Our adventure stated in the cold of December 2017 when Anne Cooper, Simone Cudworth and Hilary Wensley decided to take a party to The Northwest England Region Girlguiding Event “Adventures in Prague” . Both Anne and Hilary had been to Prague before so felt able at least to be able to find it on the map!! We duly signed up, identified the Rangers and Guides and received in early January 2018 a comprehensive booklet from the Region’s Team; Caz, Sara, Nicki and Sarah. This provided us with all of the information required to get us started and told us about the whole event in more detail. We then met to discuss our ideas as a group and then turned our outline ideas over to our logistics manager for the whole event-Rob Wensley who after some hours searching on the internet found a fantastic deal with BA Flights, 4* hotel with pool, en suite rooms and only 20 mins by metro from the city with unlimited breakfast cheaper than flights and hostel. We booked and all of a sudden we were definitely going!! When we met up with other groups we found they too had booked package deals this way!!
More information came from Region and finally our teddy mascot called PAVLA arrived. We were to take photos with her everywhere -specifically methods of transport, the more photos the more points!! Points meant prizes! The region event worked only with Instagram which meant the adults in the group had to be brought up to speed by the girls. We spent many a happy moment having the intricacies of What’s app and Instagram explained!!
Thursday August 9th finally came and as dawn was breaking 8 of us with left Darwen by mini bus to travel to the airport, meeting the others from Rossendale in a well know coffee shop!! After bacon butties and more coffee we were off. Through check-in , ( no luggage over weight as we had 21 kgs each) security, and then the departure lounge. SHOPPING!! before the flight to London YES Pavla got a photo on the flight deck. Thanks to the cabin crew and our uniforms!! Transfer to Terminal 5 and then on to Prague a slight delay on departure but we got to Prague early evening to be met by the Northwest Team wearing yellow t-shirts who were meeting all arrivals it was great to see the friendly faces – and have a very noisy welcome!! Prague certainly knew that Girlguiding had arrived in town!! Our logistic manager had arranged a taxi /mini bus to take us to the hotel – they were great, giving us water, maps and a booklet on Prague!! The hotel was everything we could wish for and we were all on the same floor!! Dinner in the hotel a mixture of Czech food and international food so everyone had their choice – the schnitzel was great as was the cheesecake!!
Friday started with food (Breakfast) and by 10.00AM we were on our way to the Metro,2 mins away. We all got metro tickets for 3 days which meant we got unlimited travel on trams, and metro, an excellent choice. The metro was great – a bit like the London underground and the maps were really useful as it did help you check you were going in the right direction!! Prague we knew was a city to walk in so we walked!! As you can imagine there was lots to see, and we were easily diverted by the market, a giant panda in the Old Town Square, the Astronomical Clock, the painters and caricature artists on the Charles Bridge! We stopped for lunch after finding the location of the meeting point for the event on Saturday and then caught the tram up to the Castle Complex. All en route taking pictures of Pavla on different modes of transport Pavla got to ride on a balloon, vintage car, tram and lots more. At the castle more airport style security, before meeting up with a group from the Wirral on the Bridge. The sightseeing continued -St Vitus cathedral, the Castle Square, the Christmas shop. We finally gave up when the rain started and so it was on the metro back to the hotel for a chill, and a swim! .
More food ( dinner in the hotel ) before venturing back to the city for an underground tour of the City .Before the tour we all indulged in Trdelnik (chimney) cake with chocolate and / or vanilla sauce superb!! For those who do not know Trdelník is a kind of spit cake. It is made from rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick- a lot taster than dampers!!
The tour was not quite what we were expecting (we had more hoped for ghost stories ) but it proved interesting. We heard about the various ways to torture and behead people and a lot about the floods in the city. The tour was interesting if a bit too long so when we got to the end of the tour which was near to our metro stop we said our goodbyes and thank you’s rather than return to the Old Town Square. A short walk then the Metro where we met another group of Guides en route to their accommodation. In a true spirit of friendship (or sabotage for Saturday?) they kidnapped one of our leaders, preventing her exiting the Metro at our stop. Fortunately she escaped at the next station and swiftly returned to us before we got back to the hotel ready for a bright and early start for the Northwest region event.
Adventures in Prague uniform on we started out on Saturday at 8.30 (after breakfast) to meet up with 350 others from across the North West Region. The day started and ended at Prague Crossroads Zlatá 211/1, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia. The wide game was from 9am -4pm On arrival we were given a pack of information, which explained the specifics of the wide game. The main aim was for us to use our navigation skills to explore the whole city. Each team was given a set of challenges and tasks which could gain us team points along the way. Photos of these needed to be uploaded to Instagram to earn our group points. So after planning, and swopping cards by other members to make a picture of a crown, we had a route. We decided to do one side of the river first, so we set off -we had a plan -, and alongside this a set of small cards of things we had to take photos of on route, definitely a challenge. We did well! finding the places was not easy ,and en route we were stopped by Czech people asking about what we were doing and wanting to take photos, people offering to help at points and as the annual PRIDE march was in Wenceslas Square we also had to only cope with lots of extra people! It was hot!! and we had also to be at two specific points at set times during the day!! At one stop, the Scout Institute, we were meet by the team and had to complete 6 challenges before we could have the 6 pieces of the jigsaw puzzle which when up correctly gave you the key number to open the locked chest for your team’s treasure!!. Not easy to complete your history of Guiding knowledge or code breaking in a very hot space against the clock!! We did it and were rewarded with sweets, more things we had to take pictures of! By lunch time we had made the decision not try to do the Castle and instead do Petrin Hill – with the extra challenges that involved queuing for the funicular railway!! Here, thanks to some negotiations we were able to delay our final stop at the Gingerbread House to decorate our gingerbread!! We got there on time following a very speedy walk!! A much needed break was required so ice creams and a drink followed by shopping!!.The evening party was at 7.00pm so we arrived there after a meal in a cellar !.At the party the winners of various categories were announced and although we did not win we had a great time.
As a group we had decided to have a lazy morning on Sunday before spending the rest of the day doing the things we had not managed to do before !! So after chill morning of swimming, table tennis (the hotel only had 2 balls and we crushed one) we set off for the city. The Dancing House was the first stop followed by lunch by the river! Then a short walk to the John Lennon Wall. We left our marks! More shopping on the Charles Bridge and Charlotte and Emily along with the rest of the group made and remade their Ranger Promises. Sunday also gave us the opportunity to finish off the Benelux and France Trefoil Guild challenge the Bridge of Friendship crossing 6 different bridges! We arrived at Charles Bridge for more shopping and then went on to eat our third Turdle Durdle Cakes !! ( Trdelnik (chimney cake ) Only this time they were filled with Ice cream, strawberries and lots of other goodies!! More shopping and a meal before heading to the Blacklight Theatre at Ta Fantastika to see ‘Aspects of Alice’.
All too soon Monday morning came and we had to do the return journey! I would like to say this was without incident, but the security and check in was challenging at Prague as was the transfer at Heathrow, but thanks to Ross of British Airways we were finally on the plane back to Manchester! – We said goodbye to the Simone and Anna from Rossendale before a mini bus ride back to Darwen!.
A wonderful time was had by all !!