Last night was our last night in this beautiful city of Prague. The city is one of the cleanest we have seen, with no dog poop or garbage to be seen on any of the streets or sidewalks. You can actually look up and enjoy the architecture of the city without worrying about stepping onto anything nasty.
We made our way to the famous St. Vitus cathedral which is also where Prague castle is located. These two structures majestically tower over the city of Prague emanating not just beauty, but also a glimpse of history that dates back as far as the 10th century.
St Vitus cathedral is one of the best preserved buildings I have ever seen. It combines both Gothic and Baroque architecture in its design and is overwhelming to see in person; both interior and exterior.
Now you know that whenever I go anywhere, there always seems to be a catch. As Jeremy and I were making our way up the quaint and scenic coble stone pathway, I like to make a point of going at a pace that is little more compatible to my lung’s ability to process oxygen. These days it’s a little more challenging than it was twenty years ago. So here I am enjoying a wonderful picturesque stroll up a steep cobbled stone path overseeing Prague which leads to the castle and the cathedral. I was ascending at a very comfortable pace, when suddenly a loud stampede of herding tourist appeared very quickly from behind me with loud voices of meaningless chatter which threatened my very leisurely stroll up the hill. In order for me not to be completely trampled and elbowed by these frenzied out of control tourist (each vying frantically with each other for strategic spots at the best vistas to take a pictures), it had reluctantly forced me to pick up the pace, something my lungs and I were not looking forward to. As I scurried to the top, not to be overtaken by the mob behind me, I realized that I was hyperventilating, sweating, and increasingly losing steam so that when I did make it to the top, I ran towards the castle’s wall, and draped myself over the cool brick surface pretending to be enjoying the view of the city below, while all the while I was using the wall and every bit of strength I had just to stay in an upright position. Next time I do this walk it will be early in the morning before all the bus loads of tourist take over this place.
So, it now being the last night in Prague, Jeremy was dead set on getting his pig’s knuckle dinner. The name alone was enough to set me off, but he was told by his friends that this was to die for. We found this cozy outdoor patio in an old secluded square away from the busy section of old town (remember, no more indoor eating for us, unless we want to come home with a bad bout of emphysema). We decided not to take a jacket as the temperature all day was quite warm and although it had cooled down a little, the night temperature wasn’t that bad. Not taking my coat was a mistake as the temperature later that night started to drop and it did start getting a little more uncomfortable in just a t shirt and shorts. They had blankets on the chairs for the patrons, but I looked around and saw only women using them and none of the men. Well as most of you know me, I wasn’t going to be the only man to put a blanket around my shoulders so I instead tucked it away and put it on my lap instead so that it wasn’t very noticeable. I was a little embarrassed that I was the only guy using one.
So we finally got to order our food and it took forever to come to our table. I know in Europe, dining is a long experience with intimate conversations which is great, however, I just wasn’t expecting our meal to come to our table well over an hour. After 15 years of being with Jeremy, there is very little to be said that can’t been said in 15 minutes, let alone an hour. Jeremy’s pig knuckle was a huge barbaric portion of meat with a bone hanging 1/3 over the edge of the plate, which reminded me of the TV series on the History Channel called Vikings. Let’s just suffice it to say that this certainly wasn’t fine dining.
As Jeremy began to dissect this heap of meat, he first had to cut into the darkened thick crisp swine skin, which immediately caused a clear gelatinous liquid to appear which flowed like lava onto his plate. At this point, my gag reflex started to activate almost immediately. Like a true barbarian himself, he started stripping away the layers of fat to get to the meaty part of his knuckles. Combining the meat with an overly abundant amount of fat onto his fork, it entered his mouth and disappeared down his gullet. At this point I began to lose my appetite and looked the other way as he continued to cut away at his knuckes.
I had ordered Czech goulash which is chunks of beef in thick gravy that was served in a large bread bowl. It was tasty but I didn’t care too much for the meat as it still had tough fascia intertwined within the meat itself. These bands of fascia are like chewy elastic bands that don’t give the meat a homogenous texture. I ended up giving it to Jeremy as he is definitely known for not being as fussy when it comes to food.
Well, that’s it for now. Off to Vienna tomorrow. Will write more when I can.