Prague, Czech Republic
We expected to get a great night’s sleep. Surprise! From the window of our hotel room, we could see a dance club that was so full of young people that they spilled out onto the sidewalk. As for the music, Techno Dance music, “loud” does not sufficiently describe it. This continued until about two AM. At breakfast, we learned that several of our travel companions had the same experience as we had, while others never heard anything.
Today we were going up to the Castle Quarter, one of the city’s most crowded sights. We walked to a tram stop, took the tram, and then transferred to a second tram. We wanted to see St. Vitus Cathedral. This structure, which was begun in 1344, and after wars, plagues, and reforms, was completed in 1929. I’m sure you have heard the Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas.” King Wencelas and Saint Vitus are one and the same. When we arrived, our local guide met us with disappointing news. The cathedral was closed to the public, and would remain closed for more than three hours. Our local guide told us as much as she could. We did see the Old Church, the Old Royal Palace, and the Changing of the Guard.
The third floor window of the old town hall is famous in Czech history. In 1618, Catholics were thrown out of this window by Protestants, and they survived the 70 foot fall. Some said they survived because they had been rescued by angels, while others said they survived because they landed on a dung heap. The word defenestration came from this event.
We were given time to explore on our own. We wandered through the buildings on the Golden Lane, which received its name from the goldsmiths who lived there long ago. Across the street, we spied a little cafe. We discovered that some of our tour companions were enjoying snacks. We had just enough time to get a drink, and we each ordered a hot chocolate. They were among the best hot chocolates that we had ever tasted, rich, think, and with a no artificial ingredients. We didn’t leave a single drop!
Many of our travel mates remained until the cathedral opened, but we opted to go back to Mincovna Restaurant for lunch. We sat outside and shared an asparagus appetizer and a strudel, talking in all the sights of the square as we ate.
We ducked in for a nap and when we awoke, we were hungry for a main course. I asked the desk clerk where he eats, and he directed us to a nearby restaurant filled with locals. I ordered a potato pancake sandwich, two potato pancakes with a filling of spinach. I would love to make this for myself at home. I’m not sure what Nick ate, but he had black forest cake for dessert.
Most of our travel companions had made arrangements to attend a concert or the theater that evening. As for us, we went to the mall. On every trip, we forget to pack something. This time it was an adapter to enable us to charge our devices. We walked through neighborhoods in which the locals lived, ate, and went about their daily business, until eventually we found the mall. Then we had to find the area in the mall in which the adapters were kept. This took much longer than you might expect, but we did find it, and we made our purchase. We went back for another nap.
It was late when we awoke, but the restaurant across the street from our hotel in which we ate breakfast, Va Bene, was still open. We wanted to eat local food, but the aroma from the kitchen of Va Bene was calling to us. I ordered risotto with mushrooms. I seldom order risotto because I prefer the way I make it, but it was absolutely perfect. For dessert we shared vanilla ice cream topped with fresh raspberries. What could be better!