A Cheapskate’s Luxury Weekend in Prague Part 2: Two Pubs and A Slightly Racist Clock – Yes it’s Prague, Not Brexit Britain…

After checking out of the Courtyard we decided to take the rather forlorn airport bus into town for our stay at the Hilton Prague Old Town. Despite being forlorn it was cheap and probably not an awful lot slower than taking a taxi.

Our hotel was a short walk from the main station and we descended through a small park learning pretty quickly that in Prague, public peeing was definitely a thing, as well as drains that smelt like rotten egg drains!

Hilton Prague, Old Town
Room: King Guest Room
Status: Silver

Check in at the Hilton was fine, the front desk agent who was in training and who I also managed to encounter on each day of our stay was able to combine our reward night with our paid night to avoid us having to change rooms. Unfortunately as of a week and a bit prior to this trip I was no longer a Diamond guest as my status dropped me down to just a simple Silver which meant our welcome amenity was a bowl of peanuts and a water bottle, at least our pet elephant would be happy.  We picked this hotel as we had a free night voucher that was close to expiry and we’d always wanted to visit Prague.

It was a comfortable and well appointed room, dominated by the TV and king sized bed.
The large bed was comfortable and we slept well each night.
There were basic tea and coffee making facilities atop the minibar.
Our room on the 6th floor was fine with the finish in the bathroom being a noticeable upgrade over our Marriott room.

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 Old Town Square.

We started off by passing the wonderful Art Nouveau Municipal House.
Before arriving on to the bustling square.
We saw the famous 1915 Jan Hus Memorial, portraying the fifteenth century radical religious reformer and martyr.

We continued to amble aimlessly through the surrounding narrow, medieval streets whilst we worked up a steady appetite for lunch.

We stopped to eat 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 guidebook if we’d needed to.
Lunch began with some refreshing big headed house beer.
For food I picked out the special, a wild boar burger.
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 and definitely not a ride on a horse drawn cart like James Bond in Vienna during The Living Daylights.
We crossed the River Vltava into the suburb of Holesovice and were treated to some beautiful views from the Štefánikův bridge.
Looking back across the water we saw the imposing Ministry of Industry and Trade building.
Facing left we met the perfect view of the beautiful Art Nouveau Čechův bridge in the foreground with the splendour of Prague Castle and the spires of St. Vitus Cathedral dominating the background.
As we crossed to the other side of the Vltava we were taken aback by the brutal change to the buildings.

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 our 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 finally found them! 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 nineteenth century art.

The permanent collection of the museum was immensely impressive and with the galleries lacking any kind of crowd it was the perfect place to wander around, feel amazed and occasionally annoyed at the works on show.

As the museum closed at 18:00 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.

We finished up our visit by sneaking in to the second of the two installations, Ai Wiwei’s Law of the Journey that consisted of a giant life boat full of inflated occupants that investigated the movement of people across the globe. 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 numerous arty types and their dogs that inhabited the trendy cafe. 

We walked back to the hotel taking a back street detour which included walking up to the Prague Exhibition Grounds that we mistook for a grand old train station.
We then walked back towards the old town through Letna Park which offered some wonderful views of the city.

That afternoon was definitely 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 and 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.

Now sat comfortably I ordered another excellent pint of Czech beer to get things going.

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 packed 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. Though 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 outside of the stag do curry houses.

Anne-So rolled me back towards 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

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