Prague, Land of Meat and Beer

…which is not really optimal for a vegetarian who hates beer. In the words of Uncle Tupelo, “Beautiful, as far as I can tell, but your Heaven looks just like my Hell.” There’s only so much fried cheese a man can take, I tell you! But tonight we ate at Lemon Leaf, an asian-fusion place outside the tourist district, and got a great meal for a good price. Inside the touristized zone, you can only get overpriced meatplates (or the aforementioned cheese… I mean, I love cheese, but I think I’ve gained 10 pounds this trip). Oh, and water is more expensive than beer, by far. My theory is that all water in Prague is allocated for the production of beer, and that they have to distill the beer out to extract water; this extra step accounts for the price of plain “gasless” water.

No doubt, though, Prague is a beautiful city, even though it’s clearly been “cleaned up”. Prices are no longer the legendary bargain, for the most part, probably due to the lousy exchange rate of the lowly dollar. But the buildings really are gorgeous, and Mucha, the father of Art Nouveau, is well represented here in his home country (my girlfriend and I love that style).

She wandered around the city while I met with the SVG Working Group in the local Sun offices (though we all went out at night, of course). She scoped out a lot of great sights, and after the meeting ended, we went around the town. She’s been a good sport about seeing some of the places again (in fact, she’s been to Prague before). Today we went to the Bone Church of Kutn√° Hora (a small town outside Prague), and then wandered the streets when we got back, seeing the tower of the famous First Defenestration of Prague.

We generally did the tourist thing here, seeing the Prgaue Castle (and the nearby erstwhile home of Kafka), the Charles Bridge, the Jewish Quarter, the cool astronomological clock (with it’s monkish glockenspiel), a couple museums, took a nighttime boat tour on the Vlatava, and watched one of the many Black Light Theater shows (Ta Fantasticka’s Aspects of Alice show, which took a strangely soft-pornographic twist in the second act). Oh, and just generally wandered around.

I must say that after seeing the chaotic and quirky Morocco, Prague seemed familiar by contrast. Two weeks in Casablanca, Marrakech, Fes, and Rabat, and the conversations there, really was eye-opening (I’ll write more about Morocco later). I’m glad we went to both places. It’s been a long trip, though, and it will be good to get home and get back to work.¬† Tomorrow, we are going to try to get up early and visit the city one last time before catching our afternoon flight home.