The daily diary of a wandering restaurateur
June 11 - Prague
On our last day of the trip, the sun was out, the sky was clear and we had a plan! Today Marcella took us for a tour through the Prague Castle, the largest castle complex in the world. There are more than 50 buildings inside the walls and it is like another little city. Marcella is a registered guide so we got all the history along with the architecture. I won't try to deliver a travelogue but you can take a look at the pictures to get some idea of what we saw up there.
We stopped for lunch in a little café below the castle and actually saw sandwiches on a menu for almost the first time on the trip. In Central Europe lunch is usually the largest meal of the day, so the menus tend toward plated entrees over lighter choices. We wandered down through the area known as the Lesser Town, across the Charles Bridge and then to the Jewish quarter. Most of the original buildings had been torn down and replaced in an urban redevelopment surge a few hundred years ago, but we did see the oldest synagogue in continual use in Europe. The old cemetery is also interesting. Jewish law says that once a body is buried it cannot be disturbed . . . and space is tight. So they buried people in layers and just kept sticking the headstones in where they could. There are about 16 layers in the Old Jewish Cemetary and the forest of stones is an interesting contrast to the lawn-like cemeteries we are used to seeing at home.
Back to the house for an afternoon break and then we took Marcella out for a farewell dinner at one of her favorite downtown restaurants. We had invited Jari but he opted out, in part I am sure because he is uncomfortable with not speaking any English. Margene could identify since her first husband was Chinese (probably still is!) and she would often be the only one in the group who was not speaking Chinese. I regret that I did not bring my camera along to capture a few shots of a nicer sort of local restaurant. Suffice it to say that the food was excellent and the service very personable. The meal was all the more pleasant for having Marcella along to explain things.
Ever the tour guide, Marcella took the long way back to the tram and we got a little walking tour of the Old Town area along the way. The night was warm and it was a perfect last memory of Prague. I am thinking we should have done it a lot sooner! Tomorrow we return to the more familiar world, much richer for the experience and already starting to think about returning to a few of the same spots next year.
If you have followed along on our trip via this travelogue, I hope you have at least some sense of the rich experiences that are just waiting to be discovered along some of Europe's less-traveled roads. We will certainly never forget the people and places that made this such a marvelous escape.
Around Prague Castle
The Last Lunch in Prague
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