Hello Fellow Travelers:
Welcome to our world of business information, museums, adventure, birding, botanical gardens, dining and fine wines. This newsletter provides you with “The Welge Report for Prague .
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Recognition: We extend special thanks to the people who manage and/or own the institutions, museums and restaurants featured in our guides. In some instances we have relied on their descriptions and photos.
Birding Opps: Info for our birding friends. In and near Prague you can see these species: Kestrel, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Cahffinch, Song Thrush, Red Start and Yellowhammer.
The Czech Society for Ornithology (birdlife.cz) provides a list of species and where you can see them.
At the Fat Birder (http://fatbirder.com/links_geo/europe/czech_republic.html) you will find geographical information, references and reports on local birding.
The Moravian Ornithological Society (mos-cso.cz/cz/) specializes in research and protection of birds.
Business Information: (businessinfo.cz/files/archiv/dokumenty/cr_regions_prague.pdf)
US Embassy: (http://prague.usembassy.gov/) – Tržiště 15, 118 01 Praha 1 – Malá Strana Czech Republic, (+420) 257 022 000, Emergency Contact: In case of a life or death emergency for a U. S. citizen, a Consular Duty Officer is available 24 hours a day. Please call +420-257-022-000.
Exchange Rates (http://www.x-rates.com/)
Day One: Your first stop is The Mucha Museum – Daily: 10-6, Kaunický palác, Panská 7, 420 224 216 415
The world´s first Mucha Museum, dedicated to the life and work of the world-acclaimed Czech Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939), is housed in the Baroque Kaunický Palace in the very heart of Prague.
A selection of over 100 exhibits comprising paintings, photographs, charcoal drawings, pastels, lithographs and personal memorabilia provides a privileged view into the universe of the artist who is most widely known for the posters he executed for Sarah Bernhardt in the fashionable world of fin-de-siècle Paris.
Lunch is at Luka Lu – L & D: Daily, Újezd 33, 257-212-388
(We had an English speaking waitress from Serbia, who was a cute red head named Katarina.
We learned that she was the only English speaker in the restaurant but did not speak Czech, so she was our private waitress. Her English was excellent and we learned that she had spent a year studying in Montana. Think about that.
We ordered some water and then a bottle of Cepage – Gruner Vetliner, ’11 Veltlinske Zeleene, Pozdni Sber Spatlese. Luka Lu is a must do when you are in Prague. The décor is whimsical with a series of theme based rooms. By all means ask for a tour of the restaurant.
Katarina brought us bread and cheese spreads. She also added a complimentary pepper spread. We split the grilled anchovies (this is petite peche in France), and then we split the grilled calamari. We both had espressos and a complimentary apple strudel. Luka Lu is a memorable experience.)
After lunch our Cousin Chris suggests seeing the Kampa Museum – Daily: 10- U Sovových mlýnů 2, 257 286 147
Wonderful museum, right on the river (used to be a mill). You will recognize it by the yellow penguin “statues” outside on the river. It has very interesting modern art. There’s a café on the terrace.
The collection of Central European art serves not only as a reminder of the so-called Eastern Bloc, but also contributes to the awareness of modern Czech culture.
Dinner this evening is at La Finestra in Cucina – L & D: Daily, Platnerska 13, 222-325-325
We began with a glass of white wine – Veltlinske Lelene, Spalkovi with our shared order of fois gras. This was followed by a bottle of red wine ’08 Merlot – Tansberg – Mikulov-pod-Palavou.
I had the duck confit with gnocchi, and Dee had the Tiger Prawns with ginger over mesclan and a vinaigrette dressing.
Day Two: Our Cousin George highly recommends breakfast at Café Savoy - B,L,D: Daily, Vítězná 5 150 00 Prague 5 Malá Strana, 420 257 311 562 56
Enjoy either the Continental breakfast – toast, organic emmenthal cheese, lightly boiled egg, house made bread, farm butter, house made jam, coffee with milk, cocoa or tea or the Savoy breakfast of toast, Prague ham, nut marble cake and hot chocolate.
If breakfast doesn’t work out we suggest lunch or dinner and consider following: the Savoy Veal Cordon Bleu with potato puree, the roast rabbit leg with vegetables, the cooked grenaille, stuffed quail with vegetables on butter, or the truffled risotto.
Their efficient, waist-coated staff brings to mind an entirely different time: the glorious First Republic, when Prague boasted one of the highest standards of living on the Continent. Perhaps some things never change.
After this wonderful and entertaining breakfast we were off to see Prague Castle/St. Vitus Cathedral – Daily: 9-5
Our affable local guide Petr escorted us on a tour of Prague Castle. Perched over the Vltava River it offers great views of the city.
Prague Castle is more than 1,000 years old, containing residential quarters, chapels, galleries and gardens.
Here we visited the 14th-century Gothic Cathedral St. Vitus which had extraordinary stained glass windows that were 19th century. St. Vitus Cathedral is the largest and the most important temple in Prague.
Apart from religious services, the coronations of Czech kings and queens also took place here. The cathedral is a place of interment for the remains of provincial patron saints, sovereigns, noblemen and archbishops.
