Date Night #1 - September 16, 2007
Temperature: High 72/Low 54
Location: Prague Castle & Old Town
OK - here's the start of a new series chronicling our Date Nights while here in Prague. At 1 per week (assuming we can find a babysitter), 52 per year, this has the potential to be quite a series!
Click here for a Google Earth KMZ file with our route. Click the camera icon within Google Earth for pictures along the route. Don't have Google Earth? Download it here!.
We started off at the Malostranské náměstí tram stop. This square lies at the feet of Prague Castle - and that was our first destination for the night. Nerudova street, named after the Czech poet Jan Neruda winds up the hill toward the castle, lined with quaint restaurants, pubs and shops - catering mainly to the hordes of tourists that descend on Prague each summer. My favorite was a little shop filled top to bottom with puppets of all shapes and sizes - including a full-sized wizened old man guarding the front door.
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We took the sharp turn up Ka Hradu street, passing a couple tourists on Segway scooters - an interesting blend of the new and old, and one way to make the steep climb a little easier! As we ascended the vista of Prague at sunset expanded with every step. Peeking over the wall towards the top, we spied diners settled comfortably on a terrace overlooking the Castle gardens. The Orange tiled roofs of houses and palaces below - most 300-400 years old in this section of town - gave way to the greenery of Petřin hill.
Making our way past the stern guards, we entered the Castle proper. I have to note that these guys, though they didn't smile, were not the quite the stony faced Grenadier Guards of Buckingham Palace. They stared straight ahead and didn't smile, sure... but the ones we watched made quite a variety of facial contortions to each iches, clean teeth and otherwise stay alert! We wandered past the impressive gothic spires of St. Vitus Cathedral, guarded on all corners with grotesque gargoiles, past St. George's Basilica and the Prague Toy Museum. We reached the far side of the castle just in time to take in the view of Mala Strana stretching to the Charles Bridge, and the old town beyond that.
Next, we headed down the old Castle Steps, and across the Manasuv Bridge. As the sun set behind the castle, tour boats plied the Vlatava River below us, towards the Charles Bridge just upstream. By now, we were hungry, but we didn't want to pop into yet another tourist joint along the river. We walked along the banks of the river through the Jewish Quarter, and once we hit Old Town, started exploring the side alleys off the beaten path. One of the first spots we came to was the Pražsky Most u Valšu Restaurant and Brewery.
The tables on the ground floor were full, so we ventured down a circular staircase to the cellar below. Heavy wooden tables lined the stone walled chambers, and we settled down to a well deserved dinner of Goulash and Pork Chops, accompanied by a (very small) Neperlava voda (non sparkley water) and (very large but typical, 1/2 liter) house beer. Delicious!
A quick walk through the near-deserted streets of Old Town took us to the Staromeštska Metro stop and our ride home.