Monday, April 04, 2022

Every Tour in Prague in One Day

We had a beautiful view of Old Prague in the morning light from the hotel window. I usually hate waking up earlier than noon on a non work day, but thanks to the magic of jet lag I was happy to do so today.

Today started off very touristy, and we "czeched" out Prague Castle. Getting here required a large stair climbing investment so I was thinking this better be worth it. I probably said "Czech it out" 40 times today. I haven't had this much fun since "Jamaican me crazy" and "UnBelizeable".

Prague Castle was built in the 9th century and is now the official office of the President of the Czech Republic. Previously the castle has served as a seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslovakia.

Unfortunately for my poor feet after the long walk here from the hotel, Prague Castle holds the Guinness Book of Records title for "largest ancient castle".

With such a record-holdingly large castle there was plenty of room for St. Vitus Cathedral.

King Ferdinand V of Bohemia held his coronation here in 1836.

Important dead people were present.

Traveling is requires a lot time and expense but when I see the smile on Lydia's face it makes the whole thing worth it. I'm not sure what she's crabbing about in this picture but around this time she was complaining about her contacts being blurry to the point that I had her pop it out to take a look at it. The thing had like makeup on it or something serious. I scrubbed it with my own spit and then popped it back into her eye like some kind of disgusting yet heroic optometrist. The tomb thing behind us is that of St. John of Nepomuk.

We found some more fun Easter market stalls behind the church and got involved.

I liked how the food was in these gigantic wok type things. 

I went with some spicy potato dumplings and cabbage.

Basilica of St. George

"The Basilica of St. George was founded by Prince Vratislav I at the beginning of the 10th century. It became a burial ground of the princes of the house of Premysild. In 973 a convent was founded in the framework of the church. It was the first convent of Benedictine nuns in Bohemia and its first abbess became the sister of the Prince Boleslav II: Mlada. The nunnery was the important institution of the mediaeval Czech state. The titul the princess-abbess was connected with the privilege to crown the Czech queen.

Chapel of St. John of Nepomuk

The vault is covered by a fresco with the theme of the Glorification of St. John of Nepomuk. The saint is surrounded by a group of holy patrons of the Czech kingdom, among whom is depicted St. Ludmila in the dress of a princess, with a characteristic attribute in her hand.

Golden Lane was a little street lined with cute little houses. Franz Kafka, maybe the only Czech person I'm aware of, lived here.

There was a lot of gingerbread for sale which I support.

Having sated our appetite for tombs, we continued to the castle portion of the tour.

I'm still hazy on the details but there was some sort of dispute between the Protestants who lived in the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Catholic Holy Roman Emperors who ruled them. One such little tiff ended with some Catholics being thrown out the damn Prague Castle window. This started the Thirty Years' War, "one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in European history, lasting from 1618 to 1648." Amusingly this was known as the Third Defenestration of Prague, meaning if you were going to have an unpleasant meeting in this joint you'd be wise to do so on the first floor.

Prague has a famous Lennon Wall with lots of hippy messages on it. I guess there were a lot of these all over the world after his murder.

There were a lot of anti-war in Ukraine messages on the wall currently.

We hadn't done nearly enough walking today yet so we did a food tour with guide Marketa. This one was super fun because we visited a couple of previously communist establishments that used to suck but now have been elevated to delicious capitalist eateries.

Lokal definitely felt like it used to be communist. It was sort of like eating in a subway tunnel.

Beer is so popular in Czechia that even if you don't like beer you still order a beer but just ask for it all to be creamy creamy foam. I asked for my customary fully liquid beer.

Marinated Hermelin cheese with pearl onions and peppers

We hit another glammed up soviet spot called Kantyna.

This restaurant also had a butcher counter.

Luckily the tour was nice enough to email us a list of the 100 things we tasted on this tour. Here it was "2019 Blaufrankisch red wine by Syfany family winery, braised and grilled pork shoulder, Prestice pork schnitzel, Bramborak: potato pancake with marjoram, steak tartare and pickled vegetables".

I think my work here is done.

The order number things they set on your table were giant cow bones.

It's fun when tours take you on public transportation.

Next was Kro Bistro and Bar.

Johannes Cyder Extra Brut cider had me feeling very saintly indeed.

Things were really getting out of hand now: grilled shredded chicken with chicken demi, grilled carrots with fermented cheese, pistachios and carrot plus sea buckthorn puree, jerk glaze chicken, slow-cooked beef shank with house-made bbq sauce, fermented potato pancakes, butter chicken sauce with pickled lemons, kimchi and grilled seasonal veggies

In Czech Republic on Easter Monday, men go door to door singing fertility songs, and hitting women on the butt with a whip made of willow branches. The grateful women then give the men eggs and candy. Religion isn't really that bad at all if you do it correctly. Praise be!

Our culinary rampage finally came to an end at Eska.

"We finished with burnt potatoes in ash with potato and cream espuma paired with gin and tonic made from artisan Little Urban Distillery gin by Mr Urban and house-made tonic water and selection of updated and elevated traditional desserts with Vetrnik: choux pastry with sourdough caramel and vanilla buttercream and Spicka: delicate chocolate cream/mousse cake with vanilla and rum."

Our guide proudly displayed that the Czechs had shamelessly ripped of Bazooka Joe and I for one will not stand for it.

After the long walk of the tour and hours of gorging on fine Czech foods and booze Lydia and I were trying to decide what we should do next. It was cute because on the count of three we both said "go on a beery bar crawl that also includes a ton of food and walking" at the exact same time.

Our guide this time was a med student named Carolina. It seemed to be her medical opinion that we needed to drink all the beer in the world.

The Czechers say na zdravĂ­, or "to health", both before drinking and after sneezing.

The Czech levels of beer foam.

I wish I had an accurate count of my lifetime beer consumption because at this point I think we would all be very proud and impressed and not at all worried.

Yes please, I believe there is room for sausages next to the 12 meals I've had today thank you.

Back at the hotel I admired the genius of a heated towel rack in the bathroom where I probably stayed for about 2 hours before dying. You win this round, Prague.

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