The Anonymous Widower

From The Charles Bridge To The Station

To get out of Prague, I needed to catch the 14:30 train to Dresden. I left it a bit tight and in the end I had to walk across a lot of the city, whilst trying to find a Metro station. I took these pictures as I walked.

What complicated matters was that when I changed from Line B to Line C at Florenc, there was a power cut. Luckily, I used another escalator to get to the surface and then entered gain through another entrance direct to the other line.

Add to this these features of Prague’s transport system.

1. There are no maps of either the trams or the metro on the surface that are readable.

2. Each separate Metro line has a different colour of signs and not all entrances to the Metro are signed.

3. There are no walking maps, even at important places, unlike in Krakow, Dresden and Leipzig

4.Prague is not in Poland, where the locals have good English and don’t have to be asked before they offer help.

5. Prague has too many visitors for its transport system.

I also had to get to the station in good time, as I’d left my bag in the Left Luggage Office and as it was lunch time, it might be closed whilst the guys had their lunch. But once I got to the main station all went well. Even if I was a bit early!

After I’d left Prague, it all reminded me of Vaclav Havel‘s play; The Memorandum, which I heard on Radio 4, probably over thirty years ago.


June 13, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Climbing To Prague Castle

These pictures document my journey from the station, where I dropped my bag, up to Prague Castle.

I had hoped to avoid walking up too many hills, but I did have to climb the last bit, only to find, that a 22 or 91 tram could have taken me right up the hill.

The Czech Republic has a real problem with its language, with lots of characters unfamiliar to visitors. But I didn’t have the same problems in Budapest, where the language is equally indecipherable.

In my view Prague could solve a lot of their transport problems, by adding some simple signs, which as I found a couple of years ago in Munich could be picture-based.

The Blanka tunnel being built appeared to be a road tunnel. And it is, if you look at Blanka Tunnel Complex in Wikipedia! Which says this.

The complex will connect the area west of Prague Castle with Trója district in the northeast. Its length is about 6.4 km and consists of three tunnels: Bubenečský, Dejvický and Brusnický. The tunnel complex was designed to relieve the historic centre of Prague from heavy traffic.

It’s just a pity, that some small change from the project, wasn’t used to improve the current system, with good maps and decipheral information.


June 13, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

An Essex Girl Shows New Yorkers How To Behave

We often forget that Dame Helen Mirren was brought up in Leigh-on-Sea, although she was born in Hammersmith.

There’s a story in the Daily Telegraph showing her riding in state on the New York subway and the praise she has received for her perfect posture and behaviour.

Essex Girls may be the butt of jokes, but like Dame Helen, they are often blessed with strong wills to do the right thing.

February 3, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

From Irun To Hendaya

The girls should obviously be put in charge of tourism in Irun, as their instructions were spot on and I found Irun Colon station from where I was able to get a train for Hendaye.

The only member of staff I met was from a completely different mould to his countryman at Irun station, and he sold me a ticket in a pleasant and professional manner.

After a trip of a few minutes I was in France.

December 10, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

The Bilbao Metro

The Bilboa Metro is only about twenty years old, so it still has a new feel about it.

Note the name of fosterito in tribute to Norman Foster, who designed a lot of the architecture. Read more about the design of the Metro here.

I can’t understand why I’ve never seen fosteritos on other Metro systems, as they work superbly, as covers for the up and down escalators. They also stand out from a distance and act as locators for the stations.

I liked it except for a couple of small points.

I like to surf down handrails with one hand for safety and this was difficult, as the hand rail supports tended to catch my hand. The DLR is the same in places.

I also had some trouble with buying the Barik card, which is their version of London’s Oyster.  I needed cash, as the system didn’t seem to work with any of my cards.

All Metro, tram and bus systems, should be like London’s buses and accept any bank card with a touch ability.

This is one thing that will happen worldwide.

The biggest advantage is that to top up my Barik card, I was constantly using up small change and notes, as I explored the city. With a bank card as a ticket, all you need to do is make sure you’ve credit available.

One piece of trivia for a pub quiz, is that the Bilbao metro map, must be the only non-UK map, with an English town shown as a destination. Look at the map in the pictures and you’ll see a ship labelled Portsmouth.

December 9, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Riding The Clockwork Orange

My mother visited Glasgow in the 1930s and first told me about the Glasgow Subway. I know little of her trip or was it trips to Glasgow, except that she went by coach. She also told once, how a lady on the coach, put her hair in curlers to go to sleep. I don’t think I ever saw my mother with her hair that way!

Why she went, I have no idea, but the trip to Glasgow was probably the only vaguely exotic place I ever her talk of going.

My host at dinner last night, had told me that a station on the Subway was about fifteen minutes walk from my hotel. So to explore the city centre, before I took the train south, I walked to the station at Hillhead. An illustration of how times change was the Waitrose opposite the station. Only a few years ago, their furthest north store was at Newark.

I took the train to Buchanan Street station, which was close to the main stations and shops.

Although, the stations all seemed to have a lith with a map and information outside, I don’t think I ever saw a system map inside a station or on the trains.

But then as it is effectively one line going continuously round in circles clockwise and another doing the same in an anticlockwise direction, it is about as far in concept from ninety-nine percent of the world’s metro and subway systems, as you can get. So perhaps a map would just confuse people unfamiliar with the system. I suppose that in my journey from Hillhead to Buchanan Street, I could have taken any train in either direction. This is a bit like London’s old Circle line, before they broke the circle and made it a spiral.

October 26, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

The Copenhagen Metro

The Copenhagen Metro is unusual in two ways; it is driver-less like the DLR and it doesn’t go anywhere near the main railway station for the city. As to the latter, I don’t think I’ve ever found a metro like that before. It certainly makes it difficult for visitors.

Hopefully, it will be better when they built the next line.

It is also not up to the standards I like in a Metro, with regard to information. As an example, there are no walking maps at the stations. But then I didn’t see a useable map anywhere in Copenhagen, although there were a couple in Frederiksberg.

June 19, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Exploring Budapest

As I usually do, I used a combination of walking and the various trams and metro lines. There is a card called a Budapest Card, but at the first station I tried near the airport, they just sold me an ordinary 24 hour ticket.

These are some of the pictures I took.

Particularly useful was the number 2 tram, which ran up and down the Danube. If you’ve got a 24-hour ticket, just get on the tram and sit down. You don’t have to touch in, although my ticket was checked on the Metro.

The only problems I had were the extreme cold and the lack of information and maps on the street.  But Budapest is one of those cities, where you can generally see one of major features like the Danube, Buda Castle or St. Stephen’s Basilica.

On the other hand, when I did get lost, a friendly Hungarian usually put me right. I was plagued a bit by hop-on/hop-off tourist bus salesmen, but I just ignored them, as I prefer to play my game of chance with the public transport. You see more interesting things, like the little girl sitting on the dog statue. How many places would allow that?

Incidentally, Line 1 of the Budapest Metro is the second oldest in the world and is included in the World Heritage Site for Budapest.

April 14, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Santa Apolónia Station

Santa Apolónia Station is the station by the Cruise Terminal of the same name.

These pictures show the station and the view from my room looking down on the station.

So if you are lucky and are berthed by the Cruise Terminal, you can use the station just behind it.

March 31, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Lisbon’s Metro

Lisbon’s Metro is modern, fairly extensive and impressive.

I used it several times and especially after I found there was a station by the Cruise Terminal.

One thing to note is that there is a very large El Cortes Ingles built on top of the São Sebastião Metro station, which is on the line that goes to the Cruise Terminal. The shop had a massive food department, so I suspect, it had a selection of gluten-free food.

March 31, 2013 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment