, a tribute to him.


In memory of John Lennon.

Prague John Lennon wall
John Lennon wall, Prague.

From the Lennon wall, we walked to Malostranska tram stop and took tram No. 22 to visit Prague Castle once again on our own. We got off at Prazsky hard tram stop and walk towards the 2nd courtyard entrance we entered yesterday. Mid-way to our left is the Royal Gardens. We strolled around for a while and proceeded straight to the Castle square viewpoint for pictures of Prague’s rooftops.

Prague royal garden
The Castle Royal garden.

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Another view of the Royal garden.

Rooftop from castle square
Prague rooftops from the Castle square.

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Stairs up to the castle main entrance (1st courtyard).

After the castle we proceeded back to Old Town and went to Hard Rock to purchase a few T-shirts for our children. Hard Rock is just nearby the astronomical clock.

Hard Rock Prague
Hard Rock Cafe, Prague.

Hard Rock Cafe Prague
Entrance to the merchandise shop & indoor cafe.

From the Old Town square, we walk over to Wenceslas Square passing Havelske street market. You’ll find fruits, handiwork as well as other products sold here. Fridge magnets are worth buying here as they are priced cheaper. And on to Wenceslas square, you can buy branded products and visit the National Museum at the other end of the square.

Havelske market
Havelske street market.

Havelske street market
The colorful wooden tulips is a nice buy.

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A lot of varieties at Havelske street market.

Wenceslas Square
The National Museum at one end of Wenceslas Square.

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Streets of Wenceslas square where outlets sells branded products.

We ended our day’s activity walking back from Wenceslas square to our hostel in the early evening. Unlike other locations, we stayed an extra night in Prague and have the whole day tomorrow to explore Prague further.

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