The last few hours in Prague were spent in much the same way as my first Saturday morning in that the same cemetery I had been to on Saturday morning was visited and I had lunch in a vast beer hall eating meat products and dumplings drinking large glasses of beer.
The cemetery was in the grounds of Vyšehrad, Prague’s second castle, in fact not so much a castle anymore as all that remains are the vast brick ramparts which look out over the river and the city. Within the ramparts there is a green park, the Church of sc Petr and Pavel and a small crowded cemetery.
The cemetery is filled to overflowing with the graves of the great and the good of Prague going back a couple of hundred years. Some of the graves are nothing more than a slab of stone marked with the name of the deceased, some of the stones are etched with pictures and topped with a sculpture. Round the side of the cemetery and gated off are the more elaborate graves bright with gold and blue and sell importance. One of the most ornate is Dvorak’s whose name I found myself totally unable to pronounce.
In and amongst the graves yellow gloved nuns tidied up rearranging the small conker tributes that had been created on some of the stones.
Having done our fill of graves we took a tram back into the centre of town past a cubist apartment block and had coffee in further ornate splendour in Obecní dům. It was quiet when we went in but most of the tables were reserved and soon we were surrounded by American tourists taking their pick from the cake trolley.
After coffee we slipped downstairs and were briefly tempted by the idea of lunch in the dark brown splendour of the bars in the basement but I had my sights set on somewhere else.
Before going to Prague I had come across a website offering a food map to Prague and we were just round the corner from one of the places it recommended.
Lokal on Dlouha was in a long slim room on a street corner with tables and chairs broken up by bars and food counters. One of the food counters was reminiscent of what we had at school, large metal dishes filled stews and other good things. Although it was early most of the tables were either filled already or reserved. We walked through the room and found a table by the doors into the kitchens. There was a chalk mark on the wall next to each table giving it it’s number.
The menu on the table was all in Czech and I started to wonder if the glossary at the back of my guidebook was going to be sophisticated enough to enable me to tell the difference between cheese and head cheese (cheese being cheese and head cheese being a pigs head, boiled for a few hours, all meat picked off with your fingers and then compressed).
Fortunately there was an English menu to hand and I was able to settle down to that. With the beer there was some confusion as to what the difference between having my Pilsner “sliced” or with “beer foam”. Although I asked for an explanation I was just shown a picture of a beer mat. I ordered it sliced.
To eat I started with a plate of Prague ham with creamy whipped horseradish. This was a bright plate of folds of pink pig and a billowing pile of giving white whipped cream that came with a slight kick of horseradish.
Next up was roast pork neck with braised cabbage and dumplings.
A beer card was left on the table. It was marked with small beer glasses and next to each picture of a beer glass was a small box. As each pint was ordered another tick in a box was made on the card. There were about 70 boxes on the card which would no doubt make for an interesting evening.
Sadly there wasn’t enough time for settling glass of their Slivovitz Lokal 2013 before I was before I was bundled out and on my way back to the hotel and a taxi to the airport.