Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Eurotrip 2011, Day 6 Part 2: Black Lights & Bread in Praha

Our second night in Prague was a "free night" - as in, there was nothing planned through Contiki - and Kiwi Katie convinced a fair number of us that we needed to see a black light theater show.

To be fair, the show that Kiwi Katie led us to wasn't one she herself had seen before, and she was very clear about that. She also made sure that we understood that her friend who suggested it said it was, in a word, "strange". Still, our curiosity was peaked and for about 30 Euro a person, we figured...why the heck not? Black light theater is apparently a big thing in Prague, and we assumed that no one show could really be that much worse than any other.

Well...we were wrong. Or at least, I can only hope we were.
Aspects of Alice - the strangest show I've ever seen
You see, we were given the impression that this show - Aspects of Alice - had something to do with Alice in Wonderland. I'm still not sure how that was the case. The music was more annoying than anything and there didn't seem to be any credible storyline to follow. If you really want to have an unforgettable evening watching something like that, all the more power to you...but I'm thinking we should have either avoided black light theater entirely, or gone to see a more generally popular show.

When Aspects of Alice was over, we stumbled out into the waning twilight, hungry and confused. From there we made our way to U Modre Ruza, or At the Blue Rose, located at Rytirska 16 in the Old Town. The hotel had called in our reservation earlier that day and we prepared ourselves for what we hoped would be a meal something like our amazing dinner in Berlin two nights prior.
Inside At the Blue Rose

At the Blue Rose is located in gothic cellars that date at least as far back as the late 1300s. It was a very quiet, dimly lit restaurant and this did a good job of invoking the perfect atmosphere. Meals were a bit pricey - my "Peter Vok's Duck" ran 550 crowns, which is between $30 and $35 US - but while Natalie C didn't care for her pork, I was very pleased with the meal.
Peter Vok's Duck dish, At the Blue Rose
My main complaint was about the darn rolls. Yes, I had been warned - by both my guidebook and Kiwi Katie - that the basket of rolls they inevitably place in front of you at Czech restaurants are not included with the meal as they are, oh, nearly everywhere else in the world. If you eat them, you will be charged. So when our waiter placed that basket of rolls in front of me, I merely eyed them warily.

And then we waited. And waited. And waited for our food. About 20 minutes after he had brought out the rolls, the waiter returned and made sure we understood that even though he had placed them in front of me, they were for the whole table. Now, we had been hungry when we sat down for this meal - by now we'd been there over half an hour and we were starving. So Steve and I and the Natalies debated. Would they really charge us for these rolls? I mean, this was a nice restaurant. At $25+ US a plate, surely they wouldn't feel the need to charge for the rolls as well. Plus, the waiter was so insistent that we eat them. Would he be that insistent if they weren't included? And besides, they were just little rolls. What could they possibly cost? Certainly not more than 20-30 crowns each.

So we dug in.

Big mistake. While those rolls were certainly delicious, when we got the bill my jaw must have hit the floor. Those rolls ended up costing us 100 crowns each. That's about $6 US, folks.

No roll is worth that.

My cheeks were literally burning red at my own stupidity as we paid the bill, left the absolute minimum tip, and rushed out of the restaurant.

But not before snapping a mocking picture of me with a cardboard cutout of our waiter...who was apparently also the owner of the restaurant.
Oh well...at least we got a good story out of it.

At this point we all needed a drink. Or ten. So we decided to head over to the club that Kiwi Katie had talked up earlier in the day. "The biggest club in Prague!" she said. "It has five levels!"

Of course...we aren't the five-level club types, but we decided to give it a chance anyway. And I'll say this for Karlovy Lazne - they do love their black lights. (As if we hadn't had enough of those earlier.)
The building that houses this astonishing FIVE LEVEL CLUB used to be some sort of factory, which was probably the most interesting thing about it. They have left some of the factory - err, decor - intact, which makes for some cool hangout areas.
Like this hollowed-out silo that now houses a sort of VIP table. Oh, and we're pretending to be mafiosos here. I don't know.
Somehow we still stayed out until 3 AM, despite the fact that the dance floors did end up being ridiculously crowded (as compared to how completely empty they were just three hours prior) and the music was just so-so. We made it fun, but not surprisingly, we still aren't "Five Level Club" type of people. And even more interesting was the walk (yes, walk) back to the hotel. You see, cabs in Prague are apparently questionable at best, and hey, there were four of us. And Steve's a guy. How bad could it be? we thought.

The answer? Not too too bad. There was a moment where a gypsy-type woman followed us down a barely-lit winding road, trying to call out to us, but we ignored her and as soon as we entered Old Town Square she disappeared. The Square itself was practically deserted and the lighting quite eery...it was actually really cool and we spent a few minutes gawking...
...until we realized that a creepy elderly man was stalking us. At which point we rushed out of the square and practically ran back to the hotel without looking back. We lost him once we broke out onto one of the [surprisingly] busier streets, but this was one of very few times I regretted not having my pepper spray with me. Or not being in a city where you can actually trust any car that has a "cab" sign on it. First world problems and all that.

So our first full day in Prague came to an end, and we fell into bed happy that we didn't have to meet for our bike tour until 10:45 AM.

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