The Navigation Department had been advised that the current decreased after the border. No such luck for Ruda, so she pushed on at a very slow rate until the first lock. From then on the now calmer waters of the Labe and Vltava were a welcome relief, and Ruda entered the outskirts of Prague a few days later. Ruda’s 9th capital city was a splendid sight with the castle on the hill, steam boats on the water and the arches of the Charles Bridge to be negotiated under the constant flash from cameras.
Ruda found an excellent berth at a friendly yacht club, which turned out to be extremely fortunate as large swathes of central Europe then flooded. Prague itself fared reasonably well as the city’s flood defences held tight but the same could not be said upstream or downstream of the city, or of large parts of Germany, Austria and Hungary. Although the entire boatyard was flooded to a depth of several metres, Ruda sat tight and weathered the ‘storm’. A section of canal gave way and several locks were damaged causing the navigation to be closed for the entire summer.
At the beginning of September the Vltava navigation officially reopened, but by then there was not enough water in the German Elbe to float Ruda so we had to stay put for a while longer! Eventually though October bought the first frosts and the prospect of the Vltava locks closing for a month of maintenance work so we decided that the moment had come to start up Ruda’s engines and begin the journey towards her winter berth in London.