Prague – December 30, 2013 until January 1, 2014

Nervous Nellie here made the arrival in Prague more stressful than necessary.  I was unclear about which station stop to get off at so I made us get up way too early.  Since it was late, I just wanted to take a cab to our botel.  Big mistake.  We were ripped off.  It should only cost about $20 to go from Prague’s main train station to just about anywhere in the Old Town.  Well, at least that’s what it cost to return to the train station when we left.

Yes, I did say botel.  We stayed at Boat Hotel Matylda for two nights and although it was dimly lit and a bit cramped, it was so romantic to be right on the river Vltava.  We stayed in one of the ‘Superior Double Rooms’.  Clean, charming, small, and one of the tiniest showers I have ever used.  It’s a boat!

Boat Hotel Matylda

Boat Hotel Matylda

Our breakfast was served in the front boat and we stayed in the rear boat.  Breakfast was fantastic and so extensive.

Ok, so we arrive in the evening on December 30, 2013.  Ripped of by a taxi driver.  Checked into our room.  Decompressed and got settled.  Then we bundled up and ventured out.

Mr. MM wanted to check out U Medvidku as it is highly rated on Beer Advocate.  As he wrote in his Beer Advocate review:  you go here for the beer not the food or service.  We sat at the bar (see image below).  The bartender really didn’t know english and we don’t know Czech.  I had read that when in Prague order carp.  We ordered beers, fried carp, and “Kuba” (baked barely with mushrooms, garlic, and marjoram).

For me, after a beer or two I relax and am much more accommodating.  This is a good trait when traveling.

U Medvídků's bar.

U Medvídků’s bar.

The carp were rubbery but the beer and the “Kuba” were good.  Flashbacks of Berlin with the Budvar.  When we’re out, we like to look around at the various patrons and try to figure our their story.  Russian mafia types carrying man purses. Two women from the Commonwealth.  Hmmm.

We then just took a long stroll through Old Town.  No destination, just a walkabout with a slight buzz.

After a lovely New Year’s Eve breakfast ‘on board’, we headed toward Old Town.  It was pretty early so the streets were empty and the light was perfect for photographs.

Clockwise:  Good morning, Prague; Who is the artist?; Collage graffiti; Astronomical clock.

Clockwise: Good morning, Prague; Who is the artist?; Collage graffiti; Astronomical clock.

We took the 22 tram up around the castle to Klášterní pivovar Strahov located within the Stahov Monestary compound.  Unfortunately, the beer is not brewed by the monks but the Monastery is beautiful.

L: Strahov Monastery.  R: Beer brewing graphic.

L: Strahov Monastery. R: Beer brewing graphic.

We then meandered down to the castle complex.  There was some sort of changing of the guard procession which was interesting to watch but watching the spectators watch the procession was even more interesting.

Who's really on view?

Who’s really on view?

We worked our way back to the Old Town crossing the Charles Bridge which was packed with all things tourist.

Clockwise: Snack on the way down from the castle; Tailor?; Charles Bridge tourist trap.

Clockwise: Snack on the way down from the castle; Tailor?; Charles Bridge tourist trap.

We did a bit of a pub crawl through the Old Town and ended up at U Fleku which has been brewing beer for over 500 years.  I swear we stepped into the middle ages when we were seated in the large dining hall.  The nice thing about traveling with only two of us, it’s easy to squeeze in.  I was surprised at how much I liked the dark beer as I’m not a dark beer drinker.

Houskove knedliky (sliced bread dumplings), some other sort of dumpling, and goulash at U Fleku.

Houskove knedliky (sliced bread dumplings), some other sort of dumpling, and goulash at U Fleku.

Although it doesn’t look that great, it was actually pretty good.  This is communist food, my friends.

We walked back to out botel, stopping to buy a bottle of champagne on the way.  After we regrouped, we walked to Wenceslas Square to see what’s what on New Year’s Eve.  Holy cow.  We returned to the botel around 10:30 pm as it was practically a war zone with the amount of high power explosives going off.  It seemed like the thing to do was throw M-80’s a people in a crowd and see what happens.  Building shake.  You feel it echoing in your body.  You realize NYE in Prague is for the drunk ‘tools’ of Europe.

We rang in the New Year with a bottle of champagne and lovely bread with cheese in our botel.  Opening the french doors, we had a river level view of packed bridges (every bridge was packed with pedestrians watching fireworks) and the sky alight with fireworks.

Cheers!