Day 10: A Warm Prague Day

Amazingly up around 8:15, we once again ate breakfast downstairs at the café (this time our waitress was super nice and gave us a big coffee, an egg, juice, meats, etc.) before packing up and heading down to the train station around 9:40 to try to get the 10:35 EC train to Prague.  We had no troubles getting tickets for this train (costing 474 CZK total), and after determining which platform was the correct one, we boarded the train.

Our train arrived early into Prague, getting us there around 13:15, and we set off to find our hotel.  Jim wanted to walk, so we fought the madness that lines Wenceslas Square, got into Old Town, and arrived at our hotel around 20 minutes later.  The room, the Rio de Janero suite at the Hotel Residence Retezova, was awesome, spanning 2 floors complete with semi-private courtyard and fancy bathroom products.  AND it was all had for the low rate of €53/night, a very fine value, indeed.

Famous castle image of Prague

As it was a nice, sunny day outside, we wanted to take advantage of this good turn of weather and get our Prague on.  We wandered over to the river (a hop-skip from our hotel), saw the Prague Castle from afar, wandered into the Old Town Square, then followed the masses to the Charles Bridge and walked most of the way over it to the other side.  Jim was completely and utterly amazed by the crowds, it was just a swarming mass of humanity and a complete shitshow.

Wanting to get away from the fray a bit, I suggested we walk the riverfront down towards Frank Gehry’s “Fred and Ginger” house, so we took a stroll in that direction, passing the National Theater along the way.  After eyeballing the Gehry structure, we decided to pop into the Grand Café Slavia for a coffee, a place I had been 5 years earlier and a café that used to lure in Prague’s intelligencia (including Kafka, I do believe).  While we weren’t able to get my “usual” table, we were still able to score a table along the window with a nice view and we each ordered a Turkish coffee.  Needless to say, it’s my usual drink when at the Grand Café Slavia but I don’t think Jim would do it again.

A stroll down the riverfront

Now a curious mix of rested but jacked up on Turkish coffee, we decided to head back to the room to escape the crowds and relax before dinner.  We did as such, heading out a bit later to have dinner at a place called Kolkovna, which is a Pilsner Urquell owned restaurant.  Despite the fact they were very crowded, Jim’s mastery of the Czech language got us a nice table near the front and we were immediately seated.  Well, Jim took some time to be seated, as there was an enormous man with the number 7 on the back of his t-shirt that was seated very close and we had to move our table so Jim could squeeze into his seat behind Number 7.  Dinner was delicious, Jim had a pork dish with sauerkraut and bread dumplings and I had a beef stew with potato pancakes and bread dumplings.  The stew tasted like pot roast in a wonderful sauce.  Number 7 mostly minded his Ps and Qs, save a few times he elbowed Jim in the back but we didn’t say anything lest we anger the giant.  Much to our delight, a short time later Number 7 was joined by a man about twice his size, whom we named Number 8.  Number 8 dwarfed every single person in the room (including Number 7), and could possibly be the largest human being on the planet.  We just stared at him in awe and admiration, aware of the fact he could quell a riot with one swipe of his massive hand.

We eventually paid the bill to a man that looked exactly like a man we used to work with named Joel Z, and left (but not before Jim patted Joel on the back as we left, once again thanking him for the fine table when we didn’t have a reservation.  I don’t think Joel Z was used to being touched and didn’t seem to be as enthused by our good table fortune as we were).  Once outside, we stopped to photograph the restaurant (as is de rigueur) and were a bit surprised when Number 8 came out to take a cell phone call.  We desperately wanted to photograph him as proof this land giant exists, but were fearful that Number 8 wouldn’t take too kindly to that and we certainly didn’t want to suffer the consequences of our actions.  After all, we didn’t know if Number 9 was around the corner.

As was usual, we were in the mood for an after dinner drink of Sambuca so we searched and searched out a place.  If you want a beer in Prague then the world is your oyster, but liqueurs were harder to come by, a fact that was underscored after having walked around Prague for over an hour.  We eventually wound up at a dive bar (that also turned out to be a Non-Stop casino) that may or may not be called Herna Bar (that could also be a Czech word for casino) and drank 2 Sambucas there before calling it a night.

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