And like all good things, this too must come to an end. Welcome to the 9th and final day of my Eurotrip where I have taken you through my journeys to Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. This was an incredible trip and I will do my best to end it on a high note! While the evening ended at the famous Hemingway bar and my first glass of absinthe it was action packed for 12 hours before.
My last day in the Czech capital was early to bed, early to rise. After a quick breakfast at the hotel I situated myself in Old Town Square for the 9am, early morning clock show to allow for the best photos. The performance of the Astronomical clock was just as my guide had described, “it doesn’t do much when it performs but it is 605 years old. In 1410 it is was pretty much the iPhone 11”. Performance is a word best used loosely, 30 seconds of a carousel of the 12 apostles and then it is over.
Immediately afterwards I went into the clock tower and climbed the 230 steps to the top. The view from the circular lookout was amazing and as my mom had asked the previous day how I got to the top of the St. Vitus tower – the answer is the same – I paid money and climbed a ton of stairs. This tower used to be used by watchmen and it makes sense the view extended for miles and unlike the many church spires I climbed it was easy to tell that this one was used regularly. The wide ramp style walkways were pitched at a gradual incline unlike the tight, steep spires I had been used to climbing this trip. There were also interesting panels on the way up including the history of the tower and how greatly it was affected during WWII.
Afterwards I headed into Tyn Church because after two days of looking at it, even through the window of my hotel room, I had yet to go inside. It was beautiful but there were very few things to take photos of as the entrance to the building it was not clearly labeled. When I went inside I was able to see five minutes of Sunday morning mass.
The next stop for the day was the Municipal House tour. On the last full day of my trip it was the first place I was offered the opportunity to purchase a photography license, in addition to the guided tour ticket, for the privilege to take photos. That second ticket was well worth the $2.20 in my opinion. The entire Art Nouveau and Art Deco building was gorgeous and to my surprise, not a government building, but a place for entertainment including plays, balls, poker, concerts, and fashion shows. There were over 2,000 chandeliers in the building and every room was designed and decorated in very distinct styles. The most famous was the Mayor Hall with the Slavic Concorde ceiling fresco featuring and eagle and eight personified by Czech historical characters.
After the Municipal House tower I wandered down a ton of back streets and meandered to St. Wenceslas Square and Statue. I walked the long bouldered up to the museum with lots of stalls and even though it was 11am it was my last day in Prague and I finally tried the local Czech delicacyTrdelník, a warm cinnamon and sugar baked treat.
This was followed by a long walk to go see the Dancing House, a famous site located a ways a way from every other tourist attraction. It was one of those things you see, you look at for one minute and then you move on. I spent five minutes only because I took 30 photos trying to not get too many cars in the shot.
The Dancing House is on the bank of the river and after taking these photos I crossed the bridge heading towards Petrin Park and stumbled across a great restaurant for Pastar for lunch. While charging my phone and WiFi device I enjoyed homemade lemonade, french onion soup and an amazing homemade gnocchi in rabbit ragout It was so delicious, arguably the best meal of my entire trip. When I looked it up on Trip Advisor later I was not surprised to see it was in the top 2% of restaurants in all of Prague. Well then, rightly so.
After lunch and with all my batteries recharged I headed to the Petrin Lookout Tower. The famous tram that takes people up the very steep hill to this mini Eiffel Tower had closed the week previously for maintenance and it is not reopening until March 2016. I asked the waitress at lunch and she told me if you are moving quickly it is a 45 minute hike up the hill to the base of the tower. Wearing jeans and rainbows and six miles into my day, I decided to take a pass. However, I did walk to the foot of the hill just to make sure, yes, it was definitely closed.
After the tower I stopped by Our Lady of Sorrows Church on my way to the Metronome which I had only seen from a distance on my walking tour. The Metronome was worth the hike up offering a beautiful view of the city even though I wanted to stop half way up the steep stairs.
It was almost the mentality if you did not take a photo / document it, you were not there. Well, I was there taking in the gorgeous views of the city with a bunch of locals and their Sunday afternoon beers. With the overcast sky and the plethora of trees it was hard to get a good photograph of the view but it was splendid and even better because it was the first high vantage point of the trip that was free.
After the hike down from the Metronome I went back across the river and traveled through the Jewish Quarter. I had gone down two of the main streets on my walking tour but I made a point to go back and got some great shots of the very quaint and well preserved district.
After the Jewish Quarter I ended up back on the square where my hotel was planning on going back until I heard a street performer via microphone and a hundred people surrounding his performance. This was probably a time where New York City has me jaded as I think the performers in Central Park have a one-up on this guy but I enjoyed the show nonetheless and the photos were beautiful.
And now, as the post title suggests, on the absinthe. The last stop of my very, very busy last day in Prague was to the Hemingway Bar. With a 4:45am wake up call the next day I went back to my hotel post perforamcne to begin packing and to change my clothes before walking the mile to the famed bar and I was the first person in the whole establishment when it opened at seven. I had one of their traditional cocktails sitting in the non smoking section and at the bar upstairs. My drink was quite production, made and served in a jar with a syringe of orange liqueur I squirted myself all over the crush ice on the top and stirred to enjoy. Such a cool process and a tasty drink.
Then came the part I still can not believe I did, I drank absinthe. They had a menu with over 50 varieties and the very nice bartender suggested the Authentique 65 from France when I told her I had never tried it and that I do not like the taste of black licorice. The drink was not my cup of tea but I loved the whole process the pouring of the shot and then the making of the drink – 1 part absinthe, 2 parts very cold water, one sugar cube, and one large ice cube. As I sipped on this lethal cocktail I had a sign along local Czechs at the bar next to me who knew zero English but all the words of Hit the road Jack (and don’t cha come back, no more no more no more no mor).
I left before I could find out but according the bartenders and the reviews usually the establishment is usually filled by 9pm and as they do not allow patrons to stand it is a one-in one-out policy until it clothes. to close. No standing room. It was a great last night in Prague and an absolutely terrific trip! Thanks for following along!