We quickly settled in at the Hilton and decided to spend our morning exploring the crowded, winding streets of the old town including the famous square, racist clock and surrounding streets.
We stopped for lunch at Pivovar U Tří Růží a nice friendly Czech pub/restaurant just off the worst of the tourist trail. Service was friendly and in English, though I think we’d have been OK to translate the menu through our guidebooks if we’d needed to.
Lunch began with some nice frothy house beer. For food I picked out the special, a wild boar burger and Anne-So enjoyed a whopping great schnitzel.
Both our dishes were well cooked and portions were generous. The price was very reasonable, no doubt helped by the fact that beer in Prague is cheaper than water. Absolutely stuffed we had not an inch of room to sample dessert. What we needed was a long and ambling walk in search of art.
Our guidebook left us unprepared for what an unremarkable building the Trade Fair Palace was, on the outside that is. It was so dull looking that during bus ride in to town that morning we mistook this functionalist masterpiece for a communist era office block.
Inside it was thankfully a different story. The simple form of the building allowed the art works to shine (once we found them). As there was no map and the guy checking tickets seemed more concerned with letting people visit the free area of the museum than helping anyone out. This meant that we wasted some time stumbling around in almost total darkness, trapped at the dead end of a Brian Eno multimedia installation. I heard this installation has resulted in at least three missing person reports being filed by relatives of museum patrons.
Once we realised it was just a simple matter of taking the lift we headed upstairs and travelled backwards through the history of French 19th century art. The permanent collection of the museum is immensely impressive and with the galleries lacking any kind of crowd it was the perfect place to wander, feel amazed and occasionally annoyed at the works on show. We then took a look at some early 20th century Czech art, as like I mentioned we’d traversed history in reverse.
As the museum closed at six we had to move around at a decent pace to view the quite fantastic Czech modern art on the floor below. Feeling we’d just started to scratch the surface it was sadly time to go, but not before checking out the two quite stunning installations on the ground floor. One of large, black, still water pools each of different heights (they looked flat from on high) which then have light beamed on them and are backed by vibrating mirrors that distort and disorientate you as much as the space around them. We finished up our visit by sneaking in to Ai Wi Wei’s Law of the Journey installation consisting of a giant life boat full of inflated occupants that investigates the movement of people. The sheer scale of the boat and the words below it were heartbreaking.
By this point we needed to recharge our batteries after expelling all that emotional energy and the attached coffee shop seemed like a good place to do so. Though with the wonders of hindsight perhaps it was not the greatest idea. Before sipping this coffee I can’t remember the last time an espresso nearly knocked me out. Part of me thinks that perhaps they just messed up the coffee, but that was one bitter, sour, fruity and strong little cup (insert Brexiteer joke here – it’s in the title after all).
I was certainly awake now and enjoyed some interesting people watching of the arty types and their dogs.
We walked back to the hotel taking a back street detour which included walking through a small park with wonderful views of the city. That afternoon was my happiest time in Prague not sat stuffing my face with food.
We had a small rest back at the hotel to freshen up and get ready for dinner at Maso a Kobliha a famous British eatery/butchers in Prague.
Truth be told I was a little worried about the place. The online write ups were good but the menu looked terribly basic. We also didn’t get off to the best of starts ending up on the worst table in the house, a small crate by the door that we were thankfully able to vacate for a much better one.
We started off splitting a portion of scotch egg and croquettes. The scotch egg was perfectly cooked, warm, with a slightly soft yoke, spicy meat filling and a crisp outside. The croquettes were the same, crisp on the outside and soft in the middle.
For mains I ordered the veal schnitzel with mash, fried egg and anchovy. Anne-So took the Reuben sandwich. What turned up was a giant piece of meaty veal, crisp crumbs on the outside, tender and moist within and with great flavour.
I had a quick bite of Anne-So’s sandwich and the quality of the meat was something else. Further proof that Max was right, a quality sandwich makes for one heck of a dinner!
And here’s where I need to make a confession… After a recent change of diet I no longer thought I needed eating jeans, well about half way through my schnitzel it turned out I did. Between a little hit of sunburn, some strong beer and a crap load of food I was fit to burst and had to skip dessert. After trying Anne-So’s blueberry ice cream it was the right decision for my health but I did miss out on a taste experience I’d never forget. I can’t remember the last time I had ice cream so rich and creamy. There was no way in hell I’d have survived the night if I’d ordered a whole portion. I was struggling so hard that the owner was worried I was not having a good time. The only thing that was upsetting me was a lack of room for dessert and of letting my country down at the one British restaurant in Prague (excluding the stag do curry houses).
I was rolled back to our room, I can’t say the fresh air helped as I was not back to normal till the next day and thank goodness I was for I had booked us an epic breakfast.
A Cheapskate’s Weekend in Prague Index
- Part 1: Friday Night in Hong Kong via LHR
- Part 2: British Airways Club Europe London to Prague
- Part 3: Hotel Courtyard Prague Airport
- Part 4: Hilton Prague, Old Town
- Part 5: Two Pubs and A Racist Clock – Yes it’s Prague, Not Brexit Britain…
- Part 6: Brunch, Beer And Culture Lost
- Part 7: Touring The World Through Prague
- Part 8: Homeward Bound And A Final Taste Of Prague