Prague city museum

After breakfast we walk to Prague's City Museum in Na Poricí 52. On the map the trip looks a bit long, but in fact it is only a couple of kilometres. There are far more useful shops on the way than in the old town, where everything is focused on tourism. It is like being back in the real world.

Don't bring guns to the bank, thanks

There are several banks en route. They have signs on the glass doors showing what is not allowed, if you want to step onto their polished floors: no dogs, no bicycles, no smoking and surprisingly no guns either.

The Powder Tower is on the way, and the pretty Municipal House lies right beside it. It is probably the professional aura of the SLR camera that makes two Asian girls ask politely, if I will take their picture with the Municipal House in the background.

The girls are so small that I must kneel to get a decent picture with the dome in the background. I wave them round a bit to get the right angle, and they obey the artist's every whim. Biiig smiles. I ask if the picture is satisfactory, and after one look they say it is perfect. Politeness is so comely.

The City Museum is in a pretty palace, and is definitely worth a visit. Admission is 100 CZK for adults. The permanent exhibition describes Prague's history through time and is informative.

Ceiling painting at Prague City Museum

There are also two temporary exhibitions. One is about cafés and café life in Prague in the old days. The other, which fascinates us the most, shows old watercolours dating back to ~1895. Beside each one is a new photograph where the photographer has put himself in exactly the same spot as the painter in his time.

It is fascinating to see how much has been preserved like it was more than a hundred years ago. Things aren't quite unchanged though - in fact many houses seem to be in even better condition today. The exhibition has attracted many Czechs who talk and point.

The permanent exhibition also has an old model of Prague made in 1826-34 by Antonin Langweil. Some of the old Prague has disappeared today, but none the less you recognize much. And above are the ceiling paintings.

Czech absinth

Old bar and restaurant near the hotel

We go out again at three after a siesta. Helle wants to bring a bottle of Czech absinth back home, and our quest takes us to the department store Tesco; but here the booze is expensive and a toxic green.

Café Louvre is one of the old cafés on Národni, but it is crammed and also very hot so we leave at once. Einstein used to hang out here, but that is a relatively long time ago.

There is a wine shop near the hotel, and here we find a bottle of genuine Czech absinth. The guy explains that the strength on the bottle does not refer to alcohol strength, but to how many milligrams it contains of the special herb, thujone.

At our regular café

Decorated chair

At our regular café we are entertained by looking at other guests. Two German couples order beer for the men and cappuccino for the ladies. At the word of command they all raise foam to their lips. Guidebooks and maps are retrieved. The ladies' arms are too short for reading - even with heads tilted backwards - but in vanity the reading glasses stay hidden. Two stout local men share a carafe of white wine in the corner by the window and after a look at the watch yet another one.

Pizzeria & loud music

We enter a pizzeria right next to the hotel - "Donna" something. The menu looks good, but the pop-rock is so loud that you must raise your voice to shout down the bongo-bongo. I can't stand it. We get up and leave before having ordered anything. I say (shout) to the astounded waitress, that: "We can't stand the music!", which makes her look even more amazed. Maybe they have invested heavily in loudspeakers.

On the corner just across the street is another pizzeria, but it looks dark and gloomy, and the menu doesn't compensate. We resign and go to Ristorante Pizzeria Sherry, where we dined Monday. Being experienced now we can avoid meat dishes.

Here they play disco/techno that doesn't encourage a Naples atmosphere either, but that's how it is.

Helle has baked goat cheese for starters, and I have parma ham with melon and flakes of Parmesan cheese. For main course an ok pasta.

The waiter - who wasn't here Monday - is sullen and definitely not skilled. He has probably been told to clear the tables, because the moment something is empty he almost takes it out of your hand. Thus he effectively sends the message that the sooner you leave the better.

Poor evergreens

We go to the regular café for a nightcap and decent treatment. A gentleman in a red jacket is playing the white piano and offers new and very mortal interpretations of evergreens. For instance "Sound of Silence" is played like a polka with elaborate treble trills.

If I could handle a piano I'd use the next break to play "As Times Go By".

The end

It has been a good time in Prague, and tomorrow we go home to Denmark.

There were things we didn't make or didn't have the energy to do. For instance we had planned to take a tram to the route's end to see something different and more daily-life, but it remained a plan. Neither did we see black light theatre or a concert. Time was short, and we don't want to rush just to do and see as much as possible. There must be time to enjoy. So there is plenty left to enjoy the next time we visit Prague.