31.12.2015 / 01.01.2016 THE NEW YEAR’S EVE IN PRAGE

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WE GOT UP LATE, AT ABOUT 10 AM AFTER A BAD, UNCOMFORTABLE NIGHT, PROBABLY BECAUSE WE SQUEEZED OURSELVES IN ONE SMALL BED, INSTEAD OF TO LYING IN SEPARATE BEDS. WE BOTH ALSO HAD DIFFICULTIES IN FALLING ASLEEP, WHICH DOES NOT USUALLY HAPPEN. ANYWAY, AFTER BREAKFAST, RESTED JUST ENOUGH (AS FAR AS REFRESHED) WE WENT SIGHTSEEING.

UNFORTUNATELY THE TWO MOST INTERESTING BUILDINGS, A MUSEUM AND A CHURCH WITH A STEEPLE WERE SHUT. AT TOURIST INFORMATION WE WERE TOLD THE CASTLE WAS OPENED TODAY AND TOMORROW, BUT THE UNDERGROUND CHAMBERS ONLY TODAY. SO WE WENT TO CHECK THE CASTLE, BECAUSE A HUGE NUMBER OF TOURISTS  COMES FROM PRAGUE TO VISIT MIELNIK, AND THERE COULD BE PROBLEM WITH GETTING IN. THE PLACE IS IN A PRIVATE OWN AND VERY WIDELY PROMOTED.

FORTUNATELY THE TWO OF US DID NOT QUALIFY AS A GROUP, SO WE MANAGED TO GET IN AFTER ONLY A 10 MINUTE WAIT WITH TICKETS FOR SENIORS. WE DID NOT TAKE A GUIDE, WHICH MADE THE WHOLE VISIT MUCH EASIER AS WE DID NOT HAVE TO ADJUST TO HIS SPEED AND THE TOURING WENT AS WE LIKED IT. THE SURPRISE FOR ME WAS THAT I COULD TAKE PHOTOS WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS, EVEN THOUGH A HAVE SPOTTED “NO PHOTOS” SIGN BY THE TICKET BOOTH.

ANOTHER, RARELY SEEN IN MUSEUMS FACT WAS THE COMPLETE LACK OF HARASSMENT OF THE VISITORS BY MUSEUMS STAFF.

IT TOOK US ABOUT 90 MINUTES TO SEE IT ALL, EXCEPT OF THE WINE CELLARS AND BAKERY FAMOUS FOR ITS FABULOUS TORTES. INSTEAD WE POPPED IN A RESTAURANT FOR A QUICK MULLED WINE, AS IT GOT A BIT FROSTY OUTSIDE. SOON AFTER DOWNING WE RAN BACK TO THE INFORMATION DESK TO SEE SOME INTERESTING UNDERGROUND CHAMBERS, LOCATED UNDER THE CENTRE AND A VERY OLD WATER WELL, WHICH SUPPLIED THE WHOLE VILLAGE WITH WATER NOT SO LONG AGO. THAT PART OF SIGHTSEEING TOOK US AT THE MOST 30 MINUTES.

FULL OF THE NEW ACQUIRED KNOWLEDGE, WE HOPPED IN OUR CAR AND WENT SHOPPING FOR SOME FOOD FOR OUR NEW YEAR BREAKFAST, BECAUSE WE WERE TOLD THAT ALL SHOPS AND EATING PLACES WHITHER ARE FEEDING REASONABLY WHERE CLOSED ON THE NEW YEAR DAY UNTIL LATE AFTERNOON.

RETURNING TO THE INN, WE STARTED PREPARATIONS FOR THE BALL. AT 17:55, MAYBE A BIT TOO LATE, WE SET OFF. THE GPS INDICATED THAT WE NEED 45 MINUTES TO DO 38KM. I WAS A BIT FRIGHTENED WITH THAT PROSPECT, ESPECIALLY AS I HAD NO IDEA ABOUT PARKING THERE, BUT TRAFFIC WAS LIGHT AND WE GOT THERE 15 MINUTES BEFORE THE GATES OPENED.

MY SUSPICIONS CAME TRUE – THE PARKING LOT BY THE OPERA HOUSE WAS FULL AND WE WOULD HAVE TO WAIT WHO KNOWS HOW LONG, UNTIL A SPOT BECAME VACANT. FORTUNATELY I FOUND A FREE SPOT FOR OUR CAR ON A WIDE FOOTPATH, EVEN THOUGH WE HAD NO IDEA IF WE WOULD NOT PAY A PARKING FINE. I PARKED – WHAT THE HECK!

