Monday, March 28, 2011

LIBEN - The town where time stood still



This week we are in Liben and you might be wondering about the strange subtitle and be slightly curious as to what the hell does he mean. Well, when I first came to Prague I was interested in anything which helped me to understand the country and the people, especially as I was training to be an English teacher so for the sake of productive lessons of English without the odd faux pas or 2 I asked lots of questions in my classess and read any books and watched any movies from the CZ and the first book that I read was The town were time stood still which was also turned into a film, which I also watched and like most people thought that the book was far superior. Imagine to my surprise wandering around Liben when we discovered the house were Hrabal used to live ( see photo below ) at and also in the area is the hospital that he died at, apparently he fell from a 5th floor window, sad really. If you haven't read any of his books then I recommend the subtitled title so to speak or When I served the King of England.

In the 19th century before Liben became a part of Prague it was well known as an area for young or old lovers to go to or even young potential soon to fall in love couples as well. It was a very beautiful area and still today there are glimpses of its former glory though in the part of Liben that we ventured around it was not possible to see any evidence of this except for a small area down by the river where there is the art studio of Jan Nemecek who is the son of the more famous Zdenek Nemecek who was famous for his sports sculptures some of which are on display in the gardens of the studio and also further down in the blog as well.

At the end of the 19th century the area along the river became more industrialised and it started to lose some of his mystique and sadly nowadays the area is run down and in need of some re investment.The demise of this area can be put down to one or two factors, the changing times and years of socialist influence and  the floods of 2002, which also took their toll and there are still visible signs on some of the buildings, showing the high points that the river had risen to, though I  understand from unnamed sources that it is the topic of many a discussion concerning Future prime residential and commercial projects along the river and even being compared to the development of the London dock area of canary Wharf, so let's be patient and watch this space.

Review no. 1

Pizzeria Pod Kominem

This place is on my way to work and every time that I see it I say to myself that I have to go and give it a try and finally thanks to this little pet project of mine, I did. The place is what it says. A pizzeria under an old chimney, which in its heyday produced linens but now has had a revival and is the place where we will have our lunch. When we arrived, we had 2 choices to make, smoking downstairs or non smoking upstairs and giving this choice to my daughter, was a pretty easy decision, not that she had realised about the smoking and non smoking option.

My daughter had the Spaghetti Bolognaise and not the kiddies portion but the full size adults portion and it was a pretty generous portion and even more surprising was the fact that she licked the bowl clean and that is pretty special. If you could see how much stress I receive just trying to get her to eat a small plate of my home-made spag bog and I can cook, really I can. My SVG had a Tiramisu and again it was a nice sized portion and home-made so a brownie point for that. The service was friendly and the experience was made more memorable by the fresh octopus sprawled out in a fish tank on a bed of ice, didn't see that on the menu, though I doubt that I would have had the appetite for a whole octopus and I was saving myself for the Thai surprise later on.


                                    www.pizzapodkominem.cz


Review no. 2

As I mentioned in R1 we are at a Japanese/Thai restaurant called Big Thai Oishi, which apparently means yummy in Japanese. Could be a nice tattoo, don't you think?
I went for the Spicy Thai curry with prawns and coconut of course and it has a 3 chilli rating, so very hot, though not hot enough for me, and my SVG had her usual full Thai breakfast, in Thai it is called pad thai tofu. Again the food was nice and good value for money, on one table we noticed the young couple having a large heaped plate of sugar snap peas. What is all that about!! The service was very nice, well it has to be, when there are 2 little monkeys running around playing games with all the decorations and there were a lot of things to spark their curiosity. After 20 mins of asking them to stop I just gave up.

                                   www.bigthaioishi.cz

Other places of interest

Restaurants

Curry House                               Pizzeria Masarycka
www.curryhouse.cz                     www.masarycka.com

Pizzeria and children's corner

Bars

The smallest bar in Europe                         El Corazon
ul. Kotlaska                                               ul. Novakovych 19


Bar Na Mesici                             Wine bar
Nam. Holeho 7                           ul. Na hrazi


Shops

Seeds                                                       Philatelist's
ul. Novakovych                                       ul. Vacinova

Other

Hrabal's house                                        Zdenek Nemecek's sculpture

Sports centre                               Fishing association office
www.scpalmovka.cz                    www.rybsvaz.cz