Monday, August 2, 2010

Prague, part II

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

There were two last days of Prague time, so a little shopping was done. I avoided the garnet and craft shops in the touristy areas and stuck instead to sweet, quiet, untraveled shops on the same block as the hotel. Much nicer, less expensive, and humane and I bought myself a little garnet trinket.


Bakeshop Praha was right near the hotel, and I kinda wish I had made more use of it. The espresso I had there was the best I had in Prague and everything in the shop looked delicious. I guess since it was so close to the hotel and the breakfast in the hotel was so amazing, I just took the place for granted. Next time I'm in Prague, though....

Look what I found in Prague! Well, not found, as much as planned to meet. My Oberlin buddies, her parents (not pictured) and their daughter were a welcome part of my Prague escapades. Prague seemed kinda storybookish to me--I wonder how it looked to a four-year old.

We had lunch at Pizza Nuova which conveniently had vegetarian options for Obies and the only play area I saw in Prague for the four-year old. Strange and novel to eat delicious margarita pizza and arugula salad in Prague (what, no goose? no bread dumplings?)

After lunch, we walked into the Wenceslaus Square area. It was more important to modern post-Communist history, but WAY more commercial and charmless than other neighborhoods. Oh well--I'm just glad I didn't stay in this area which seemed overrun with youngish, rowdier tourists. Please take this moment to observe the Sephora and H&M right under this stereo-typically Praha building.

<span class=

But I did make it to the end of the square and met Good King Wenceslaus, or Vaclavske or whatever he's called. I suppose this is the place where the River is Vtlava, whoops Vltava, or the Moldau. I have no idea how these words are supposed to mean the same thing.

<span class=

Speaking of the Moldau...I did get to hear it (sort of) in Smetana Hall. Is that like eating locally? Smetana Hall is in the Municipal Building, which is designed/decorated/whatever entirely by Alfonse Mucha, the Czech art nouveau guy. The hall was beautiful. The actual sound was beautiful. The performance? Ok. arranged for a small force and performed by a pick-up group. But it was Smetana (and Dvorak) sounding more authentic than their Mozart and Vivaldi in Prague, for goodness' sake!

<span class=

<span class=

Thursday, July 29, 2010
The morning of my last Prague day began with, FINALLY, a boat ride. I had wanted to do this on the Elbe in Dresden but it never worked out, but the Elbe becomes the Vltava, so it all worked out! Floating on the river was a nice way to see a little bit more of Prague and from a different angle.

<span class=

And I think I'd live here:

<span class=>

I did appreciate these little boat treats!
<span class=<span class=
But more Prague treats were in store for me and the pre-school set was promised tram rides, so we said our goodbyes and I headed to the Cubist museum.

Hmmm. Czech Cubists? Kinda like the famous Cubists, but not.

Except in the area of architecture, sculpture, and furniture. That was kind of fun.

<span class=<span class=
<span class=

Located in the museum building was my favorite cafe of my trip. The Grand Cafe Orient maintained the Cubist vibe and was peaceful, delicious, and elegant but not stuffy. Don't I look like I could have happily spent many happy hours here?

<span class=

Later that afternoon I stumbled into a folk festival which included a Folk Festival with Finnish choir singing YMCA (neither folk, nor Finnish--I can't explain it) . Better than that were these truck treats!
And finally, Prague began with duck and ended with duck-this time at the "Red Wheel."

And the next morning it was time to leave Prague and all this behind. And that's beyond what I can write in a blog.

Maximilian View At <span class=

Friday, July 30, 2010

Prague Impressions

This pretty much sums up Prague: Every single time I ventured back to the hotel, I thought I was taking the 'same' route, but every time it was different. OR if I thought I was taking a different way, I ended up in the same place. Being pretty happy.

More often than not, I'd end up at the Kafka statue instead of the hotel--you gotta worry when Kafka is the one pointing you home....
The route was sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, but it always interesting and surprising. The there'd be a serendipitous turn, and there the hotel would be. No matter where you're going, you can check the map and think you know where you're going, but it doesn't really matter--you might get to where you're going, but it won't be direct, but it will be interesting and beautiful. And when you're home, this is the view night and day.
Ah, Prague. I saw lots and did lots and hope to sometime soon try to do it justice.

Prague deets, part I.

I am indeed back in Brooklyn now, but still a little emotionally in Prague and Germany. I wanted to get everything about the Prague trip down, so if you're bothering to read/look at this, know that these last few blog posts are mostly for my benefit.

Sunday, 25.July.2010

Arrived after a 5-hour ride on the "Johannes Brahms" EC train from Berlin to check in at Maximilian Hotel. I'm going on record that this lovely, newish hotel was just close enough to everything to be convenient but was perfectly far enough from the tourist masses
That night, there was a walk in the Staro Mesto Square and a duck dinner at the Staro Mesto Square Restaurant.

Monday, 26.July.2010

Jewish Museum--consisting of five synagogues and the cemetery. With the exception of one, these synagogues are no longer functioning as worship sites. Instead, they house information, artifacts, names, and wonder at the centuries and populations that once were a vital part of Prague.
A look at some of the Cubist and Art Nouveau buildings in the same neighborhood.
Lunch at Kolkovna. Then a stroll on the Charles Bridge....

and through Mala Strana...where I found my "house."

Cafe Savoy for dinner.

A night walk across the bridge to the south of the Charles Bridge into the Nove Mesto.

Tuesday, 27.July.2010

Tuesday: A luxe taxi ride to the Prague Castle. And a visit to the amazing St. Vitus and a museum of 17-19th c. Czech art.

A walk back down the hill with a stop for lunch at the Piano Terra at Villa Richter.

Ending at two museums: 1) The Kafka Museum, which is probably the weirdest museum EVER. But an interesting place even if you're not a Kafka aficionado. No internal pictures as it was all, um, dark and black and full of German text inside. In the meantime, enjoy the peeing statues?

The surprise hit of the trip? The Kampa Museum, full of 20th c. and contemporary MittelEuropean art on a beautiful site on the river.
This cafe/restaurant right off the museum on the water would be reason enough to go back to Prague.
The day ended with a beer pub dinner of 'soused cheese,' pork fest, and too much beer at U Medvidku. Sorry--no pics of the beer or pork--I'd had to much beer.

And there are two more days to go....