Casa’s Blog

A Life Abroad

We can insist on having robots. Bugs and insects. Useless, Leave me for dead. How can you love?

First off, I need to get this over and done with.  Mum, here you go!

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Okay, now the family commitments are done with what have I been up 2?  Well last night we went out to dinner at another one of the places “I had to eat at” according to Justin and had a very good roasted duck breast.  The knife provided couldn’t cut butter, so it made it slightly a challenge but the meat was delicious.  However, when I ordered a cocktail (Blue Hawaii for the record as I like anything that tastes “blue”) I got some weird looks from around the table.  Supposedly there was this place just around the corner that is the best cocktail bar in Prague.  Justin, Angus and all of them think so and it is even backed up by Justin’s recently purchased Prague Lonely Planet guidebook.  So you can probably guess where this is going. I went back to “Pivo” for the rest of the night and after dinner we were off to Hupa.  Turns out they were right.  I ordered another drink from the “blue family” called a Swimming Pool and it was amazing.  One of the best cocktails I have had in a while and it used real fruit juice.  I am learning to trust Justin’s knowledge of Prague and its bars/eateries.

As today was a Saturday, Justin didn’t have work and he lead the touristing for today.  Matt, Justin and I were off to Karlstejn. Justin had been there twice before and supposedly it had a good castle.  I certainly have a fair few churches and castles left in my European travels.  It is like with Pringles, once you pop you cannot stop!  The train ride was short, easy and cheap as you could just use the same ticket that you use for the Metro or tram, albeit with a few extra zones covered. Still 44 Kc each way is pretty good value.  Once we got there though we realised a flaw in the daytrip’s planning on our behalf.  We were three guys wearing t-shirts, without jackets and it started to rain the second we stepped off the train and it was a 30 min up hill walk to the castle.  Well, regardless we thought we would power on until we hit the bridge and it was pelting down.  Not only a lot of rain but those uber-big rain drops that feel like hail when they hit you.  A quick group decision was made to run back to the pub we had just passed and grab beer and some early lunch.  As the rain fell down from the skies like Matthew Lloyd diving for a free kick, we sat down and enjoyed our “Pivo” and both Justin and I ate fried cheese (Okay…our family’s love of cheese is once again proven).  As if planned perfectly by the time we finished the meal and paid (paid what had to be tourist prices I must add, although Justin has been awesomely generous and paid for most of my meals and drinks.  Thanks again Juz!!!), the sun was out.  It was as if we were experiencing Melbourne’s bipolar weather in the Czech Republic.

We walked up the hill, passed all the shops and stalls and up to the castle.  It was a pretty impressive castle from the outside, but nowhere near as good as the inside in my opinion.  There are two tours you can do.  We were on tour 2 which is limited to 15 people at a time, visits the special Chapel of the Holy Cross (more on that later) and generally better.  You have to book a bit in advance to get on this tour so again this was an example of Justin being an accountant and able to preplan.  Our guide for the day was a Czech woman with pretty good english skills although a few of her pronunciations weren’t right and were quite funny (although we managed to be polite and not laugh…catastrophes is one word I never realised is pronounced so differently to it’s spelling).   Tour 2 takes you through a variety of different rooms, hallways and beautifully decorated stairwells as the guide proceeds to close and lock each door as you go.  There were original wall paintings from the 16thish century which were amazingly preserved, even if a bit macabre as they were about people who ended up being murdered.   This was Charles the IV’s castle and we were able to explore a variety of different rooms including his personal private prayer room.  It was interesting to see how religion was almost the defining element of this king who is so popular in Czech history.  The castles and the stories are all really interesting.

The main part of the tour is the Chapel of the Holy Cross.  It is a golden chapel on top of the Great Tower and you can tell its importance purely from the size of the original 16th century key and lock needed to open the door.  It was a good chapel as once again it was different.  There were over 130 portraits of saints and prophets adorning the walls as well as all manner of golden decorations.  It is disappointing that you aren’t allowed to take photos on the tour as I will fail in any attempt to properl describe this castle and chapel.  For instance as a result of water damage from over use as a tourist spot the chapel was closed for 21 years and is limited to a few groups of 15 people day…it is a special place.

After that we went down what looks like a forgotten path and found a well recommended restaurant for lunch.  After our early lunch we ended up sharing a lunch.  Justin had an entree, Matt a main and I had a banana split.  It is funny how things turn out that way. It was also interesting as we got an insight in to the many different traditions there are in a Czech wedding. We continued to drink, explore the city and just chat.

Eventually we got back to Prague, got some pizza that was inexplicably sponsored by George Clooney (or at least he was on the box) and that was our day.

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Oh and here are a few more for you Mum…

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June 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 10 Comments