St. Wenceslas Chapel is a cult centre of St. Vitus Cathedral. Its magnificent decoration and its architecture emphasize the central point of the cathedral, his tomb. The wall paintings of the Passion cycle and the precious stones are parts of the original 14th-century decoration of the chapel.
The scenes from the life of St. Wenceslas are attributed to the workshop of the Master of the Litomerice Altar (the cycle is dated in 1509)
We also visited St. George Basilica and other iconic sites, one being the Golden Lane. We had a delightful lunch on the Prague Castle grounds in a very historic-looking dining room of the Restaurant Vikarka – since 1360.
Also located in this area is Novy Svet, a walking street in Prague.
Nový Svět is one of our Cousins favorite paths situated in the Hradčany (Prague Castle’s neighborhood). In contrast to the crowded Prague Castle and the famous streets nearby, Nový Svět (New World) is a surprisingly quiet place where you can easily get ‘lost’.
Nový Svět used to be a poor, but picturesque quarter of Hradčany which always attracted artists – many of them lived or are still living there. There are a lot of things not to be missed – check out the door handles – there are a couple of really interesting ones.
It always time for lunch in Prague and today we suggest Sansho – L: Tu-F, D: Tu-Sa, Prague 1, Senovážné Square 870/27, 420 222 317 425
Try their famous rabbit in the wild jungle green curry. Their menu always includes vegetarian dishes. Don’t hesitate to ask your waiter about the specialty of the day, they are not always listed on the blackboard outside.
Meals are accompanied with roti bread or a small salad. They also offer a selection of lunch delicacies such as sliders, crab tacos and mackerel or salmon sashimi.
In the evening they offer a tasting menu of six courses. All dishes are served family-style. Their dinner menu includes sashimi of salmon, sansho fritto misto, sliders with crab, pork belly with watermelon, chicken sauté, roast beef or slowly prepared short ribs or pork with green curry.
After lunch we suggest a visit to the Prague Jewish Museum – Daily: 9 – 6, U Staré školy 1, 420 222 749 211
The Jewish Museum in Prague is a memorable place because of the unique connection between the architecture of its buildings and the craftsmanship of those who made its individual artifacts. It achieved its renown mainly through a cruel blow of fate.
The Nazi-controlled shipment of objects from the liquidated Bohemian and Moravian Jewish communities to The Jewish Museum was a preliminary to the gathering together of people. First, the objects were given numbers, then the people. Tragically it was the objects – not the people – that survived the rage of war.
Dinner is at Oliva –L: M-F, D: M-Sa, Plavecká 4, 420 222 520 288
We had not made a reservation but fortunately, they had a nice table for us. It was a lovely bistro and we started with a glass of Austrian Riesling.
Our first course was the house specialty, a ramekin of cheese, walnuts, anchovies, etc. We were given bread with 2 olive oils, one was Greek and the other was Italian.
Then we had a bottle ‘11 Cabernet Moravia, Moravke Zemske Vino, Collegium Vinitorum.
I had the grilled octopus with roasted bell peppers, string beans, crème fraiche and cilantro. Dee had the pan seared fois gras with onion chutney and a slice of jamon Iberico.
The staff was wonderful and we talked with owner who was very hard working front of the house person. We took a taxi back to our hotel.
Day Three: Breakfast is at Brasserie la Gare - V Celnici 3, 110 00 Praha 1, 222 313 712
A comfortable atmosphere with lots of choices that include: French crepes with your choice of toppings, croissants and plates that include eggs, meats, cheeses, juice and coffee.
(After breakfast our local guide, Petr, led us around Old Town Prague. We saw many Gothic and Baroque buildings. At the Old Town Hall we saw the famous 15th century astronomical clock. We walked by every luxury brand name boutique known to women. Then we walked across the Charles Bridge.)
The Charles Bridge is a 14th century stone bridge linking the two sides of Prague. This magnificent structure is one of the city’s finest attractions, and is the main pedestrian route connecting the Old Town with the Lesser Town (Malá Strana) and Prague Castle.
Charles Bridge throngs with people during the day. Street artists sketch and musicians play; look out for a jazz band which is particularly entertaining. But for a truly romantic and less crowded stroll, try early morning or any time in the evening.
Speaking of Old Town it well worth your time to leisurely walk through paying attention to the sites and shops.
Later our Program Director Krisztina took us on another walking tour of Lesser Town, so named 600 years ago, because it was below Old Town. It has lovely fountains and gardens, sculptures and churches. In one of the gardens we saw numerous peacocks that were screeching at their intruders.
Our cousin suggested the Kalina Restaurant - L & D: M-Sa, Dlouha 12, 222 317 715
Start with the duck foie gras in brioche or the veal sweetbreads with a ragout of wild mushrooms. Then we suggest the rabbit leg with cabbage and potato dumplings or the knuckle of wild boar in a red wine sauce.
Enjoy an ’08 Hautes Cote de Nuit Rouge from Jayer-Giles.
Until next time, best wishes and safe travels,
Dick & Dee Welge
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