Friday, September 5, 2014

Our first full day in Prague - Mick actually pays for Internet, magic Mozart and Cuban cool!!

Martina had us up and out early today but to very good effect. (Her job is to orient the punters to the fact that they are on their own soon but to still let them know that "Scenic Tours" loves them!) She led us on a four hour walking tour of the Old Castle and down to the Old Town Square.
The coach (our final run) took us all up the hill so it was a gentle start before Martina lead us through the Palace, St. Vitus' Church down the hill with a coffee stop and a swig of a well-known Czech liqueur - Becherovka (Elaine bourght a bottle later that evening proclaiming it had miraculous herbal ingredients!!!) to brighten us up before heading across the Charles Bridge and up to the Square. She had us out early to avoid the crowds and that seemed a great idea. Again she was very good at her job and we all enjoyed it a great deal. This will probably be our last experience of the large group of punters and, while there are no problems at all with them it will be very nice to be just doing our own thing again!!!

After a couple of beers (beer is cheaper than bottled water in Prague!) and some sausage in a local market for lunch we repaired to the hotel for a rest. With lots to catch up on and as he was really getting twitchy we decided that we would buy internet in our room for 24 hours (it is free in the lobby but we didn't want to be spending a lot of time down there - once we catch up that will be fine!) and Mick had all the withdrawal signs!

In the evening we were booked (from Australia) into a "Mozart Dinner - your own private Opera!" which is held in the baroque ballroom of a nearby hotel. Again, being summer, many of the big orchestras are having a spell so, while we were a bit fearful of "tourist pap" it had looked OK. It was really great!!! We had a table for two and the food was fine. The music - mainly "Don Giovanni", "The Magic Flute" and "Eine Kleine" was played by a quintet which, even to Mick's untutored ears seemed a notch above the average! Subsequent internet research revealed that some of them are members of the "Bennewitz Quartet" (go Google!) who have a gig at Wigmore Hall in Novemeber and a pretty extensive discography.
The soprano - Terezie Svarcova - and the baritone - Daniel Klansky - have good track records as well and the quality of the performance was great. (Everyone has to eat, and I guess in Prague, with so many tourists, this is a reliable summer income - we appreciated the quality!) The intimacy of the venue and the relaxed nature of the performance made for a great night!

After that we wandered through this lovely romantic place to "La Bodeguita Del Medio" a Cuban style, "cool" bar - recommended by Edgar - our æhost to beæ for Saturday and Sunday when we move to his AirBnB flat. Elaine had a martini and danced a few grooves while we mainly watched the crowd! Great fun! We strolled home, arm in arm, through the nearly deserted Old Town Square to a welcome bed - Elaine had a little Becherovka nightcap!!

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