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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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And I think I'd live here:

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I did appreciate these little boat treats!
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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.

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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?

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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.

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