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A Week in Prague: Day 2

By Wednesday, July 30, 2014 , ,

We started the day bright and early (more 7:30 construction) and started our walk towards the castle, stopping for lunch at Kafe U Zelenych Kamen. Since nearly everything there had meat in it, I ordered the cheese platter, which came with olives and capers... I thought there would be a nice selection of stuff to nibble on.

I'd heard of stinky cheese before, but never believed cheese could smell and taste so gym-socks-like and still be considered edible! Not that it was the fault of the Kafe U Zelenych Kamen, I'd ordered the cheese platter and that's certainly what I got.

Some cheese deserves a written warning. Or maybe even a waiver to sign.

There arebgreat views from the hills surrounding Prague, photos of which will appear in more than one blog post. Even if you aren't interested in the castle or weapon grade cheese, I'd recommend climbing it just for the views alone.

Prague castle is not in fact a castle. If you've read my blog before you'll know I love castles, and I mean the old, stone citadel/fortress/storm the gate/man the ramparts kind of castle. Because I am a nerd. (Also, my Grandparents live on the Welsh border, and the English knew how to build castles.)

And Prague Castle is not one of these. There is a cathedral, St Vitus that is part of the iconic skyline of Prague, and a few palaces and government buildings that are all quite grand, but those windows are entirely too impractical in event of a siege, or a small child with a rock.

We stopped by the ticket office and bought two ticket for the shorter tour, and a 50Czk (about 2 euro) permit so I could take photos.

We did get to see the changing of the guard, in the rain.

Then it was on to St Vitus's.

Just inside the cathedral were a group of children singing, very beautifully in (I think) Latin, it was a wonderful introduction to the cathedral, and though I know very little about ecclesiastical music, it was exactly what I think should be sung in a Gothic cathedral.

Just after you go through the ticket check, to the left, there is a beautiful stained glass window by Alphonse Mucha stained glass. Mucha is one of my favorite artists, and you've probably seen his work before:

via Wikicommons
I know I prefer Art Nouveau over Art Deco, although I couldn't quite tell you what the difference between them is.  I think Art Nouveau tends to be more romantic and fluid, while art deco is a little more robust and industrial. Or something.

Anyway, I'll feature more close ups in another post. It really is a very beautiful window, and the highlight of the cathedral.

Next we visited the Old Palace, which was far more functional rather than luxurious. It included one of the Defenestration of Prague windows (the 1618 one), and this interesting hall, New Land Rolls Room, :

In this hall, there was an employee sitting in the corner yelling "no photos!" since it was possible to buy a photo-taking permit, I assumed she meant no photos regardless of permit, that this was a special off limits room. Fortunately, the man next to me took out his pass, a little piece of receipt paper and waved it at her across the room. This seemed to satisfy her, but she kept yelling until I did the same.  Being yelled at left a me with a bad taste, especially since it would have been easier, quieter and more enjoyable for all if she'd just checked our permits when we walked in the room.

But all was forgiven when we went on the final portion of the tour, where we found the weapons and armor collections (I'm nearly positive all are reproductions, but they still look pretty cool!)

In the basement of the building was an alchemist's lab exhibit:

We walked down from the castle in the rain, and decided we needed to warm up with coffee and crepes.

We crossed Charles bridge back to the east side of the river in the rain. Even then it was crowded and full of people selling paintings and other trinkets along the sides.

We'd heard good things about a restaurant named Lehka Hlava/Clear Head, and that it was so popular you'd need reservations. Since it was a rainy thursday, we thought we'd have no problem getting a table. Nope, it was that popular. We made reservations for the next night (spoiler: it was amazing) and headed home for the night.

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  1. What an exciting life! I love stinky cheese and - as a vegetarian and celiac - the cheese platter is my plate of choice :)