This morning we had our first local guide to take us around Prague’s Old City. This guy was quite likeable. Every step he took was precisely measured, and every English syllable was laboriously enunciated. It didn’t feel like it was difficult for him to speak English per se, more like he spoke English with the same deliberation and care a surgeon would employ during a quadruple bypass. Another impressive thing about him was how he had the tour timed to the last second, and so we ended up in the Old Town Square with exactly enough time for him to bid us adieu before the Astronomical Clock struck the hour, and right before all the other tourists started gathering around it, so that we ended up with the best view. It was so amazing I tipped him quite a lot.
Prague is lovely. This was the first time since London that I had time to properly appreciately a city’s architecture in the daytime, and it is one of the places on the tour we decided we must come back to in the future. There’s an elegance and grace to the buildings that makes one want to just sit somewhere and look around indefinitely. While eating holousky.
I bought some holousky from a stall set up on the Old Town Square, it was almost as good as the holousky I had last night. I got ripped off though, because I paid in Euros so the vendor gave me a horrible conversion rate to korunas. But I bought it anyway, which should give you an indication of HOW MUCH I LOVE HOLOUSKY.
So in the afternoon we drove through the Austrian countryside on our way to Vienna. Joe put on the Sound of Music soundtrack which everyone enjoyed except Schmoops, who clearly hates fun or something. We drove alongside the Danube for a while in the late afternoon, which was absolutely gorgeous.
In the evening we had time for dinner before going off to hear a Mozart / Strauss concert in the some palace or other (Aufsberg? Augsberg?), behind Vienna City Hall, so we went out for dinner at Cafe Weimar. It was delicious, and not that expensive, although we did make the mistake of ordering water which cost over 3 Euros per tiny bottle. We will never do this again. We had a veal goulash with spaetzle (YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM) and goat cheese wrapped in bacon over salad (Yum Yum Yum Yum). The goulash was perfect, and the spaetzle came on the side which was a very good idea considering that spaetzle can be soggy sometimes. This was one of the few things we ate on the trip that Schmoops conceded I could not make better at home. The goat cheese wrapped in bacon was much larger than I thought it would be, consisting of one whole block about 4 inches square and 1 inch thick. The bacon had an excellent level of crispiness, but without being burnt, with almost all of the fat rendered out. The goat cheese was delicous. The salad had too much dressing on it, which I think is a first for a salad I have ordered in a restaurant. They are not afraid of calories here. For dessert we had their apple streudel, which was fantastic, with apples that were not soggy at all, well flavored with the right amount of sweetness and lemon, and tender pastry.
The concert we attended this night was amazing. The auditorium was not large, with a capacity of perhaps 200 people. The music filled the room like a physical thing, and the effect was fundamentally different from listening to a recording. Mozart on a CD is nice. Mozart in a huge concert hall is an experience. Mozart in a intimate setting where you are submerged in the music will blow your mind. People cried. I may or may not have cried.