Part 1 is here if you need to catch up.
The breakfast at the small hotel on our first morning was…interesting…to say the least of it. The food was just fine and more than enough for us to start our day. The coffee was great, and that is the most important thing for us anyway. The young guy working the front desk was also very nice and spoke excellent English. The one other guest there was the interesting and unexpected part of our morning.
Does anyone really expect a large drunk Russian guy at breakfast? It was his 30th birthday, so we all humored him. There were only 4 of us in the room, including the guy working, so Andy and I shrugged and let him sit at our table and talk to us. He spoke hardly any English, and I speak exactly 4 words of Russian (Yes, No, Thanks, & Cheers). Somehow we muddled through a semi-conversation about our children while he ordered a bottle of wine and poured 3 glasses of the stuff. We toasted to his birthday and all 3 of us took swigs, and then coughed the hair onto our chests as we realized that the gentleman at the front desk had given us brandy instead of wine. (It was German Weinbrand, and it was STRONG!) I shuddered as a looked back at my mostly full wine glass and realized that I really should probably drink all of it to not be rude. The rest of this story is better told in person. Suffice it to say that we learned much more than we ever wanted to know about this guy in the span of the next ½ an hour as he kept randomly exclaiming “Happy birthday to you” and then pounding his upstretched chest with his hand and then offering us vodka and massages and other things. It was one of the most interesting breakfasts I’ve ever had.
By the time we stumbled over to the walking tour, it was full, which was honestly a blessing. We bought some coffee and wandered around the shopping districts while the breakfast brandy wore off. We watched the astronomical clock and then went on a very nice and informational walking tour of most of the sites. I’m a sucker for a good tour for an overview of a city, and the trivia-nut in me always enjoys learning new and interesting facts and stories about places.
A few of my favorite highlights from the tour:
The Astronomical Clock topped with a tower from which a trumpeter announces every hour
The surrealist Kafka statue---standing on a cockroach of course
Statue of Dvorak next to the philharmonic where I totally band-geeked out about my first marching band show being his New World Symphony.
World's largest metronome--where a huge commy statue used to be
The site of the Velvet Revolution key shaking
(I also love this picture b/c I think that dude is totally photo bombing me.)
After the tour we climbed most of the way up the side of a mountain and took a look around the largest castle in the world. It was really impressive and the views of the city were spectacular.
Fun little hidden gardens on the hillside next to the castle
Awesome Gothic Cathedral on the castle grounds
excellent iron detail work @ the castle
The Veranda View
We paid 80 Krowns (about 3 Euro) to walk down through a tiered garden that was quite splendid and the clean WC at the end was worth winding our way down the narrow staircases.
Andy finally got an awesome Trdelnik with Nutella smeared inside.
FYI: You don't have to be able to pronounce it to eat it.
We found a really great vegetarian restaurant run by Hare Krishnas that had yummy cheap dinner. We stopped at a store on the way back to the hotel to find some more beers for Andy to sample, but only after we stopped for some really fresh Pilsner Urquell at a local spot.
We went to bed early, because we had a long hard day, we wanted to rest up for our last day in Prague and because we are lame old people. (We’ve made peace with it.)
To be continued…