Hailstorms in June?!

1 June 2018

Unsurprisingly, the toddler slept in until late today.  It was about 09:30 when she managed to wake up, which on some days would be great, but actually today, we were hoping to cycle the 16kms into Prague to meet up with Cousin Sam, who is just finishing his studies here, before heading back to Uni in Denmark.  Now that she’s discovered a love of porridge, that is all she wants for breakfast, so I took advantage of the lovely little kitchen set-up and made a big pan full for the three of us.

Literally as we set off on the bikes (already an hour later than planned), the rain came.  We don’t mind the rain too much, and we put on our waterproofs that I’d packed “just in case” and THEN…. a HAILSTORM!!  And not just any old hailstorm!  These were great big bullets smashing down on us.  They actually physically hurt – and Bugsy has a bruise on her leg from one of them.  Unfortunately there was nowhere to shelter for a couple of miles, so I wrapped Cornelia’s legs up in my spare shirt and we pedalled furiously to a bridge to take cover.

Luckily, Sam was very patient, and I kept updating him so he knew where we were. We had to hide under the bridge for about half an hour or so, and more and more people joined us, including a number of cars which were being dented by the hail.  It was hilariously epic!

Once the hail subsided, we decided to plough on in the rain, rather than wait for it to stop.  Most peculiarly, one of my contact lenses decided to split and then pop out of my eye, so along with the pouring rain all the way to Prague, I could not see very clearly either!  Eventually (and thankfully) the rain stopped as we approached the city centre.  We had to weave our way up some dodgy cobbled streets (dodgy because they were wet and slippery) so ended up walking with our bikes, and finally we spotted Sam.  What a relief!

I was completely soaked through (I have no mudguards on my bike) and once we’d made it to the restaurant, I legged it to the local H&M for a bagful of new, dry clothes.  Well, every cloud….!  A quick change,and a fresh contact lens inserted, and I finally felt normal again.

Lunch was tasty, although probably not ideal for Cornelia.  It is called Kantyna, and is a butcher’s restaurant, where you select the meats you want, along with the sides, almost like a buffet, then they cook it and bring it over to you.  We hedged our bets with Cornelia, and ordered a burger and sausages, on the basis that whatever she didn’t like, I would eat.  As it turned out, she didn’t like any of it, and she only just managed to force some potatoes into her mouth.  Oh well, you can’t win them all!

Sam was able to spend the afternoon with us, so led us through the Old Town Square (where unfortunately the astronomical clock was under scaffolding whilst being renovated) stopping for a hot chocolate for Cornelia (and much-needed coffee for us), and then shuffling our way over an extraordinarily busy Charles Bridge.  Most of the statues on the bridge are completely black with soot, but still strangely beautiful.  Cornelia was tiring and demanding to be carried all the time, so we didn’t stop to read all the memorials and dedications, unless something particularly caught her attention (like a waterwheel, hidden behind a mass of padlocks on the railings of the bridge).

Rather than retrace our steps, Sam took us on a circular route, which took in some more unusual sites.  Prague loves its sculptures – the weirder the better, it seems!

With the best part of the afternoon behind us, we said goodbye to Sam, and cycled back along the river to our campsite.  Thankfully, no rain this time!

We ate at the restaurant on the campsite (nothing special, but nothing wrong with it either) and managed to get Cornelia into bed and asleep by 20:00.  Hurrah!

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