Even though after the pork knuckles the night before I swore I’d never need to eat again, I was happy to take a second bowl of granola at the complimentary breakfast on our second day. Colin was even happier; he really hated those white-bread-and-bad-olives pension breakfasts in Turkey. We gathered ourselves and explored the area around the old castle. Some things were closed but we saw part of the palace, and a neat chapel with people buried in the floor and a creepy green skeleton statue. We watched japanese tourists getting their pictures taken with the stoic palace guards.
For lunch we went to a brew pub in a monestary and I had a terrific IPA. Well I think it was terrific, but to tell the truth it had been awhile and my beer tastebuds may be going. I had a reasonably light meal of crispy fried trout. In the afternoon we met up with some of Lenka’s friends at a beer garden in the park. Tonight was the night of some important Czech hockey game and the place was filling up in anticipation. You should all know how hopelessly ignorant Colin and I are of hockey events so it won’t surprise you that I don’t even know what game it was, but it was clearly important. After a few drinks, the Czech strangers at the end of our table surprised all of us by pulling out a deck of Bang cards. They needed a couple more players to have a game, so Charlie and Colin obliged. The cards were in Czech, but Charlie had most of the cards memorized by their art after two years of playing Bang at Three Rings at lunch. No kidding – what a coincidence that they’d pull out this game in front of him! I believe Charlie and one of the Czechs had a joint win.
We left just as the hockey game was about to start, and people looked about ready to fight eachother over our table which had a good view of the big screens. We had a dinner reservation at a bar that was also showing the game, so we got to watch and cheer along with everyone in the bar. We had another meal of epic proportions, starting with beef tartare served with raw egg, paprika, onion and other spices that you mix all together and spread on fried bread rubbed with raw garlic. Serious yum. Then some excellent cabbage soup, and for a main I had a very traditional Slovak dish (Lenka said Andrea would be proud!) which I thought was like a very rich mac and cheese with spicy sausage bits. I could have lived on the stuff when I was in university but was so full I could only manage about a third of it. Czech Republic won the game against Russia. We were expecting honking car horns etc (you should have seen how excited Istnabullers got over football) but the streets were silent except for the occasional yells from a bar here or there.