Bagels in Prague

Trip Start May 13, 2011
Trip End Apr 28, 2012

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Monday, August 15, 2011

Bagels are definitely not Bohemians.  We found this out in Prague.  We ate breakfast today at a bagel shop, as Amit has been dreaming of bagels and lox for months.  Bagels are not a typical breakfast for us in San Diego, but we had to try them out, to get Amit a bagel fix, as who knew when we would see another bagel again.  Or in this case, bagel like bread thing with a hole in the middle.
Coming from the east coast, we are bagel snobs, so I am not sure what we thought we would get.  And, it is true, bagels are definitely not Bohemians, as they are a German invention.  Much to our disappoint, the bagel experience we had was mediocre at best and expensive, a ghastly combination.  We left our breakfast as Abi would say, unfortunately full.
Today we headed to Old Town for some sight seeing, despite the impending clouds gathering and humidity that made our hair stick to the back of our necks.  We had to see the famous Astronomical clock in the Town Hall.  This clock is over 500 years old, every hour draws hundreds of tourists to view the curiosity.  First, a skeleton rings a bell and saints a parade through a window, displaying to the crowds below.  The clock strikes at the top of the hour, but is routinely off time, as there was no daylight savings 500 years ago.  It was a cool clock, but I more enjoyed people watching, as at least 500 people gathered around the watch the show. 
We decided to climb up the tower, as the kids were itching for some action, so we ascended the 3 flights to buy our tickets and then up and up the twirly stairs we went, up to the tower.  There were beautiful views of Prague, although the clouds made everything look like winter.  The girls had fun trying to identify all of the sights and wondering what would happen if they dropped their toys on the crowds below.  For once, they agreed with me that this was a bad idea.
We then followed Rick Steve’s walking tour of Old Town, making our way to New Town.  We passed through a cool church that had a pieta, or a statue of Mary and Jesus that was 400 years old.  As we exited, a  desiccated human arm hung near the doorway.  A legend told us that once, a thief tried to steal the prized pieta, but his arm was frozen the moment he touched the statue, and the monks had to cut off the arm to get the hand to release.  Gruesome, but the kids thought it was cool.  Well, I hope they learn never to steal a pieta in a church in Prague from this. 
Next, we wound our way through the curving roads to the Opera House.  It was built in the late 1800’s in mostly Arte Nouveau style, and had a beautiful mosaic of Lady Prague over the doorway.  The insides were equally impressive, decked out in crystal chandeliers and red carpets.  Next door was Powder tower, where the old armaments were kept when this was the beginning of the gates to Prague.
We wound our way to the open market, Havelske Trzida.  There were about 100 booths, filled with cheap touristy souvenirs made in China, a few fruit and vegetable stands and mass produced art work.  Attending some Europe’s largest markets, including our own Naschmarkt, we were unimpressed with this one.  As it was starting to rain, we headed to lunch, at Radost FX.  We passed through New Town, and Wencelas Sqaure, where in 1989, 100,000 Czech’s gathered every night for 30 nights, demanding the fall of the communist government that had imprisoned them for so long.  In the end of November, they got their wish, and peacefully as well.  The revolution was therefore dubbed the Velvet Revolution.  The people would gather and rattle their keys for hours.  Although it was raining, I took the time to stand in the square and imagine the sound the people made, tried to feel their passions and desires rising up from the stones I walked on.  As I have never lived through a war or revolution on the soil I lived on, I could imagine the sounds and feelings that happened in this square.
We ended up at Radost FX just as the rain transitioned to downpour.  The building not only held the lounge we were in, but a music store, club and night lounge.  There were many vegan choices, which made deciding difficult, but everyone decided to go solo on this meal, the girls ordering burritos, Amit went for the eggplant parm, and an Asian salad for me.  Although not spectacular, the meal kept us from the rain and filled our bellies. 
We then headed for the Mucha museum.  Alfons Mucha was a master of Art Noveau, of sensual women and posters for advertising, rivaling Toulouse easily.  Although small and crowded, we all enjoyed the art so much.  He is one of my favorite modern artists, capturing the alluring and sensual side of women that is irresistible.  We also was a passionate patriot, wanting to unite his country and present his people.  He painted the Slav Epic, but it was not on display anywhere in Prague when we were there.  Well, we vowed to travel back to Prague just for this, one day.
After this full day, we headed back home, to our scary apartment, in the pouring rain.  The feeling I get from Prague is magical and adventurous, proud and playful.  I cannot wait for tomorrow, to connect more with the city of 1,000 spires.
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