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Saturday 3 September 2011

Prague Castle: High Vantage Point

At the eastern end of Prague Castle; just before the descend to the Palace Gardens Beneath Prague Castle, is a courtyard that offers spectacular view of Prague on the eastern bank of Vltava River.

Some parts of the west bank can be seen from here as well. For instance, the St. Nicholas Church at Malá Strana.

The eastern part of Charles Bridge can be viewed from this vantage point as well. However, a powerful telephoto lens is required if you want to see more details of the bridge.

Although the view of the western part of the bridge is blocked by other buildings, the bridge tower can still be seen.

Another landmark on the east bank is the Church of Our Lady before Týn with her distinguished two towers. The top part of the Powder Tower can also be seen from here.

Just by the shore of the east bank is another landmark, the Prague National Theatre with its glimmering rooftop.

Wednesday 31 August 2011

Who Ate the Emperor's Duck?

Yesterday was the first day of Hari Raya Aidil Fitri and we decided to pay a visit to our muslim auntie on the other side of Sarawak River. We were lost at the first attempt, and we were trapped in a traffic jam when we were on the right route. It was way past lunch time and we decided to turn around and head back to the city to look for food.

I have heard heaps of good comments about the dim sum at Imperial Duck, so I decided to bring my parents there for our Hari Raya lunch, since we missed the curry for the Hari Raya visit.

When we were at a place named after the duck, how could we leave without tasting the duck? So, the Imperial Duck Roasted Duck (港式明炉烧鸭) came on our table. The roasted duck was juicy and full of fragrance, one of the best in town!

Imperial Duck Roasted Duck (港式明炉烧鸭, RM12.00)

I have also heard that the Cha Seow (蜜汁叉烧) here is nice, so I tried. It was a disappointment as the meat was a bit tougher than a good cha seow should be.

Cha Seow (蜜汁叉烧, RM12.00)

For the dim sum part, the Har Kao (水晶虾饺王) was nice. The fragrance of the shrimps were well retained inside the thin and soft skin.

Har Kao (水晶虾饺王, RM4.50)

The Steamed Crab Meat Dumpling (蟹皇蒸烧卖) was a tad too salty to our taste, but still acceptable. The meat was quite soft and chewy.

Steamed Crab Meat Dumpling (蟹皇蒸烧卖, RM3.80)

When it comes to the Shanghai Style Pan Fried Dumpling (上海生煎包), it has to be the best in Kuching. Although not up to the authentic quality of the one I had in Shanghai, I would consider that as almost 80% there.

Shanghai Style Pan Fried Dumpling (上海生煎包, RM4.50)

For the oven-baked items, the Baked Pineapple Bun with Cha Seow (叉烧菠萝餐包) and the Baked Cha-Seow Puff (蜜汁叉烧酥) were very nice. These two items are highly recommended. For your information, pineapple bun doesn't have pineapple in it. The name was derived from the outlook.

Baked Pineapple Bun with Cha Seow (叉烧菠萝餐包, RM3.60)

Baked Cha-Seow Puff (蜜汁叉烧酥, RM3.60)

The Yam Puff (五香炸芋角) wasn't that appetising due to the oily smell and it was cold too. I think they should use fresher oil for their deep-fried items.

Yam Puff (五香炸芋角, RM3.60)

The total damage was RM70.10 for three of us with three glasses of Kedondong Juice (人面果汁) to wash down all the food, plus a takeaway of an order of Shanghai Style Pan Fried Dumpling (上海生煎包). Overall, it was a satisfying meal.

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Prague Castle: Golden Lane

There is a very picturesque street along the northern wall of Prague Castle called the Golden Lane. The cottages along this cobbled-stone street were built for the sharpshooters of the castle guard.

These tiny cottages were later taken over by goldsmiths.

Years later, they were occupied by squatters.

And then some artists moved in, including the celebrated writer Franz Kafka who stayed with his sister at No. 22 from 1916 to 1917.

These cottages are now converted into souvenir shops and museum. Some of the displays resemble a pottery workshop, a chemistry lab or just a simple bedroom.

The upper floor is a long corridor with display of ancient armoury and there is a section where a visitor can play archery.

A toilet that was used by the sharpshooters is open to the public but for your eyes only. Do not try to use it!

Seeing this armoury raised this question in my mind: "Was Magneto a Czech warrior?"

There are many armoury on display but I only took photos of those which I think is interesting. Some of them must have belonged to kings and parrot wannabe.

This helmet cum face guard can be a good emoticon for grumpy face.

There are some heavy weapons on display at one end of Golden Lane. I have a heart for the catapult, as I like to play Angry Birds.

At the other end of the Golden Lane, there is something lighter. A type of Czech traditional pastry called Trdelník was made on the spot and the products were for sale.

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