Vyšehrad (sound familiar?) and some more Prague
It just means ‘upper castle’, and the one in Prague is not quite so high or gothic as the one in North Hungary, but it does have some spectacular views.
I spent most of Sunday walking through the parks and gardens of Prague, inadvertently making a huge circuit of the city (over 10 k, I’m glad I brought my good shoes). It was kind of grey and gross that day so I didn’t try to photograph everything, but here’s a view from the park looking south up the Moldau:
In the evening, I set off across town again, passing through the crowded masses in Wenceslas Square, Where the buildings are pretty cool. My favorite is this one called the Koruna, which has a giant crown on top:
There are lots of cool buildings in Prague. Even in the less-famous parts of town the fancy 1890s buildings are in pretty good repair.
I was not joking about the massive quantities of lilacs in Prague. They were everywhere.
After dinner (at this fantastic Indian place in Žižkov), I walked myself down to the previously mentioned upper fortress. It stands somewhat to the south of the city, on a hill right on the river, and is surrounded by huge walls.
In the center is the church with its little cemetery, where Dvorak is buried.
Looking west, over the train tracks and the river.
I walked back to Old Town along the river promenade, and came across an impromptu club where everyone was salsa-ing on the cobblestones in heels. I was very impressed.
Thirsty after my long walk, I visited another brewery and got some of their awesome dark beer. There were also squadrons of waiters running around trying to sell the customers tiny glasses of Becherovka, the Czech national liquor (do we have a national liquor? If so, what is it?) I tried some–it tastes like oranges and cinnamon and anise, but the beer was better.
The best part (besides the friendly Hungarians who sat down at my table) were these musicians who were running around asking every table where they were from. They played a Czech folk tune for the Czechs, ‘Que Sera Sera’ for the table of giggly Mexican ladies, and The Battle Hymn of the Republic for me, which I was very pleased about because that is one of my very favorite folk tunes.
Accordion man was very enthusiastic, and I appreciated the Tubaist’s willingness to carry that beast around the restaurant.
I got up very very early on Monday morning and caught the 6:42 train back to Hungary. I slept for the first few hours, and when I woke up, I found the train surrounded by fields upon fields of yellow flowers. It was very beautiful, but I have no idea what they are. Canola flowers? Anyway, it made for a nice ride home.
More photographs of lilacs (and some other stuff too) here.
We’re all off to Szeged in the south of Hungary tomorrow to see a math talk and spend Saturday visiting the city. I’ll keep you posted!