Monday, May 10, 2010


I have mixed emotions about Prague, and not just because my camera was stolen at the train station as we were leaving.  It's to picture postcard for me and has way to many tourists packed into it's smallish center city, even in early April. We stayed at Miss Sophie's (google it) a very nice hostel which also has separate rooms in the building across the way. When we checked in we ran into three girls with ties to the Portland area hanging around the lobby. It's fairly well located but I didn't find a good breakfast nearby, so I became cranky fairly fast. We walked pretty much everywhere and it was coolish to cold and rained some most days. As you might expect that didn't help. But I did get one or two nice pictures because of the rain. I never did get into a serious picture taking mode in the five days we walked around and what I'm posting is an eclectic selection of images.
Architect Frank Gehry's Fred & Ginger House as it's called sits just by the river at the Jiraskuv bridge. It created a heated debate when first built, just the type of debate and building we could use more of in Portland. But we do have way better food overall, here in Portlandtown.

One thing Toby and I don't do much when we travel is go to concerts, but if you like music you should look into it in Prague as it is all around and at all times of the day and night. 
Two things we do like to do are museums and just walking and looking at the architecture. On our last day as we walked near the Kafka statue I spotted this one block street of similarly size 6 to 8 story buildings that had all differently detailed fronts and freshly painted exteriors .

All in all this section of the city tucked into the bend in the river, running from the Charles Bridge to the Stefanikuv Bridge, which includes the old Jewish quarter was the most interesting from a comfort perspective. It held the central square and the clock tower, but also hordes of tourists. However it was as the saying goes "central " but just outside of it's clutches in a circle from 9 to 12 on the clock we found by far the best breakfast and good lunch at the Brake Shop Praha and cheap eats and very good ice cream at Gourmand just a couple doors away, in what was once a butcher shop.
We also found what looked like a very interestin restaurant, Nostress, Cafe & Gallery, which had a lucious photography show of Jazz portraits in the basement gallery and wild appointments in the bathrooms. The sinks are cut into a granite slab and the water runs out of tile funnels with as you can't see very well,  large fiber leaf like covers.
On the day we went to the castle, we meandered along some of the small streets along that side of the river coming to Kampa Island. Quite by accident while desperately looking to take a p**s, we went into a small restaurant by the museum. Not very hungry at that point in the afternoon we ordered one of Prague's fine beers and a glass of wine. Killing time and resting our feet we also looked at the menu. In keeping with my preference of eating small but more often, we tried the black root soup... a winner, maybe the best single course we had in Prague. we tried a 2nd, also delicious and came back for a full meal the next evening. It's easy to find, just get to the river and look for the Penguins. I took several shots  of these and also a large sculpture that had been washed away in the floods in 2002, that the artist later replaced with a new piece.  While there a small fire works started up across the river which the wait staff could only say might be a private party for a wealthy individual.
The Charles Bridge is tourist hell, covered  with tacky venders selling trinkets and bad photos of Prague. It is however worth a look and being very centrally located you don't have to make a point of going there because it is well centrally located. We got there one day late in the afternoon as the skies were clearing from the days rain and the sun was setting, providing a half hour of rapidly changing color behind the statues. I took several pictures of this piece bracketing away as the light moved behind. later looking at the images on the computer, the backgrounds varied from light bluish to a green to purple and the gold showing softly in each. The famous statures are being cleaned and the bridge itself is being fortified.
All in all the architecture is gaga, so bring an extra pair of eyes you can pop in to give you some respite. Stay away from the heavy shopping streets connecting Wenceslas Square to the Old Town Square. Don't waste the time and energy walking up to the castle, you can take the bus up to the back side and walk down if you like, running the gauntlet of tourist stalls selling the same crap. Stay away from the King Solomon unless your wallet is overstuffed. Food was excellent the bill won't be.
I'm posting a much larger group of photos to flicker, including some poor guys car being hijacked, very funny, I almost burst out in song the first time I stumbled upon this happening.

Tandoor Bread In Portland

1 comment:

  1. "Architect frank Gehry's Fred & Ginger House as it's called sits just by the river at the Jiraskuv bridge. It created a heated debate when first built, just the type of debate and building we could use more of in Portland." I agree and would love to have something like this building built in Portland. Great photos as usual, looks like an amazing trip!