Glorious Prague

Trip Start Nov 09, 2007
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Trip End Feb 03, 2008


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Saturday, January 5, 2008

We finally bit the bullet and decided to do a bit of sight seeing today.
First we headed up to the Powder Tower, an impressive gothic tower with a Baroque façade. Just the other side of this is the Municipal House, a far more recent building but also very interesting.
The marvellous thing about Prague, I am discovering, is that every time you turn a corner there is something new and amazing to see. Or something quirky. Prague was the capital of Bohemia and it has an incredible artsy feel to it. Artwork for sale is everywhere. Jewellery and crystal abounds, even the souvenir shops sell bright and interesting tidbits.
Just around the corner from our apartment are some great markets selling artworks, food treats, jewellery, wooden toys and interesting souvenirs. We had a great time picking our way through all of the stalls
We found a great Italian restaurant for lunch that served a variety of pastas that left us stuffed full and ready to face the cold again. Today was colder than yesterday - a top of minus 4. It was wonderful to see all of the tourists dressed up for the cold weather - long coats, scarves, fur (boo!), hats and gloves paraded before our eyes.
On to the Charles Bridge. Jean chided us for leaving it for more than a day to see this iconic structure. It certainly is spectacular and magnificent. We entered under a tower and walked past numerous statues that adorn the sides of the bridge. The bridge is lined on both sides with many artists as well as other craftsmen and women. Some of the work was beautiful and very unusual. There were literally thousands of people crossing with us. A chill wind swept across the bridge as we crossed, turning out blood to ice. It was about here that Jess realised she had left off one of her layers of clothing so she was even colder than normal. Not that she told anyone. Naughty girl.
We had to have a mercy stop at a café just the other side of the bridge. I think many other people had the same idea and we had foolishly broken one of the rules of smart dining - don't go near the monuments. We each had a drink and we bought a couple of nibbly wafer things and it was almost 800 crowns - about $50! Hot chocolate alone was more than $6. It was only average too.
Fortified by something warm in our bellies we headed back over the bridge in the fading light. We had a great time stopping in the shops along the way back to our apartment. We found a 'genuine Czech handicrafts' store where everything was very tempting if a little expensive. Jess got us to go into a crystal store. 'But I hate this stuff' I protested. 'Yes, but I have a theory' said Jess. 'If we go in at one end and out the other we can probably get closer to home and stay warm. If we play our cards right we can probably keep going in one end of a shop and out the other and not have to face the cold as much'. Told you she was missing that layer of clothes. That's what it will do to you!
 We went back home to warm up a bit and Jess said that she was too cold to go back out and didn't need dinner anyway. Georgie agreed with this sentiment so it was just Maggie, Cameron, Jean and I who headed out. Before we left I had googled the 'best goulash in Prague' and one of the recommended places was around the corner from our apartment. What a stroke of luck. I looked up the Google map and traced out a path and off we went.
Jean (who has been to Prague before) had told us about this great goulash place but she had been unable to find it again. I only hoped that the one I had found would measure up. We found a restaurant that had a similar name to the one I had googled. 'Do you think this is it?' I said to Cameron who had been looking over my shoulder as I googled. He checked the menu. 'I think so' he said. 'This is it' said Jean. 'Well I'm not sure' I replied. 'No, no' she insisted. 'This is the place I was telling you about'. Pleased to have located the famed eatery we hurried inside. Unfortunately the place was full. Rather than turn us away, the waiter offered us a place on the end of another groups table. We were a little bit reluctant but they didn't seem to mind so we sat down.
We ordered the 'Set menu 2' for 119 crown ($7.40) and we were treated to a three course meal of soup, goulash and dessert. It was rally tasty and by the end of it we were all stuffed. When the bill came I was for 710 crowns. We mused that it was about 60 crowns less than the hot chocolate at afternoon tea. Such is life.
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