Prague, Part III: Italian Music and Italian Food in the Czech Republic?

Our last day in Prague we were on our own and revisited Old Town and the Charles Bridge and then meandered around Lesser Town, the district below the Castle. It was a day to recover from the experiences we’d had the day before and to absorb all we had seen in Prague.

We climbed (yes, we actually climbed) the clock tower in Old Town where we had views of Prague in every direction.

IMG_2576 tower view IMG_2577 Tyn church IMG_2581 panorama 2 IMG_2589 IMG_2591

IMG_2586 us in the tower

We crossed the river and saw the wall covered with graffiti dedicated to John Lennon and the ornate St. Nicholas Church in Lesser Town.

IMG_2594 Vlatava RIver Prague

Vtlava River

IMG_2595 Wall for John Lennon

John Lennon wall

IMG_2598 St Nicholas Church in Lesser Town 5 23

Inside St. Nicholas Church, Lesser Town

IMG_2600 IMG_2603 dome in St NIcholas Church Prague Lesser TOwn

We wandered through the Wallenstein gardens, where we saw peacocks and a very weird grotto wall with sculptures of animals hidden throughout.


In the Wallenstein Gardens


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We had lunch at a restaurant on the river; the walkway from the street to the restaurant was so narrow that they had a “traffic light” at either end so that two people wouldn’t get stuck in the middle, neither being able to pass.  Of course, we didn’t notice that on our way down.  Fortunately, the man coming up was only a few steps up and graciously went back down.

Walkway to Cafe Certenova

Walkway from Cafe Certenova

We also experienced the way that music permeates everything in Prague.  We had been to a concert our second night at the Municipal House’s Smetana Hall, hearing the Prague Symphony Orchestra play Gustav Mahler’s 5th Symphony, a moving and emotional piece of music that I’d never really heard before in its entirety.  For our last night we decided we would try and get to another concert.  Walking through Prague we discovered that wherever we went, people were handing out flyers for concerts at churches and other venues.  What was a bit bizarre though was that in many of these venues the program included Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.  We were baffled—was it Vivaldi’s birthday?  He was Italian, not Czech.  Why would all these places be playing the same piece of music?  My best guess is that it’s a piece that is well-known and well-loved and thus a good selection to attract an audience.  We returned to Smetana Hall that night, and yes, we heard the Four Seasons.  It was lovely.

Street performers---can anyone tell me how they do this??

Street performers—can anyone tell me how they do this??

We were also surprised by how good the food was in each of the other places we ate while in Prague—-Giovanni’s Trattoria, RYBI (great fish), and Pasta Fresca (yeah, we like Italian food, as apparently does most of the world since every city we visited seemed to have more Italian restaurants than anything else, other than their own local cuisine).

Overall, our time in Prague was fascinating—fun, uplifting, educational, upsetting, insightful, entertaining, and stimulating. It was good to end the trip seeing all the beauty and good that human beings can create and appreciate instead of the evil and horrors we’d witnessed the day before.  Prague is a wonderful city, and we definitely could have spent more time there.  But it was time to move on to our next stop.

We boarded an overnight train to Krakow.  It wasn’t the most comfortable sleeping accommodation on the trip, but when we woke up, we were in what was once Galicia, the homeland of my Brotman ancestors.