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Published: February 6th 2007
February 3rd, 2007
Today Nancy took me to visit the grounds of the Brevnov monastery. The monastery was established in 993 and is the oldest monastery in Bohemia. We hoped to take a tour but we were too late. The next tour is at two in the afternoon tomorrow afternoon.
After walking around the monastery grounds, we ate our evening meal at the Klasterni Senk
, the restaurant that is located in one of the ancient monastery buildings. Nancy ate here last September during her months here alone. My friend Matthew S. brought me to the monastery last Sept one evening. We had eaten supper together and he started to tell me about his almost favorite spot in Prague. I told him I wanted to see it NOW and we hurried up the street and made a quick run through part of the terraced orchards. I was so enchanted that I went back alone the next day and wandered all over the grounds. I ate a good soup in the restaurant there and then did my long walk around. Then I ate a good Czech crepe after the walk. I was so excited to know a good place to
take Bill the next time we were here. So, we made this our first destination on our first afternoon off.
While were were ordering our meal, I asked our waitress, "How old is the restaurant?"
Smiling as she replied she said, "The restaurant is three years old. The building is one thousand years old."
Looking around it was not hard to believe that, indeed, the building is a thousand years old. The rock walls and the timbers supporting the roof all say, "I am old." A fireplace is kept going at one end of the dining room. This evening the entire center had been set up for a large extended family, there to celebrate the one of the men's 80th birthday. As I walked past the table where he sat, I could not believe the size of the wooden platter, piled high with food. The platter must have been at least two and a half feet long and a foot or more wide and it was entirely filled with various meats and just a few vegetables. No one person could possible eat that much.
We ordered our meals, Nancy a skewer with two kinds of
fish, salmon and another that the Czechs call "butter fish" these were surrounded by onions, squash and peppers. She said both were very good. I ordered a dish that consisted of minature dumplings with a few vegetables and smoked meat. It was excellent. We were most curious at the description of one of the side dishes, mashed potatoes stuffed in an onion
and so we ordered one of these. It turned out to be two onions that were filled with very small cubed potatoes and crumbled bacon and chopped onion. This was stuffed into the onion that was then baked in a hot oven. It was very good.
Just before our food was delivered, the lights suddenly went out. "No problem," I thought as there were candles on every table. Just then a waiter walked out of the kitchen carrying a large sheet cake covered with 80 lighted candles. That made a lot of candles and they threw an amazing amount of light. The white haired gentleman got up, made a short speech and proceeded to blow out the candles. It took several breaths, but then how many people can blow out eighty candles with one big puff?
Not many I believe.
February 4th, 2007
We returned to the Brenovsky Monastery today to take the weekly tour and we met the guide of all guides. I mean this fellow had memorized an encyclopedia of information on this place. In each location he did not just give a quick explanation of what we were seeing, rather he gave a detailed, centimeter by centimeter, inch by inch, tile by tile, picture by picture detailed explanation of absolutely everything in each room. This migh have been great for the two of us if it had been given in English, but everything was in Czech. My Czech is about as good as my Bulgarian or my Romanian, or my Polish, which is to say it basically does not exist. But before starting the tour he did give us a booklet that was in English, so we were not at a total loss of what we were looking at. The tour took a bit over two hours and for at least an hour an a half we were in unheated rooms. Fortunately it was merely cold and not freezing. Last year at this time the temperature hovered at -5f ... or
-20c. Today it was about 40f, so although we did become chilly we did not freeze.
- I think my surprise was a success! Bill really enjoyed the place and the meal. The church is quite lovely inside and the crypt with tombs of people buried over 1,000 years ago is impressive. I am thankful for Matt and the quick tour he gave me.
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