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Sunday, August 1, 2010


When the weather is as hot as it’s been lately, I prefer to shelter in the comparative cool of my apartment and sit out the heatwave with TV, iced drinks and plentiful cold showers. This is how I am able to maintain a constant pasty white complexion (some might say “porcelain”) all year round, even after long holidays in hot climes, during which I stick stubbornly to the shade unless absolutely physically necessary. How I ever survived a sweltering equatorial childhood is, in retrospect, an absolute mystery to me...

Mr K, however, is a notorious sun-worshipper, and so on hot summer weekends insists on dragging me out to “enjoy” the - for me best left avoided - sunny weather.

Luckily in this we have found a compromise in the Florentina, one of the many boats that line the Vltava, in this case moored for most months of the year just beneath Čechův most.

Why, you may ask, would a long-standing Prague resident deign to frequent such a blatantly touristy haunt, when under any normal circumstances they would avoid such establishments like the plague?

Well, the answer is simple, namely – shade and sun-loungers.

The great thing about the Florentina is that it has awnings to one side of the deck, meaning that I can strategically plant myself in the shade on a sun-lounger and immerse myself in a good book, while Mr K lies to the side of me in the sun and works on his melanoma, grumbling occasionally to himself that he wants a bronzed girlfriend and why can’t I don a bikini and get myself a tan like all the Czech girls do...?

The second reason we favour the Florentina rather than, say, sitting in crowded Letna or Stromovka parks, is that here we have iced drinks conveniently on tap, and at surprisingly reasonable prices too – around 40kč for Mr K’s beer and not much more for my standard white wine. And what is more, bar the occasional German tourist or two, we tend to usually have the place all to ourselves as well.

This was my attempt at an artistic shot of said wine – it’s only now I notice that the glass was decidedly dirty. This is what comes of wearing sunglasses instead of my normal prescription specs...

Until recently, we’d never bothered eating there due to the fact that a) it’s the archetypal tourist joint, so the food is bound to be terrible and b) their daily menu is usually made up of those very foods one would want to avoid on days hot enough to want to head down there in the first place, namely beef noodles in broth or goulash and dumplings etc. I can’t help but think that they’d do better with a lighter selection of summer salads, sandwiches and such like – maybe a cold buffet or something too.

However, on our last visit there, Mr K noted that they did barbeques on request at the weekends. It was that scorchingly hot weekend a few weeks back, and after about five hours we were still sitting out the heat there when it came to dinner time. A barbeque dinner on deck was just what we needed, so – with expectations low – we for once decided to go for it.

On the menu, the barbeque was described as “a choice of steak, sausages and salad cart” for 149kč per person.

What we got was in fact a piece of chicken, one of pork, half a spicy sausage each and a salad garnish that had clearly seen better days (oxidised vegetables are never good). On the other hand, the meat itself was surprisingly tasty, and we did see it come fresh from the barbeque to our plates, which was at least a plus. I would rather have had some ketchup and at least three times the amount of mustard with it though (I am a girl who takes her condiments seriously) - the horseradish sauce alternative just didn’t do it for me.

The meat also came served with a basket of not-too-fresh brown bread.

Given that our expectations were low to start with, we couldn’t really profess disappoint here – if anything the quality of the meat was better than we’d anticipated, and at only 149kč each we couldn’t really complain.

At the very least, the view from where we were sitting was nice.

In future though, it's pretty safe to say we’ll stick to drinks only at the Florentina, and go in search of dinner elsewhere - roll on winter is all I can say... ;-))

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