I’ll get to the title bit later…
We woke fairly early and went for another walk around. There was a street market not too far away where Viv bought a huge punnet of cherries and some souvenirs for the folks back home. We also stopped at a nearby coffee shop so she could fuel up for the day.
The long walk to the castle was worth it as we caught the changing of the guard, again in amazing sunshine. How those guys can stand there in that kind of heat I don’t know.
Locating one of the cheaper restaurants nearby, we sat down for a pleasant lunch with a lovely view and a cute kid entertaining himself at a table while his parents ate. Until he got confused and followed the wrong woman out of the restaurant and his mother went mental when she caught up with him. Whoops.
In a bid to enjoy a protracted period of air conditioning, we bought two tickets for Die Hard 4 and also managed to find a bar / restaurant selling rosé wine so Viv could actually have a drink of something other than Sprite. The film was enjoyable but a little silly. I still think the first one is by far and away the best.
As the light started to dim, we walked down near the river and found an excellent second hand book store. I picked up a 4-volume Alex Rider collection for a shade over two pounds (a lot of train and bus journeys coming up) and a publisher’s proof edition of an Eoin Colfer novel which may find its way onto eBay when I get home.
We hopped onto a boat for a chilly one-hour river cruise. 7:30 in the evening is a good time as you get to see the city by night for the first half, and lighting up for the second. All very pleasant.
And then. The rude waiter. The restaurant we picked looked cheap, had great food and – I think – is recommended by Lonely Planet. It’s the Restaurace U Vejvodu on Jilska 4 and you should avoid it like the plague. No, I’ll be fair – you should avoid the bald waiter.
He looked utterly distracted when he took the order, staring around the restaurant while we chose our orders. Then he brought me two beers instead of one, and gave Viv a Sprite with no peach schnapps. And brought another unasked when she finished it. I ordered a beef steak in pepper sauce and when it arrived it looked both delicious… and remarkably like turkey. I checked. There was also a turkey steak on the menu which was 220 Crowns less in price.
After ten minutes of trying to get the waiter’s attention and failing, I thought “sod it” and ate the thing. It was delicious, but arguing the bill when it arrived was fun. The waiter refused to understand us, so he called over another guy who’s English was much better. He was polite, understanding and genuinely attempted to help – exactly unlike his colleague.
Still, though, when they went to talk to the chef and came back to tell me it was “impossible” that I’d been given turkey, I was somewhat annoyed. When they then tried to tell me that the beef steak can look a pink/white colour I – frankly – lost it a bit. I’m 33. I’m pretty much a carnivore. I know “pink” beef and I know turkey. The texture, colour, taste, shape and amount of blood that squishes out is utterly different. I was not to be fooled though someone really needs to take their chef to one side and explain that the one that goes “moo” is the one that should be labeled beef.
Eventually, the bald man came back and literally threw the menu at us so I could point out what I had and the relevant price. He stormed off, dropped a handful of change on the table then suddenly stopped and pointed at a rack on the table. “Two pretzel” he announced, and pinched some of the change back with a manic look of pathetic triumph in his eye.
So there’s a lesson for you. Don’t assume that the pretzels on the table are free. And don’t forget the service charge which I really wanted to withhold. Waiting staff should be on a tip system. Frankly, I’d have given this moron’s tip to the guy with the long hair who’d actually tried to help.
Regardless, it didn’t spoil our evening but it did mean that there was no way we were ordering desert there. A good job there are so many ice cream shops in Prague! I went for a very nice slice of cherry pie from one of them and managed to eat most of it without dropping it on the pavement.
And so back to the room to watch the news and sleep soundly while my stomach digested the feathered beef steak.