In the morning, we take the tram #22 across the river and up the hill behind the castle to the Strahov Monastery.
The main draw here are the famous libraries. There are two; one called the “Philosophical Hall” and the other called the “Theological Hall”. The Philosophical hall is the “newer” of the two, having been built at the end of the 1700’s and has bookcases reaching 50 feet in height and a painted, barrel vaulted ceiling. The Theologial Hall, on the opposite side of a courtyard, was built some 100 years earlier but mirrors the other one with bookcase lined walls and barrel vault ceiling.
Unfortunately, the rooms are roped off so one can only peer in through the doorway. Gray haired ladies patrol like hall monitors, just waiting for someone to step out of line and (gasp!) take a photo without having paid a fee for the privilege. There is a fascinating “Cabinet of Curiosities” filled with all sorts of dried sea creatures, closest to the Philosophical Hall.
After the monastery, we walk back toward the palace, downhill, stopping for our daily latte and strudel at a place called Cafe Zlata Hvezda. The coffee is fine but the strudel is a disaster- it’s over-microwaved, tough and drowning in choc syrup.
We walk back across the Charles Bridge, pausing for a moment to watch a man setting up his marionette, but don’t stay to watch his show. We have sausages again for lunch, and this time I count my change.
After lunch, we walk across the street, unencumbered by heavy coats left in the room, and use our tickets to the Mucha museum that came with out package. This is a lovely little museum dedicated to this famous Czech Art Nouveau artist. The drawings and paintings are stunning. There’s even a movie which chronicles his live playing in the back of the museum.
Kogo Restaurant, Havalska 27, Prague 1
This is an Italian place, right off the same square as the market on the edge of Old town. The restaurant is split in two by an exterior corridor. The side on the right does pizzas as well as the regular menu and appears more casual. We eat in the one on the left with white tablecloths.
There is a large pasta selection and decent wine list, but it seems expensive (like most wine everywhere here.)
We have the antipasti platter which comes with small hunks of cheese-parmesan, gorgonzola, and something plain. There's also mortadella, prosciutto, olives and small salad. They nicely split it on 2 plates for us. There’s a bread basket with bread like little pizza dough pillows and it’s good.
Mom has the mixed grill-pork, chicken, sausage, beef, etc and I have the grilled sirloin which is a very thick piece of meat, grilled a perfect extra rare (even though I’ve ordered it medium). I eat every bit of the cooked parts and there is still a very rare (almost raw) piece of the center left the size of my fist.
We also have eggplant, roasted, which comes with tomato and melted cheese and oddly, slices of hard boiled egg in the layers. Still, it’s quite good.
We have a couple of wines by the glass ( a Montenegro red and a Rubrato) but decide to leave without having dessert when the 4-top next to us all light up cigarettes and smoke us out of the room. The server apologizes but tells us Czech law prohibits them from not allowing smoking (could this be true?). Credit cards are accepted. Total about $75.
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