A stroll in Prague
The dancing house
The morning walk takes us south along the river to The Dancing House (Tancicí Dum), which is an unusual building with no straight lines. The architect, Frank O. Gehry, was allegedly inspired by a movie with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and therefore the house has been nicknamed "Fred & Ginger". It is on the Rašínovo quay right by the Jiráskuv bridge.
The morning traffic is intense and the wind is cold. The puddles are covered with a crisp ice-foil. Two Asian girls try to take a picture of themselves with the river in the background, but the arm is too short.
Ever courteous I offer my assistance and am rewarded with happy smiles. It seems to me that when Asians take pictures of sights there must always be a smiling member of the company in front obscuring the view, but of course they don't take up as many pixels as we do.
We walk through the small streets back towards Národni and drop in for espresso at the cosy Café Rybka. It is 10 o'clock and I wonder if the students don't have lectures to attend to.
The Jewish district, Josefov
We cruise through the old town and have a sandwich lunch at Café Kafka. On the walls are old pictures from the Jewish district and philosophical sentences. We're by the Jewish quarter, Josefov, but that doesn't restrain them from serving ham.
Tourists continuously exit the opposite street, and two constables patrol the area. We walk round the Jewish cemetery and past the synagogue. It is teeming with tourists buying tickets to enter.
We don't feel like joining. Of course it could be interesting to see the old cemetery and the other stuff, but synagogues and churches do not interest us, and besides it is too crowded.
A shadow of sadness rests in this district, which the Nazis depopulated during WW2, but that doesn't restrain the souvenir shops from making tourists and pilgrims the prey of our time.
It is just the right weather for hot wine. We get it at Café u Vavrysu, which we have visited a couple of times. The hot red wine reminds us of glögg (mulled wine), but it is less spicy and sweet. The sore feet and the cold outside adds to the decision of having a glass of foamy Urquell afterwards. At three we walk home and switch off the light for a couple of hours. One must not forget to relax when on holiday!
Dinner at Restaurant Rainer Maria Rilke
When we walked through the old town today we noticed an inviting restaurant. It turns out that it is one of the restaurants I had marked as "interesting" when preparing the trip.
When back in Denmark I google Rainer Maria Rilke. I am afraid he is now on the list of authors that I'll never read, however I wouldn't mind visiting the restaurant again.
The interior is old fashioned, but colourful. The walls are painted with something resembling flowers, and there are sculptures, flowers and bric-a-brac. The loudspeakers serve revue music from the thirties "Isle of Capri" - in Czech of course. Later they switch to "Buena Vista Social Club".
The waiter has long hair and wears his shirt outside his trousers. He is kind and professional and explains that they don't have a wine list. They have two Czech red wines, and we pick the one made on (I think) Pinot Noir. I forget to ask about the price.
The food is good and plenty indeed. Half size portions at 75 % of the price would have been enough - easily. Helle has a game pâté for starters and I a tasty chicken broth. Helle's main course is sirloin ŕ la Stroganoff, and I have pork in a forest-mushroom sauce. We share a big portion of mixed salad and some good deep-fried potato wedges. It is excellent, but we are soon full and forced to leave a lot.
We order espresso, but forget to specify that it should be "piccolo". Here espresso seems to be a term for coffee made on an espresso machine, and unless you specify "piccolo", you get a watered down version (much like caffé lungo in Italy).
The Czech red wine is quite pleasant, but lacks bouquet and character. The bill says 2115 CZK, which is fairly expensive in Prague. The red wine alone is 785 CZK and that's a tad expensive considering the quality.