Merry Czech Christmas

I haven’t reported on the shower. I shall do so now.

The most disconcerting thing about the the bathroom is that it is all glass. The walls around it and internal the walls around the shower and toilet. These latter walls are frosted as a concession to people who are not that keen on watching people on the loo. For this reason, I tend to use the toilet downstairs, off the foyer.

The shower has a waterfall rosette with great pressure and temperature – a true delight. However, because of the dedication to design that is apparent in every inch of the room, it does not drain very well. Which means that the rest of the bathroom becomes flooded when the water doesn’t drain away fast enough, allowing the small lip (about the thickness of a single tile) that is supposed to contain the water, to become pointless.

It’s all very design over usefulness: Looks well funky, underperforms to Billy-O. Still, the pressure and temperature make having a shower a joy.

Anyway, following on from yesterday’s huge day, we decided to take it a lot easier today. So we went for a stroll through Jewish Town with the idea of visiting the cemetery and maybe a synagogue. It was then we realised it was Saturday. Jews don’t do anything on a Saturday. So everything was closed. Even the lights were off.

We found the wonderful Franz Kafka statue. Franz was born in Prague back in 1883. He wrote The Trial, a book I loved back when I was a lot younger. Of course I just had to pose next to it.

Gaz & Franz Kafka

Still, it was lovely looking at all the art nouveau buildings. We walked all the way down to the river (Prague is not very big) admiring everything.

Art Nouveau buildings

At the river we saw where the boat tours leave from. There are a LOT of boats!

River boats on the river

We walked the length of the ‘posh’ street, winding up back at the Old Town Square for a coffee stop in Starbucks before heading back to the hotel.

Late in the afternoon, we went to a Christmas concert at the Municipal House. It was lovely. What felt like a complete string section, delighted us with a selection of well known classics from Dvorak to Strauss, Pachabel’s Canon to A Little Night Music. It was a lovely way to wile away an hour.

Mirinda’s disappointing Christmas
As everyone knows, Christmas in this part of Europe is celebrated on Christmas Eve. So, back in England, we organised to have a traditional Czech Christmas Eve dinner. I had already been informed that the Czechs buy a carp a bit before Christmas, let it loose in the bath until Christmas Eve when it is ritually slaughtered, sliced and cooked for dinner.

I was surprised not to see my dinner floating in a bath by the doors of the restaurant.

The restaurant was the Francouzscka restaurant at the Municipal House and it is absolutely gorgeous. If anyone was in the market for a horrid meal, these surroundings almost made it worth it.

We arrived a wee bit early. In our country, this is usually ok and, if they’re still clearing the table, the waiter or maitre d’ will leave you at the bar with a drink. At this place, firstly, there’s no-one at the door. This is going to be a problem because the devil ALWAYS makes work for idle hands…Mirinda’s being no exception. There was a sign regarding the strictly forbidden taking of photogaphs which fell out of its holder when she thought it contained a bell for summoning staff.

The sign flapped, conspicuously to the floor. We waited at the door for a while longer. Eventually a woman turned up, who I recognised as the hostess from the cafe opposite. She picked the sign up off the floor and immediately set about repositioning it in the frame from whence it had been manhandled by my lovely wife.

In most expensive restaurants, this would have been inconsequentual. The hostess would have attended to us first, then worried about the silly sign. Not at this restaurant. She wrestled it back into place and then asked me, with a huge dollop of insinuation, if I knew who did it. I was tempted to say it was the cat but instead, looked confused and said I didn’t know.

I mean, seriously, who is going to admit to it? She sounded like the culprit was going to get sent to the salt mines. As it was, Mirinda reckons she went and checked the CCTV because she was a bit surly to her during the coat checking procedure.

We were still early, of course, so she ordered us to wait, with a gruff face. We sat in a big leather lounge which was quite comfortable but couldn’t manage the gruff faces…we were enjoying her insane service attitude far too much.

Eventually our table was ready and we were shown to a lovely spot (I felt, for sure, we’d be put near the toilets because of the sign thing) by the window. The service, from this point was fine, while the food took a turn for the worse.

We had four courses all of fish (trout mousse, carp, fish soup and Zander…which is closely related to perch) and a dessert which Mirinda was worried was toffee coated goldfish but turned out to be gingerbread with caramel ice cream.

The Czech’s love their carp. Mirinda thought it tasted like mud. It has a lot of small bones which make it quite awful to eat. It was not as tasty as turkey.

To be perfectly honest, the best course was the bread. The bread was spectacularly lovely. We ate all the bread. Oddly we were given a strange swirl of salt free butter sprinkled with salt crystals.

I am not being at all harsh. On the plus side, the wine was fantastic. I was guessing since it was mostly in Czech and I was hoping it would be, at the very least, passable. It was superb. I’m going to see if I can get it in the UK, it was so nice.

We are totally looking forward to a turkey Christmas dinner tomorrow night.

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A very merry Christmas to anyone and everyone reading this with very special wishes to Audrey and Kevin who I know read me every day xxx

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