THIS TRIP WAS NOT OUR LUCKIEST ONE. CONSIDERING THE NEED TO DEFEAT THE EXTRA 320 KM AND BREAKING THE SCREEN OF THE CELL PHONE A FEW HOURS EARLIER, I ASSUMED THAT THE LIMIT OF OUR BAD LUCK WAS REACHED AND I WAS RIGHT (SO FAR) …

WE WENT IN …

THE EVENT STARTED WITH A GLASS OF PROSECCO MIOL EXTRA DRY AND AN ENTRÉE – THREE COLD ITEMS ON A PLATE (SEE THE MENU). AFTER THAT THERE WAS A WHOLE LOT OF VARIOUS COLD AND HOT NIBBLES DELIVERED ON PLATES. WE MISSED THE FIRST TWO: SUSHI AND OYSTERS; SERVED SOMETHING NICE FOR EVERYONE. PARMA HAM, BEEF LOIN, SCOTTISH SMOKED SALMON, SELECTION OF CHEESES, FRENCH DUCK PÂTÉ, SEAFOOD, SAUSAGES, SALADS, MARINATED GRILLED VEGIES, SMALL PIECES OF CHICKEN IN SEVERAL VARIATIONS, FRESH EXOTIC FRUIT AND OTHER  DELICIOUS FOOD. THERE WAS A RIVER OF VARIOUS TYPES ALCOHOL, HOWEVER WE PREFERD THE EARLIER MENTIONED PROSECCO AND PINOT GRIRIO 2014 (TERRE DI RAI, ITALY). I HAVE ALSO TRIED “GRZANIEC” (MULLED WINE) AND RED WINE, BUT THEN RETURNED TO THE ITALIAN PINOT.

AFTER ABOUT AN HOUR OF SATISFYING MY FOOD DESIRES, THE FIRST ACT OF “DIE FLEDERMAUS” BEGAN. THIS WAS THE LONGEST ACT, WHICH ALLOWED THE VERY INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC DIGEST THEIR FIRST MEAL AND GET READY FOR THE NEXT COURSE… PRAGUE OPERA HOUSE BUILDING IS PERFECT FOR THIS TYPE OF EVENTS, WELL ORGANISED AND PROVIDING A GREAT SERVICE, WHICH RESULTED IN A VERY CONTENT AND HAPPY CLIENTELE. I GUESS, IT IS NOT EASY TO SATISFY AN OVER THOUSAND STRONG GROUP OF PEOPLE.

THE THIRD, FINAL ACT INCLUDED BEAUTIFULLY FITTED IN OPERA ARIAS FROM OTHER PLAYS. AFTER THAT GOBLETS OF CHAMPAGNE WERE PROVIDED FOR THE PUBLIC AND THE ACTORS ALSO RAISED THE GLASSES WITH A WISH OF GOOD HEALTH FOR THE NEW YEAR FOR THE HUGE AUDIENCE …

DANCE ON THE STAGE AFTER THE SHOW FOLLOWED

DANCE ON THE STAGE AFTER THE SHOW FOLLOWED

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WE WENT DOWNSTAIRS, ON THE WAY PICKED A FEW NIBBLES OFF THE TABLES FULL OF CULINARY GOODNESS PREPARED FOR US DURING THE LAST ACT, THEN WITH FULL GLASSES ENTERED THE STAGE, WHICH WAS IN MEAN TIME “MAGICALLY” CHANGED ONTO A DANCE FLOOR WITH A SPACE FOR A TEN PIECE ORCHESTRA.

DANCES-CLAMBAKES ALREADY STARTED; WE JOINED IN HAVING A GOOD TIME IN THE COMPANY OF PEOPLE FROM MANY COUNTRIES TILL JUST AFTER 2 AM. AFTER THE FAREWELL DRINK (MY DRIVER HAS NOT HAVE A DRINK SINCE 9PM) WE JUMPED INTO THE CAR AND DROVE OFF …

WE CAN RECOMMEND THE NEW YEAR EVE IN THE PRAGUE OPERA HOUSE TO ANYONE, NO PROBLEM. FOOD AND DRINKS ARE SERVED ALL THE TIME IN HUGE QUANTITIES, OPERETTA WITH ADDITIONAL OPERA ITEMS – FANTASTIC, SERVICE – PERFECT. THE WHOLE MENU WITHOUT ANY FAULTS.

WOMBAT QUICKLY MADE THE 38 KM ROAD, NOW SLIGHTLY COVERED WITH SNOW, BACK TO MIELNIK, HOPING TO CATCH UP WITH THE BALL AT OUR INN.

SHE WAS NOT WRONG, ALTHOUGH THE GUESTS ALREADY LEFT AND THE STAFF NEARLY FINISH CLEANING UP, THE OWNER HAPPILY SERVED US SOME PROSECCO AND JAGERMEISTER. WOMBAT SWALLOWED A FEW TOASTS. SHE QUICKLY RAISED UP HER ALCOHOL LEVEL FROM THE NEW YEARS EVE LACK OF DRINKS BEFORE THE BEDTIME. THERE

WAS NO QUESTION OF PAYING . . .

HAVING CLIMBED UP INTO OUR LITTLE ROOM WE FELL DOWN BY 5 AM INTO THE ARMS OF HYPNOS …

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