Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Prague (Part 3)

As promised, I'm going to blog about my European trip. This entry is about my second day (24 Apr '08) in Prague, Czech Republic.

This day in Prague was spent quite leisurely. I didn't have to go for training at the local office until the late afternoon.

So with a map, a camera and a bottle of water in a backpack, I went out walking. My target was to go to Prague Castle on foot.

The weather wasn't as cold as initially forecasted, but at below 15 degrees celsius, a light jacket was necessary to keep the wind out.

Along the way, I was treated to beautiful buildings and scenery reflecting an old central European charm. I also encountered a park along the way that presented some nice photographic moments.


Street along Mala Strana

Sculptures in park along Mala Strana


Eventually I made my way to St. Nicholas Church at Lesser Town (Mala Strana). Facing the church was a row of pubs and restaurant that looked really appealing. I reminded myself to come this way on the return trip to try one restaurant there.

Observing a concert queue formed outside the church, I vaguely remembered that central Europe was famous for their love of classical philharmonic music (unverified knowledge). It occured to me that it would be a pleasureable experience to enjoy a concert here. However, this time, I didn't have the right company nor the time for it.

St Nicholas Church

St Nicholas Church

Concert goers at St Nicholas Church

Statue near St Nicholas Church

Passing the St. Nicholas Church, up a steep sloping road that eventually led me on a left turn around more restaurants and finally Up the a steep flight of stairs, I arrived to the Prague Castle at last.

By that time, I had already covered about 4 km on foot, including some very steep stair climbing. Forgot to mention that in the morning, I had a 2.4km morning run and some exercise at the hotel gym and the legs were already aching.

So I was quite tired and seriously entertaining the thought of hailing a taxi for the return trip.

Prague Castle - Hradcany
Glimpse of Prague Castle

When I arrived, I was in time to catch the the changing of guard parade. A band was playing on the second floor on the right during the parade.

Changing of the guard parade

It was mentioned in Lonely Planet that the uniform of the guard was designed by the costume designer for the film Amadeus. Nice!

Prague castle is an amazing place! It is the largest castle in the world and has been for a long time, the seat of the country's government, including the current president. Inside the castle is a complex of buildings each reflecting different architectural styles, creating a captivating ambience.

My personal favourite building is the cathedral of St. Vitus. The sight of this gothic church looming over other buildings added a forboding and eerie dimension to the beauty of the place.

Unfortunately, I was not able to enter the church because I didn't have any Czech crowns on me as I didn't want to break my 500 Euro notes. There was also a long queue of waiting tourists outside the cathedral and I didn't have so much time.

Prague Castle entrance displaying statues of clashing titans

St Vitus Cathedral

St Vitus Cathedral

St Vitus Cathedral

St Vitus Cathedral

Street Cafe at Prague Castle

An Idle Noon

Pivnice U Glaubicu - Czech Pub

Honoring my promise to self, I made my way back to the row of restaurants near St. Nicholas Church for lunch. I chose one that has a name I cannot even pronounce. From outside, it looked like a traditional pub diner but I realized there were more extensions that housed several more dining chambers inside, making it bigger than I've imagined.

In Singapore, when we dine with our Muslim friends, we try to avoid non-halal food out of respect. Yesterday while dinning with my Algerian colleague, I stuck to ordering halal food, although I had some beer. This time, since I was eating lunch by myself, I had no qualms about ordering anything. I've been dying to try the popular traditional Czech dishes of roasted pork and duck.

Lunch: vegetable soup & Pilsner

Lunch: Roasted Pork Knuckle

I chose roasted pork knuckles over the duck. The serving size of half a duck would be too much for me. The pub's customer service was slow so I had to wait for my lunch. After relieving the mug of half its pilsner, my roasted pork knuckle at last landed in front of me. Weighing almost 1 kg, I ate heartily and sumptuously. The Czechs really know how to prepare their meat and I thought that I could definitely live here comfortably. Food compatibility is important to me.

The heavy lunch was definitely the culprit for making me sleepy during the rest of the day. In addition, I became tired from the walk back to the hotel. In total I covered 10 km in distance by running and walking in just half a day.

During the training, I had to rely on a few cups of coffee to keep myself attentive. I could barely work up an appetite and had little for dinner in the evening, even though it was a amazing restaurant, named Cowboy, with an excellent night view of the city.

To be continued...


Anonymous said...


it's "aniki"(tonari) from taiwan!

how are you ?

Do u still work for TOYOTA?

Why don't I see u online in msn messenger?

Anonymous said...

Seems like you had great fun! I'm dying to visit Prague, too. I can speak a bit of Czech... would you have found that useful?