Friday, December 4, 2015

Day 11: Prague-tically perfect day in Czech Republic

Monday, Nov 30


 It's now Monday, and it's bound to be another busy day. 
   The hotel lobby memorabilia

We started by grabbing breakfast at Cafe Terapie, just a couple of minutes away from the hotel. It had a nice vibe, decorated pretty trendy yet comfortable. They also offered free Wi-Fi, yes!!!



For breakfast, we ordered one of their fixed meal with Scrambled eggs and prosciutto, bread, cappuccino, and apple juice. We also couldn't resist ordering their cheesecake. It looked sinful so we had to get it. I'm amazed at the pricing here. Breakfast was great, it all came to around $5 USD. I'm glad they were that close to our hotel. We'll stop by again I'm sure.

Touring n our own
Did I mention we were just exploring on our own? We didn't join any group tours, or anything like that. It's the way Nancy and I like to vacation. We like finding surprises along the way. We like the fact that we control our time. So for our vacations, I do most of the research, and we just pick the sites that interests us. 

For Budapest and Prague (actually with just about any vacation destinations really), lots of touring companies have brochures in the hotel lobby. We picked up a few of them and highlighted the ones that we want to visit. Everything is accessible. Thankfully, the public transportation in Europe made it very easy for tourists like us to get around.






Prague Castle and its lovely neighbors
The big goal for today was to head over to Prague Castle. The castle is located on the other side of the river. Our hotel is conveniently located close to the major sights, so it only took about 15 mins to get to the station closest to the castle. All we had to do was to take Tram 17, and after 3 stops, we took a Metro from Staromestska to Malostranska (just 1 train stop). Now, this was when the real work began. The castle wasn't exactly sitting right next to the Metro. That would've been WAY too easy!

It took quite a few steps, flights of cobble stone stairs to get to the castle. In hindsight, it wasn't just the castle we saw, but it was a collection of historical buildings - St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George Basilica, Lobkowicz Palace, and so much more. They were all close to each other, and every corner we turned, bam, another building, or hall, or museum or cafe.








 Amidst all the history around the Prague Castle compound, we found a historical cafe....Starbucks!















Conde' Nast Traveler Recommended Kogo Havelska
After spending over 3 hours in the castle complex, we made our way down to Old Town Square and found Kogo. I was looking at the list of recommended restaurants by Conde Nast, and one of them was Kogo. I had cravings for some good pasta. As we approached the restaurant, we noticed that it


was elegantly designed. This was not going to be a fast food joint. Heck, we've been walking all morning and early afternoon so we treated ourselves. We ordered Spaghetti ai frutti di mare, and their Kogo special - Saffron Risotto with St. Jacob scallops and asparagus. We knew it wasn't going to be an ordinary lunch. Because we managed our own time, we decided to enjoy our time at Kogo. From the time that our drinks were served, to the warm bread dipped in olive oil and vinegar - we savored that time. Then finally our lunch orders were served. Spaghetti was perfect al dente, the seafood wasn't chewy, it was succulent (octopus, shrimp, and mussels).



The risotto serving was quite generous. The rice was tender, and all Nancy and I kept talking about was the fact that I should make risotto when we go back home. We loved our lunch, enjoyed it, and I won't be surprised if we come back here again. Thank you, Conde Nast Traveler.


And yet, another Opera
After watching Madama Butterfly in Budapest last week, I knew that I wanted to check out another opera in Prague. This is what happens when our hotel was located a couple of train stops away from Prague's
National Theatre. So I checked the website and decided to get us tickets to Giuseppe Verdi's, La Traviata.

After our very late lunch, we headed back to the hotel to rest for a bit, and we got ready for our 2nd opera. We took a tram and within 5-7 minutes, we were dropped off close to the National Theatre. We went up a couple of flights of stairs and found our seats on the front row of the 1st Gallery. The National Theatre is a bigger theatre compared to the State Opera House in Budapest. Everything looked so regal, so golden, so well kept.








La Traviata was presented in 4 different acts. We had no clue what the story was about. Again, thanks to the subtitles that helped us understand the Italian language. It was kinda strange that after the 3rd act, three of the main characters went in front of the red curtain and they took their bows. Nancy and I looked at each other, "was that it?" LOL!!! Well, another funny thing was after the 2nd intermission, the break (according to the screen) was only for 3 minutes...it was a very quick intermission. All in all, it was another great experience at the Opera, another one we won't forget, this time, it was in the Czech Republic. There goes our Day 10.....whew!!! Thanks for coming along!



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