Today we got our first real taste for the city of Prague. And what a grand city it is!! The architecture is amazing and will warrant its own blog post later in the week!
We started with a brief wander through the local streets and following the sounds of music, we arrived at the castle quarter. Our plan is to visit this area on Monday and seeing the crowds of tour groups, we hastily retreated.
After stopping for a check on the car, we ambled roughly parallel to the river and crossed at the Manesuv Most, passed the Rudolfinium (concert hall) and entered Old Town.
We visited Old Town Square, with it’s many great sights, the Church of St Nicholas, Jan Hus Memorial, National Gallery, Tyn Church, Old Town Hall and the Astronomical Clock. There were crowds of people and many interesting street performers.
By this time, it was time for lunch. We left the tourist filled streets and after walking only a short way, we found a delightful restaurant, Chilli Lilli. We are unsure of what the genre of the restaurant really was, but it was delightful. We all had delicious tea and soup (B&H – goulash in a bread bowl, L – mushroom potato in a bread bowl, D – borscht). Deb also ordered a small salad with a cheese plate. We were not expecting it would be literally a plate made of cheese (fried Parmesan). Wow, so good.
Fully fortified, we carried on to New Town and Wenceslas Square. Lots of action there – food & beer stalls and people enjoying the day. As we walked down the square, we imagined the day in November 1989 when 300,000 people filled the square, jingled their key chains in solidarity and chanted at the Communist government, “It’s time to go now!” This Velvet Revolution led to a free Czechoslovakia.
As we walked the streets of New Town, we passed the New Town Hall, Charles Square (a lovely park) and a memorial outside the National Memorial to the Heroes of the Heydrich Terror (note the bullet holes in the wall).
We continued on past the Dancing House. This modern building is said to be reminiscent of ‘Fred and Ginger’ dancing.
Our way home took us past the Lennon Wall. Although this wall reminded us of much of Berlin’s graffiti, it has a great back story. During the communist time, John Lennon’s ideas gave many of the Czech people hope and a vision of freedom and peace. Upon Lennon’s death in 1989, this wall was spontaneously covered in memorial graffiti. Nightly, the police would paint over it only to find it reappear day after day. Finally, it was left and freedom fighters gathered here until freedom came in 1989.
Now it was time for a glass of wine and a load of laundry. We weren’t entirely sure how to use the washing machine in the apartment – it seemed to go through a lot of cycles over an extended period of time, but the clothes did come out clean. 🙂
When we were leaving the apartment in the morning, the fellow from the pub across the lane said he would make an ‘appointment’ for us at 7 pm. So we crossed over about that time and he waved us right over to a large table with a reserved sign. The restaurant has the curious name of The Meeting Place of all the heads of the Baracnici because twice a year the heads of these societies from villages and towns across Bohemia have assembled here for centuries. We don’t know what this means – something between Freemasons, Lions, and Roundtable and social movement clubs, perhaps. Nevertheless, the beer hit the table immediately and the food was great. Deb had carp, Larry – pork medallions with whiskey sauce, Harvey – slow roasted beef ribs & potato pancakes and Bev – braised beef in creamy vegetable sauce with dumplings. It was all amazing!
After our dinner, we sauntered down to Starbucks for a finishing touch. It was a great day!