Perfect Prague Part 2
Every capital in Central Europe has a castle and Prague is no exception. The first version of the castle was built at the end of the 800's by the first Bohemian kings. The current outlook it received under the rule of the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa who constructed it with a lot of passion but did not spend much time there. Apparently she didn't like Prague or the Czech people. Something me and my namesake disagree on :D
Going through the two first castle yards you come to the most impressive part of the castle: the Cathedral of Saint Vitus. It's like a "small" Notre Dame towering above all the castle walls around it. The cathedral took altogether 600 years to build. Something that is different in this cathedral is the fact that the stained glass windows are billboards as much as they are depicting religious events; the entities that donated money for the cathedral's construction wanted their names displayed, of course. So, for example Banka Slavia and the first Czech insurance company are now displayed among the holy pictures in the windows.
|St. Vitus Cathedral|
The Royal Gardens behind the castle was recommended to us, but no matter how we tried to navigate the way around the cathedral towards the gardens, we couldn't find them. Which is an accomplishment, since the gardens spread around along the river for kilometres.
For people who are interested in architecture Prague is a dream destination. They have mixed Baroque, Gothic and modern architecture quite well in the city. The most out-of-place building was probably the Dancing House next to Jiraskuv bridge. But for me it didn't look too bad there, not the way some modern buildings look next to beautiful old stone buildings in, for example, London. But I can imagine that before and during its construction it must have raised a lot of objections.
|The Dancing House|
Prague is a popular tourist destination especially for Spanish, American and British people. Particularly for British men who go there for cheap beer and whores. For Finns a similar equivalent would be Tallinn. Thankfully the tourists concentrate around the Old Town Square and the Charles Bridge so everywhere else you can wander around quite in peace. Especially in the tourist areas Czechs knew English quite well and overall they speak English more than Slovaks. But the older generation doesn't. At all.
We had been discussing that when in Prague, we would like to go to see an Opera or something similar. Unfortunately there were not so many good Operas going that weekend, but there is classical music everywhere. We bumped into a concert being held in a church right in front of the Charles Bridge and thought it could be a good idea. So, on Saturday evening we dressed up properly in high heels and all and turned up to the church completely overdressed at exactly 6pm. The concert took one hour and it was brilliant. It was one of the most beautiful churches I've ever been to and checking it out while Ave Maria and Vivaldi's Four Seasons were playing in the background was quite awesome. After the concert we felt, like my friend put it, relaxed just like after taking a bubble bath. If you ever get a chance like that anywhere, take it!
My friend had been on candy strike for months before this trip so she was expecting especially chocolate cakes from this trip. And oh boy did she get it!
I think cafés and restaurants make a city. Without them people would just spend their time at home after work. Important conversations, deals and individual strategies for saving the world happen in cafés and restaurants. They are the meeting places for all kinds of people and the perfect places for people-watching, aka familiarizing oneself with the people sharing the city with them. A big reason for why I like Prague so much is the amount and variety of cafés and restaurants. All worth visiting, I'm sure!
Travel guides and my friends here in Slovakia told me that we have to go to Café Louvre. How perfect, it was right next to our hotel. There my friend finally fulfilled her dream of the chocolate cake. It was a huge piece of proper, full chocolate. I must confess I didn't think she'd be able to handle it on her own but she did! If in Prague, go to Café Louvre, it's the perfect lunch café and absolutelu beautiful with a long history.
Sunday was our last night in Prague so we wanted to eat something a bit more special that evening. My friend was looking for steak places in Tripadvisor but came across this place, Renomme, instead. It was very well reviewed and when I saw the word "duck" on the menu I was sold.
Renomme is a lovely little restaurant right by the river right opposite the little bridge that takes you to the small island of Slovanský, so very easy to find. We went through the whole three-course-meal. I started with smoked duck's breast and cold potato salad. This was definitely the best duck I have ever had. The little pieces of sea salt made the dish complete perfection. My friend had goats cheese salad with beetroot and that also was very good, they really know how to use flavours in Renomme.
|Apologies for nonexistent photo quality|
For main course we both had grilled flank steak. I asked for medium+ and my friend for medium. When you get the steak so that you can compare with someone and see that it has been cooked perfectly, count yourself lucky. It's so rare to get well cooked steak anywhere. The portion was very good but could have been more flavoursome... maybe just a sprinkle of salt. For dessert we had crème brulèe and that was simply so good that there was no time for pictures or talking or anything but concentrating on the issue in hand. It was amaaaazing! Oh, if my mum ever goes to Prague she has to go to Renomme if just for the crème brulèe!
Prague treated us very well even though we had the traditional Midsummer weather (translation = shit weather). I seriously think that at some point of my life I will live there. It seems to be a tradition for Nordic people to move from Bratislava to Prague, and why not!
I still have one post coming up regarding our Prague weekend, it's about our trip to the Petrin hill and the royal gardens, but now I need to get back to packing again!