I survived a flood in Prague. Okay, I wasn’t really in any real danger, but it’s still fun to say. It makes my rain drenched Eurotrip sound much more exciting.
After spending three days in a rainy Paris, followed by a glorious sunny two days in Nice, and then another three days in a soaking wet and freezing cold Florence, we thought our luck had finally changed when we reached Vienna in Austria and the sky was clear. Okay, we thought, summer must finally have hit Europe. Goodbye rain, hello clear skies!
After drying out nicely in Vienna we made our way to Prague, a city that I had been dying to see, the one I was most looking forward to on our Eurotrip itinerary. After arriving at the train station we quickly made our way to public transport counter to buy our public transport tickets and pick up a map. The lady behind the counter was very friendly, answering all our questions and even speaking English! We said our thank you’s and goodbyes and started to leave, just as she shouts back to us ‘It’s gonna rain all weekend!’ with a smile on her face. Hmmm…now that was quite mean.
We refused to believe her. The rain was over. Surely. We’ve had enough of this now. We came to Europe for summer?
After finally coming up for air when emerging out of the Metro station, we saw the rain. Eish. Luckily our umbrella was in close reach, we’d done this before. Our hostel was pretty close so we didn’t get too wet (this was a change compared to finding our hostel in Paris…).
This rain then lasted for four days straight. There was one afternoon where the sun came out for about an hour or two, just long enough to give us hope that it was finished.
Determined not to let the rain stop us we carried on exploring Prague, doing as much as we could. We even joined a walking tour on the day where the rain seemed to be the hardest. This was when we realised that this rain situation could get quite serious. Coming from Joburg, where we get afternoon and evening showers that rarely last for more than an hour and it never rains for days straight, the thought of a flood never even crossed our minds. Until our guide told us that if it kept on raining for two more days there was going to be a flood. Woah! A flood??
The next day we were wandering around the city and came to the river, which was REALLY high. The streets right on the river were flooded and areas were cordoned off.
There was a constant stream of ambulances, fire engines and police going up and down the streets. There weren’t 10 minutes that went by without hearing the sounds of sirens. The roads even had cordoned off lanes for the emergency vehicles to use. It kind of started to get a bit exciting. We walked past the hospital where people were being wheeling in on stretches. The city seemed to turn into mayhem over night.
When we got back to our hostel another one of the people staying there told us that the army had been called in and Prague was now declared to be in a state of emergency. Holy crap! People were being evacuated from their homes and one lady had already died. This really was getting real.
We then heard that all of the public transport had been stopped – trams and metros, with only a few buses still running. The trains in and out of Prague were delayed as this flood was happening throughout the country. We heard a story of fellow travelers who had to take about four different trains to get from one side of Czech to Prague. We were meant to catch a train out of Prague into Poland the next day, so were slightly worried about what was going to happen.
So the next day after walking a few blocks to catch the only bus going to the train station we arrived to a packed station, full of people with bags staring at the departures board. We joined them and started watching for our train to show its arrival. It eventually came 90 minutes late, but it came. And after two other trains we arrived at our destination in Poland. And this was our departure out of a flooded Prague!
Besides all of the rain I really did fall in love with Prague. And if this happened while being hunched under an umbrella, constantly staring at the ground to avoid puddles, then I know it must be absolutely exquisite when the sun comes out.
Here are a few snaps around Prague:
Things I learnt while travelling in the rain:
- Buy a decent umbrella. If you are going to be using it a lot, you don’t want one that is going to keep flipping upside down.
- Get your own umbrella – sharing just doesn’t work so well.
- Wear a rain jacket! One that has a hood that covers your whole head!
- Closed shoes work best.
- Maps don’t really like rain…
- You will step in a puddle, as much as you try to avoid them.
- Don’t be scared of the rain – carry on doing what you had planned, you will regret it if you stay inside the whole time.
- It’ll stop eventually 😉
This post was written as an entry into the Travelstart Blogger Experience Contest.