It's way better than hop-on hop off bus because we were not in an enclosed van. We can feel the breeze, there's a feeling of no barrier from the scenery at its most natural setting. It was worth it.
We had them pick us up from the house which is really great as getting lost again on still tired body was not ideal. And they dropped us off to the restaurant where we have a booking for dinner. Perfect!
The owner is a half Sudanese, half Czech entrepreneur who personally lead our tour. His name is Arman.
Riksha cost CZK 850 per bike, CZK 200 per drop off or pick up so it cost us CZK 2500 in total back in 2014. Obviously four years after, their price increase a bit but not so much to stop you from trying it out.
One and a half hour (back then) of light tour with a few bits of history and introduction. So ideal for first timers in Prague. Not diluted with facts we can get from books and frankly speaking, we weren't ready for information overload.
We went to important places to get oriented to. We even went further across the bridge and got some tips of more things-to-do in Kampa Island.
Look at where they even brought us, right next to Vltava river to understand how high the last flood of 2002 was! It was a whoaa moment... I mean I know I am small but even a tall person will have a hard time with such high water?
The dropped of point is at Wenceslas Square, Vytopna Restaurace. A cool place that delivers food and drinks through a miniature train system. Pretty awesome if I say so myself.
Riksha Sighteering Tours - http://www.riksha.cz/en/sightseeing-tours
This is the inside scoop on how the VR Overnight Train or Santa Claus train looks like.
It'll give you an idea of whether seating and sleeping berth passengers can cross visit.
For the purpose of this research, I booked a mix of sleeping berths and seatings. There were 6 of us, 3 sleeping berths and 3 second class seats.
In the end, my sister and I shared a bed while roomies for life shared a bed in the other room. The upper beds in both rooms were occupied by a single gorgeous person (A and J).
Helsinki - Rovaniemi - Helsinki
Helsinki Central Station
Helsinki to Rovaniemi
Leaves at 18:49 - Arrives at 07:13
(Basic Ticket) Upper deck - Second class seats - EU 80 pp
(Basic Ticket) Second class sleeping berths - EU 136 pp
Rovaniemi to Helsinki
Leaves at 18:03 - Arrives at 06:24
(Saver Ticket) Upper deck - Second class seats - EU 35 pp
(Saver Ticket) First class sleeping berths - EU 140 pp
*Saver tickets get snatch-up quickly so you really must book and pay immediately.
Company provider: VR
Booking: slots get book quickly depending on the season. You can book 3 months in advance, which losers like me do. I was on the dot 3 months ahead. I scurried to book our rooms and seats the week our dates opened. Even with that, we missed the "Saver Tickets" to Rovaniemi and almost missed it coming back to Helsinki.
VR Train link here: https://bit.ly/2pBPBht
If you ever do a combo like us, try your best to book cars that are closest to each other. Save that energy and time for meals and chit chats
Gets filled very quickly. Something we realised on our way to Roveniemi. We had to console ourselves with the bar stools and the fact that we are really ready to crash on the bed. Exhausted is an understatement.
Coming back to Rovaniemi, we were smarter. We hang out in the restaurant car first as soon as we got on board.
Even if you book a single passenger for the sleeping berth, the room will be set up for two. *wink wink
From experience in both of our trips, yes, you can. The restaurant car is at the end of the train. Go figure, everyone must have access to it.
First Class Sleeping Berths (Upper Deck)
- ensuite bathroom
- bath towel is provided
Second Class Sleeping Berths (Lower Deck)
- shower room and water closets are shared and are located at both ends of the car
- hand towel is provided
Bigger spaced rooms
These are available on the lower deck, at the end of the car in front of WC. Suitable for passengers with pets, wheelchair or anyone who prefers bigger space for a small additional fee.
Can only be accessed by the shower room key. It only has shower gels so bring in your bath essentials.
As I wrote it on 28 June 2014
Our home away from home is called Prague Old Town Apartment. It was very charming, had tons of character and definitely offered lots of comfort.
That was not the first impression though. Honestly, we were tired, hungry and apparently dehydrated. Few sips of water from Dubai (never again) led to small mishaps creating a snowball of confusion.
We were dropped off at a cobbled street which is typical of Europe. One thing we were glad was we didn't have wheeled suitcases to haul around with us. Still does not discount the fact that at that point, we were very disoriented. The maps just didn't make sense to me or Joseph. We got lost at the start and walked and walked in streets we are not familiar of.
The check-in process was meant to be smooth. Most guest found the place easy. Our host, Teresa and her family were ideal, we were the problem. She even sent her brother to find us but even when the poor man asked us if we were the guests from Saudi, it didn't click in our heads? Thick, eh? After 20 minutes of us walking and him driving about looking for the loopy family, we finally realised that he was looking for us!
We got to the building before the host's brother and I was a little disappointed when we finally found the house’s street. A little embarrassed is the best description because I couldn't stop talking about how charming the apartment was to my husband and then there we were in a street that's not so impressive.
It was hidden. There were graffitis on walls, the main door of the building looked outdated. And there's no one to receive us... because he was driving around looking for us! In all seriousness though, we didn't fully appreciate how lucky we were to have it for a few days! We also didn't know that most of Europe is like that, progressive and expressive.
Those writings on walls are not considered eyesores the way it is in other countries. Back home, if we see those, we smell danger. For us, it is automatically considered as works of gangs. In Europe, it's different. Theirs evolved from years of oppression, to freedom, to art form. It has become part of a place's character, something we now understand, having traveled a bit of this world.
As I wrote it on 28 June 2014
This was the very first travel we had as a family, just exploring. No relatives to visit, not our hometown, just traveled purely because we want to see the world.
This trip was a milestone for us, like for real, the very first time I was bitten by a travel bug. I have not been cured since and it has infected the rest of my family, much to my delight.
Alex was only 12, Jason was 8 and we did not have JD yet. :)
This was when The Walkaroos was born. Our very first Walkaroos shot was taken from our AirBnB home in Old Town Prague.
We flew via KLM and so the journey was pretty long with a pit stop in Amsterdam but it was all worth it. We enjoyed the adventure and we look forward to a quickie tour of Amsterdam on our way back.
We used to flip through the pages of glossy magazines or colourful webpages, drool and gawk at gorgeous places we only dreamed of seeing. We used to daydream over the idea of food we might never get to taste. Wondered how each destination feels.