Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Preparing to Part from Prague

Our vacation time is fast drawing to a close, and let me tell you Bub we are going to need a rest from all this recreation. Yesterday was a day when we stood by and blogged and whatnot. Most attractions are closed on Monday and we finally got up the gumption to venture out in time for dinner.

How very fortunate for us that a Pizza restaurant called Ristorante Carllino is next door. Their menu is varied and interesting. I ordered Quattro Staggione Pizza, which was very good. I have found that the pizza here does not give me gut-bomb, which the pizza in North America invariably does. GMO Tomato Sauce? Maybe.

My darling Scooterchick ordered Curried Mushroom Tortellini. Now there's and interesting Indo-Italian dish, It came with a curry cream sauce and it was very tasty. Lots of sauce and plenty o' tortellini.

I still had room for a dessert. A popular dessert here is Palacinka, which is basically  a Crepe, this one served with a warm Berry Compote and Whipped Cream then dusted with powdered Sugar and drizzed with Chocolate. Altogether satisfying.

They use a wood fired clay oven for cooking. I'm not sure that it imparts that little special something, but the food is good and service friendly.

This is a picture of the interior. They also have a large deck streetside which would seat another 40 or so diners. Fortunately the smokers, of whom there are many, usually sit outside and dine al fresco.

Fast forward to this a.m. It is our last full day in Prague. We decided we would do something in the nature of unscheduled exploring, so we set out from our hotel with no destination other than coffee somewhere. Here is Patsy at breakfast, gearing up for some street hiking.

This is typical off the breakfasts we have in our hotel. Today's includes eggs, with diced beets, cheese and sausage. I also had a bowl of granola with yogurt.

As we walked up the block we came upon this tunnel. We had no idea where it went. Let's find out shall we?

It turned out to be rather more of an ambitious undertaking than we thought as it was uphill at a continuous grade, and of indeterminate length. With a few rest stops we chuffed on with an "I think I can, I think I can" attitude.

Finally we did see the light at the end off the tunnel and came out in a commercial area called Zizkov. Research shows the tunnel to be only 300m. long but it felt like a lot longer.

This put us at a higher elevation and in the area where the TV tower used to broadcast Soviet propaganda  nonstopto the Prazan (as Praguers are known.)

It's just one of those things, like residents of Rio de Janiero are called Cariocas for some reason.

After a long absence from this esteemed organ of truth and whimsy, we finally see a scooter. This one is a Vespa, of which there are many more in Europe than you might think. There are though fewer scooters in Prague than in Budapest, and far fewer than Vienna.  

We noticed a little square, with a statue and decided to take a closer look. What kind of weird Steampunk Horse is this, and why is the disembodied bust of the rider separated from his mount by a pillar of granite. It was truly just plain freaky.

We bought some transit tickets, and hopped on a bus bound for Florenc Station. Upon arrival at Florenc, we saw a large sandstone building. This was the City Gallery of Prague. There is a bas-relief on the exterior of heroic Prazan Czechs.

Across the street was a dioramic, or dynamic sculpture of workers engaged in heroic construction. They are working to rivet iron together. You can almost see the bulging muscles and smell the sweat.

This is a look back toward the Gallery. Pity we didn't know what it was, we could have visited, but the caffeine monkey was jibbering in our ear.

We jumped on a tram and got off at Namesti Republicky (Republic Square). Thw building pictured opposite is the Opera Hall. There are Operatic performances here every night, mostly sold out. Being deathly allergic (just kidding) to opera, we decided to give it a pass.

We found our coffee stop on Namesti Republicky. This was the King's Court Hotel and Restaurant. Being almost smack dab in the middle off the tourist area, we expected it to be a little pricy, and were prepared for the tab but wholly unprepared for what that bill reflected.

We both ordered an Americano, which is nothing more than a shot of Espresso and Hot Water. It is similar to coffee, but to those of us used to a French Press, it is second best. This coffee was acceptable though, especially compared to the machine generated sludge that we can get at breakfast.

My darling ordered a Lemon Cheescake. This delightful dessert was topped with a Two-Tone Meringue Cookie. The Lemon was delightfully acerbic, but not overpowering. It was almost but not quite light enough to float off the plate. There were some artistically place dots of Chocolate and a dusting of  Lemon Powder to finish. Can you say "hoooooooold on thar"?

I know you can, But wait, there's more.....

I ordered the Chocolate cake. It was a slice of  what we know as a Belgian Brownie. Atop this delightful base were 5 distinctively different and stupidly delicious pastilles of flavor. From right to left they were Lemon Mousse, airy and sweet-sour. The next was Creme of Coconut, with a light dusting of shredded and sweetened Coconut on top. The third delight in the rundown was Pistachio Cream, nutty and sweet with Crushed Pistachio topping, next was a Chocolate Mousse delicacy topped with a paste of Espresso Grind Coffee, with  a delightfully Dark Chocolate Ganache, shaped like a coffee bean. How clever tought I. The last was a Walnut Cream flavor. topped with crushed Walnut. Call me walnutty, I loved it. Served with a delightful Lemon Ice on a bed of toffee crumbs, garnished with dots of chocolate, a sprig of Fresh Mint and a dusting on the side of Lime Zest.

The Americano was hot and good. I love the way cream makes clouds when you pour it into black coffee in a glass mug. I am as I always say, easily amused and easily confused. This picture is an excellent case in point regarding amusement.

This is a picture of the King's Court Outdoor Cafe. It was a delightful break from our exploring.

Kitty Corner across the square was an indoor shopping mall. It was arranged to give shoppers maximum exposure to merchandise such as Guess, Nike and the like in the minimum amount of space. Here is a view the fifth of six floors, looking down towards the lowest level.

This is a restaurant called Yellow Taxi Pizza. If they only knew the almost universal loathing for Yellow Cabs, they might have come up with another name, but they must have sought an easily recognizable and urban chic name.....FAIL.

Immediately next door is one of the four train stations in Prague. There are two stations serving international destinations and two serving regional trains. This is Masarykovo Nadrazi.

This is one of the buildings built in Fin de Siecle style, although it was probably built after the Second World War (the big one).

This is the Yacht Club on the Vltava River. It is small by comparison to what wee see on the West Coast where marine recreation is strong.

This is a bridge which I found to be most legit.....just kidding. Most means bridge and this one is the Legii Most. Seems most legit to me!

To finish this epic journey and epic day, there are these two epic gents over the doorway of a building. It looks like one is saying to the other, "What are you up to today, to which the other replies, oh you know just holding up my end!!"

We returned to our hotel and started working on our final blog posts from the Czech Republic. What a whirlwind tour this has been, and I am gratified that you have chosen to come along. By the time the blog was almost finished the moon was rising and we were considering some dinner.

We walked around the corner to an Asian restaurant. You usually can't go wrong with Asian food, and the menu looked good.

We had some Chinese style food, but you must keep in mind we regularly eat Chinese food in Vancouver so we are really spoiled with the absolute freshest, quickest and best Oriental food anywhere.

This food was okay, and very reasonably priced, but unusual. After dinner we left the restaurant and caught a pic of the flowers still blooming.

As we walked back around the corner I snapped a picture of the Prague Public Transit map. It shows the areas we have been roaming around for the last week or so. We were reasonably happy with our choice of hotel. It's small but clean and reasonably priced and includes breakfast. This is the same breakfast we will be chowing down on in the morning before heading to the airport.

And here we are back at the hotel. We have our suitcases ready to go, so it will be a quick sleep, a full breaky, a hot shower and a check out.

-30- as the old newshounds used to say. Have a great night. Tomorrow we will be back in Lawton, God willing and the crick don't rise.

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