Sunday, September 10, 2017

Central Europe: Day 9 (Prague)

A somewhat rainy day in Prague today - good thing we brought umbrellas!

Our hotel was located in the trendy Malá Strana area, so after another big continental breakfast, we toured some of the wonderful gardens and sculptures in the area. First was the John Lennon peace wall, full of colorful graffiti. Close by, we strolled through the cute Kampa gardens, which apparently are a lot busier in nicer weather. Our friends' dog enjoyed the walk, though.

From there, we walked over to a courtyard with the Proudy sculpture, an animatronic sculpture that shows two men peeing in a fountain shaped like the Czech Republic. Our husbands posed admirably. 

It is always fun to walk through the streets of an area, and I loved the walking tours in my Lonely Planet Prague book. We walked through the Wenceslas gardens and then climbed the castle hill yet again for beers and a light lunch at the Strahov Monastery. The views were obviously spectacular, and the beers and soup weren't bad, either!

We climbed down the hill and promptly got a ticket for walking on the wrong side of the street in a street car tunnel. Whoops. At that point, we needed to sooth our nerves with a trdelník, one of those rolled Czech pastry thingies. It was OK. I enjoyed our next stop more: beers at, Baráčnická rychta.

Cheers to drinking something besides Pilsner Urquell!

Next, we went back across the river to visit the Jewish "Museum," which isn't really a museum but is instead a ticket to visit a bunch of synagogues and the amazing Jewish Cemetery. It's kind of an overwhelming experience to walk around the cemetery - it's packed to the gills with grave stones.

The history of Judaism in Prague was really fascinating to learn about. Dave and I had listened to the book The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which has a lot to do with the Golem of Prague.

We visited the Spanish Synagogue as part of our tour, which was the most ornate and beautiful synagogue I have ever seen.

We had a lackluster snack of cakes at Grand Cafe Orient, a "cubist" cafe in the downtown area. I could have skipped that particular tourist trap, one of the only misses from my book. We also stopped by the recommended jeweler Granát Turnov, although it was a little out of my price range. The garnets in Prague were truly stunning.

We stopped for beers at the wonderful Prague Beer Museum, which was one of my favorite beer experiences on the whole trip. They had thirty taps, all of which were Czech beer of various sizes of production.

We tried ten to fifteen beers and definitely leveled up our Czech beer badges on Untappd. Mostly they were lagers and pilsners, but there were a few sours and weird things in there. Europeans are slowly trying the weird experimental beers going on in the United States.

Our last dinner with our friends was Vysoký dům '99, dubbed in English the "Old Bohemian Cafe." It was an adorable place where we ate many meats, goulash, dumplings, potato pancakes, and specialty Czech cheese. We stayed past closing and had shots with the staff. 

So, it wasn't quite off the beaten path, but it was at least less touristy than the previous day, and we got to try a lot of beer. Prost!

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