Last day in Prague
Breakfast and coffee began at Kofama Cafe. A local cafe with amazing music. I wish I could just find them on a music app and play what they are playing. I love how you order and they bring you your yogurt and coffee on a slate tray. Extremely civilized.
We knew that we had to be at the at the Trade Fair Palace ( part of the National Gallery ) at 230 so we hit up a few places before hand. Deelive is a design store only carrying local artists. The ceramics were incredible. Obviously picked up a few items to have sent back home.
Daniel Pitin, who also shows at Hunt Kastner, had a show at the Rudolinum Gallery. He is an exceptional painter. The paintings are connected to two films in the show around the illusion of reality. One of the videos centered on Jimmy Stewart in Hitchcocks The Read Window. Stewart looks out at all of these different characters who are part of Pitin’s paintings. It is mesmerizing. The Gallery is old with large rooms made to show art. It is also part of the Czech Philharmonic built in 1885.
From there we walked down to the Old Town Square. Popped into a church.
Then we saw a mob standing in front of the clock tower in the old square. We figured out that it had to do with the 12 chimes at noon. Wasn’t sure why all the excitement so we looked it up. It is an astronomical clock dating back to 1410 making it the third oldest astronomical clock in the world and the only one still operating.
Lunch was at Maso. I read about this butcher that makes awesome hamburgers. They actually own a variety of restaurants around the city. This place is awesome. You order what you want, grab a seat if you can, it is a small spot.
There is one beer on tap on the wall next to the water.
Might be one of the best cheeseburgers we have ever had. Don’t eat burgers often and when I do, I want a really good one. Juicy, perfectly cooked, delicious meat with a light blue cheese melted into the crunchy relish. Wow!
We took the above ground rail over to the Karlin area where lots of new things are cropping up. The restaurant Eska has a bakery and a cafe. Had a few treats and charged our phones!
The open kitchen there is beautiful.
We walked over to Veletrzni Palace, the Trade Fair Palace, of the National Gallery and met Adam Budak, who is the Chief Curator. He is an incredible man whose knowledge is vast. His desire is to make Prague into one of the leading European art institutions. Based on what he has achieved in the last 5 years, I am quite sure he will get there. Out of the exhibits there that only fill maybe 30% of the museum, they own 95% of the works.
The building is tremendous. Finished in 1929. A beautiful modern building with large sweeping halls. This smaller hall has a huge atrium from the bottom to the top that makes you think of the Guggenheim. In 1796, two gentlemen, one an intellect and the other a successful businessman, decided that it was imperative that the every day person was connected to art. They created an alliance of people in the art world who collected and knew artists to bring work to the museum. Hence that is why this museum owns 25 Picassos. The building was used for the city for a variety of things since 1929. At one point it was a department store. There was a fire that lasted 5 days in 1974 and it took 20 years to rebuild. Then in 1995 the state made this building part of the National Gallery of Arts.
The larger hall can be seen from the floors above it as well but there is no atrium. Budak’s budget is tight but he has opened up a section dedicated to video art in an area that was not even being used before.
He has also created some huge shows and the one coming up is new work from Anselm Kiefer. Upstairs is a permanent installation tracing artists for decades.
It was such a treat walking with Budak through the building and having him describe each exhibit and the history behind them. Even the Asian section where they own a vast collection.
The current exhibit of Giacometti is spectacular. I particularly loved the paintings. This is a portrait of him done by his father.
This might have been my favorite piece in the show. Just simple.
We met a friend who we met through the tech world at Parlour, a bit of an underground cocktail bar. The bartender was set on making us “our” drink and how we liked it. Not having a martini for the past two weeks, I could not have been happier. Each of the glasses that the drinks are served in are part of the past. My glass is from the 1920’s.
We cancelled our dinner reservations and instead went to Kantyna, part of the Maso lunch spot we went to. Another brilliant concept. There is a butcher and an area that is a bit like a cafeteria with already made food that you can get. When you walk in, try and grab a seat because it gets crowded. The bone marrow is your number so they know where to find you when the food is ready.
You get a ticket is marked at the locations you get food or drink. This is the cafeteria part.
I went to the butcher and ordered a rib eye, salad and a potato pancake. Think Katz’s meets Peter Luger.
Got a tartare from the cafeteria section. Had to.
This is definitely a meat and potato place. The salad was meh but the latke was incredible. Super crispy on the outside and softer in the middle. The steak, well, not shocking but cooked to perfection. Two beers for Fred and two glasses of wine for me. It was perfect. Seriously communal too.
We loved it.
What a trip. A wrap up on that coming soon…