After lunch we re-examined some of the side streets off the old town square and debated whether to watch the astronomical clock again but decided that we probably couldn’t stand the excitement twice in one day so went instead to look inside the Church of St Nicholas standing on one corner of the square. It was a nice church, but much like any other and it didn’t take long to complete the visit.
Back outside I was forced to concede that the sun was probably not coming out today and that was a shame because the overcast sky had a bleaching effect on the attractive pastel facades of the buildings which really needed strong sunlight to show them off to best effect.
Prague has a strong musical heritage and there were a lot of classical concerts on offer and we therefore decided to go and see one and set about making a selection. We thought that we would prefer strings to an organ recital so choose a five o’clock performance, purchased a ticket and retired to a bar to have a drink and wait the forty minutes or so before the start.
The concert took place in a hall of mirrors called, not unsurprisingly, the ‘Hall of Mirrors’ and the musicians played popular pieces from Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, Dvořák and other well-known composers. It was really very good. I was a bit tired however and at one stage could feel my eyes closing, lulled to sleep by a particularly soporific passage that had the effect of a most rapid anaesthetic. I couldn’t resist it any longer and I fell instantly asleep but at the moment of going over the edge into the oblivion my body shuddered and dropped as though I had fallen through a trap door and I woke in a start and hoped no one had noticed. After this briefest of power naps I managed to stay awake after that watched the rest of the concert without any further difficulty.
We retraced my steps over the Charles Bridge and found a mini-market to purchase a modest amount of alcohol. Further down the street we passed another shop and I decided that I had been too modest and hadn’t bought enough at the first one so I queued again for some more. It was one of those delightful central European shops that we just don’t see in the United Kingdom anymore with an arbitrary assortment of items for sale all thrown together in a random ensemble that requires a disorderly ramble around the chaotic shelves that defy organisation searching for what you want. Supermarkets at home go to a lot of trouble to place items to maximise sales but in these shops goods are just placed awkwardly wherever there is a space.
I found the beer without a problem and we returned to the hotel to shower and change, drink the alcohol and go out for dinner. We decided to stay local again and found an interesting little place close to the hotel, but it was full and a note on the door said that no tables were available this evening. So we went next door to the ‘House of the Donkey’, so called because a chemist in the middle ages had supposedly broken some sort of apothecaries code and for punishment his head was supposedly turned into that of a donkey. No we didn’t believe it either.
We ate outside in a dark courtyard and had goulash and dumplings and the meal was edible but certainly not worth a recommendation but on the upside it was cheap and it filled us up.
As it was still early we strolled back to the Charles Bridge to walk off the meal and crossed the river once more. The bridge was still very busy but now there was entertainment and beggars to enliven the passage from one side of the river to the other. The sky was clear and there was a splendid view of the castle looming over the city with coloured spotlights silhouetting it out against an inky black sky. This made us absolutely positive of a good day tomorrow so we went back to the hotel and went to bed. Sometime during the night Kim heard a disturbance when some British tourists were brawling in the street below but it was all over quite quickly and I heard nothing and slept right through till morning.