The only problem with interailing is that with it effectively being one city break after another, it can be fairly full on. Today we decided to take a rest from the usual tromping around the city and chill in the park. I thought today would be an ideal opportunity to give my new Panama hat an outing. I always had a hankering for one since Peter Davidson adopted it as part of his Dr Who costume (I haven’t seen the new Dr Who yet. Does Capaldi have a hat? No? Thought not). So I graced the streets of Prague this morning with my hat, shades, Birkenstocks, tailored shorts and summer shirt looking like the man from Mantarray (which effectively, I am).
Stromovka park is 160 acres and is next to the Technical museum which is housed in one of the exhibition halls left over from the 1891 Great Exhibition. (Think the NEC, but gilted with gold). The tram stop was the same as the one we used for the ice hockey game, so that was easy enough. When we got off the tram we noticed that there was something happening in the plaza of the museum and so walked in. We then realised that we has unwittingly walked into…Burgerfest.!
Imagine over 50 stalls selling burgers and beer. Yep. It was like heaven on earth. With it being lunch time (we are getting out later and later as the holiday progresses) we thought it would be rude not to partake. After much looking around, assessing burger to bun ratios, cost and length of queues we plumped for “Kaiser Franz”.
We actually queued for half an hour, but boy was it worth it. As well as Burgers and Beers there was a covers band called “Replay” who seemed to have a reasonable repetoire of AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Bon Jovi hits (but no Europe. “The Final Countdown” denied as they would say in Wayne’s Word. Google it kids). As I looked around I noticed a lot of black. Black T shirts, black baseball caps, black teeth. My lovely panama was a touch out of place here. I became conscious that my “Man from Delmonte” look may not be fitting in well here. So we ate up and made tracks into the park.
After a while roaming around the park we stopped at a cafe. It was called The Havana Daiquiri Bar and the music they were playing was by a band called “Lost Fingers”. They were doing swing versions of 80’s hits. To save you time Googling them I have found the link for them on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0IN7sewfA8 Now go listen to them. I’ll wait.
Ok, so you know they are good now. We noticed that some of the clientele were dressed in 1950’s style dresses (mainly the women). There was also a little stage area. Karen looked at the programme of events and deduced that “Swingovy Piknik” was a “Swing Picnic” (she’s a natural at languages that girl).
Karen is a big fan of swing. When she was having singing lessons her tutor told her that she had a natural voice to sing swing. She can swing any tune. She has a habit of singing in the kitchen and not realising that she is doing it. Seriously, I have heard her swing hymns in the past. She can also jive. When we go out dancing (which lets be honest is once a year at a Christmas do and any weddings we get invited to) Karen jives. It’s all in the hips. I on the other hand dance like Andy Bell from Erasure (you’d better google that as well). A sort of stompy style. My problem is that in my mind I can dance. It’s just in my body I can’t.
Anyway, we stayed to see what happened. We witnessed some fabulous, elegant dancing and some great music. I was quite surprised that every single one of the dancers was in their 20’s or early 30’s. Perhaps Swing is having a renaissance in the Czech Republic (or perhaps they never got it first time around due to their communist leaders). It really made us want to have a go, but luckily my body managed to restrain my mind and convinced it that no one wants to see a fat middle aged man stomping around to ‘aint misbehavin like a petulant toddler.
It did seriously make me consider taking up lessons though. A few years ago we tried Salsa, the dance, not the dip. I preferred the dip. We could never really get it all together. The instructor was a short rotund man who was remarkably light on his feet considering he couldn’t see them. When Karen danced with him, she was fine. His partner was a tall girl in her 20’s who had a strange aroma of garlic about her. Again, when I danced with her, I was fine. Me and Karen together. Nada. Didn’t happen. But Jiving looked fun to me. Perhaps we’ll put it on the “To do” list when we get home.
The best thing about it though was the hats. There were at least 3 other panamas there. In fact people came and spoke to us because of my hat. We have been invited to a dance competition in November…and no has even seen us dance! We obviously just look like we fit in with these people.
Burgerfest certainly satisfied my stomach, but the Swing Picnic satisfied my soul. And may hat was happier there as well.
I’m afraid I have made a boo boo on todays cake. I bought a chocolate cake called “Bolzano” but googling it it would appear that it is of Italian origin and should be made with apple. No idea what happened there, so no recipe I’m afraid.