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....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Out of Berlin, into a Dreamland...

After a day of looking at art like this:

And a final evening of this and this with JungMaestro and Chaco Sister I. (Potsdamer Platz and the Reichstag)...
I packed up my belongings while watching this scene from my hotel window, which was totally sound pro0f, thank goodness.

And rode a train past this and this:

And ended up in this:

With this as the view from my hotel room.


Friday, July 23, 2010


In the nearly four weeks I've been in Germany, I've eaten some unusual things, some heartily delicious things, some non-German food, and some potatoes. A lot of potatoes. I wanted to have a haute-Deutsch kinda meal, so I took my lonesome self out to dinner to Restaurant Maxwell in the Mitte neighborhood of Berlin. It really was in a 'neighborhood'--I walked past the place a few times as it is set back from the street some and surrounded by apartment buildings. I guess I've been accustomed to looking for lots and lots of sidewalk tables and umbrellas. This was not that sort of place.

It's set in an old brewery and the outside seating is in a courtyard of an apartment building. It was kind of fun to be eating and watching people coming home from work with their groceries and whatnot.

When the amuse guele came, I felt like I was at home--fancy restaurant home, but you know what I mean. A little sausage with red cabbage and horseradish foam--so German, yet not.
The prix fixe menu of the day (angebot) was posted.

A TRIO OF FOIE GRAS (yes, please)
One natural, one with walnuts, one with rosemary.
Accompanied by lemon olives (maybe), figs in balsamic vinegar, apple jelly, and a little brioche.
The weather was so hot that the foie gras was practically melting on the slate. Ich esse gern foie gras, and this was one of the best executions of this ever!

Filet mignon with chanterelles in a olive-marjoram sauce with spinach-feta strudel.

This was perfectly cooked. Look at that meat! Unfortunately, filet never tastes meaty enough for me, but it had a great texture and was a good vehicle for the sauce. If I were to do it over again, I would be like "you can give me hafl the meat and FOUR TIMES as many chanterelles (pfifferlinge). You've got to love anything called PFIFFERLINGE.

Pot cheese souffle with blueberries and vanilla ice cream and, uh, crunchy things.
(Sometimes things sound better in German.)

All in all, a most enjoyable experience. It's hard to do a two-hour meal all by yourself, but the waiter was sweet, the surrounding pleasant, the people-watching and eavesdropping in German, so not too annoying. At the end of the people this pair came and sat down adn everyone kind stared. The 60ish man was sort of Donald Trumpish with some bad longish/shortish hair all slicked back and the woman he was with had jet black-dyed long hair, wearing heels as high as her dress was short and low cut. And the shoes TIED ON. and she had all this bling. They were dripping money and attitude and ickiness and of course, just as I was staring my dessert they began to smoke Gauloises and Marlboros, blowing the nasty smell into my dessert aura.

I was looking at my pictures, and found this from my first weekend here when I was in Munich! My first real indulgence! As the Germans were celebrating an early World Cup win, I sat and watched and had this little beauty. It was almost as good as it looked. The rosewater litchi custard inside really made it!
From Cafe Maelu in Munich... PINK LADY: Raspberry Mousse with Rose-litchi center.