Momoichi Japanese Coffeeteria/Restaurant, Vinohrady, Prague, Czech Republic

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Momoichi opened in Vinohrady mid-2016. They actually call themselves a ‘Coffeetearia’ and I’m not sure if that is a deliberate misspelling in line with the trendy theme or simply a mistake.

I’d pretty much ignored Momoichi until they announced they would be running a special dim sum day on Saturday 13th January 2018. We booked for 7pm.

Once inside, the place has a modern, stark, cool theme – it isn’t cosy. The friendly waitresses all wear black t-shirts with fun slogans such as ‘smile for me’ and ‘ask for a hug’. Trendy lounge music was playing. The place was busy and attracted a young eclectic crowd:

The waitress poured us two glasses of water. These were topped up during our meal, although I noticed other tables had a carafe. The dim sum menu looked good:

We went for two dim sum sets. The sake was pretty expensive and I’m not that big a fan of sake anyway. We took a look at the standard menu that also listed some wines. The choice of wines was really limited and the prices completely ridiculous: 1dl of Austrian Frankovka was 85Kč – so a large glass of what is already an over-priced wine in the shops (maybe 280Kč a bottle) was 170Kč.

The dim sum was excellent:

It was so good that we ordered a third plate to share. I couldn’t face another glass of the world’s most expensive Frankovka and went for a Gin OMG & Bohemsca tonic 135 Kč. The waitress returned to say that they’d ran out of that gin and only had the more expensive Gin OMFG & Bohemsca tonic limited edition 165 Kč – I accepted that, but really I think they should have just provided the more expensive version at the same price.

The standard menu had some interesting items on it, but was almost impossible to read with the font size 5pt or less.

I realise that this a place for young people, but I coincidentally had an eye test at the optician a few days before and was told I had perfect vision without need for glasses – luckily the Momoichi menu wasn’t part of my eye test as otherwise I’d be walking around like Harry Potter now!

An electronic Japanese toilet is installed in both mens’ and ladies’ washrooms:

I didn’t try this version, but my previous experiences in Japan have mostly resulted in a disconcertingly warm seat and water spraying upwards – don’t press the buttons while looking at the pan!

We asked for the bill and were told to pay at the counter. I suppose that’s fine for a coffee shop – less so for a restaurant. And that leads to the question – is this a restearant (sic.) or a coffeetearia (sic.)?

The food was good, but I don’t think I will be back because of the wine choices and prices. If you decide to visit – take a magnifying glass!

Momoichi Coffeetearia
Římská 1199/1199/35,
120 00 Praha 2-Vinohrady

http://www.momoichi.cz/en/

OPENING HOURS

Monday – Friday: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

E-mail: lukas.kubin@momoichi.czPhone: +420 721 364 002

The Best of 2017

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Thanks for being part of BugAdvisor.com – here are my favourites from 2017:

January:
The New York Bar from Lost in Translation, Park Hyatt, Tokyo, Japan

February:
Bugs of Peru

March:
The toboggan ride in Funchal, Madeira

April:
The Prisoner Convention at Portmerion Village, Wales

May:
Events in Prague, Czech Republic to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Operation Anthropoid

June:
Beauty Contest in Czech Nuclear Power Station causes sexism row

July:
The Borrowdale Hotel, Borrowdale, Cumbria, England

August:
Papilonia Butterfly House, Prague, Czech Republic

September:
Pasta & Vino Restaurant, Salzburg, Austria

October:
Sightseeing in Nuremberg – The Rally Grounds and Documentation Centre

R2-D2 appears on top of a nuclear bunker in Prague, Czech Republic

Mail Rail at the London Postal Museum, London, England

November:
Nervous Trees and where to find them

December:
Santa vs. the Mazací tramvaj (Grease Tram) in Prague, Czech Republic

I’d also like to thank my guest reviewer for these excellent restaurant reviews in August:

Upstairs at No 1 Cromer Restaurant, Norfolk, England

The Grove Restaurant, Cromer, Norfolk, England

The Gunton Arms Restaurant, Norfolk, England

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018!

Museum of Senses, Prague, Czech Republic

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The Museum of Senses opened recently on Jindřišská street, just a short walk from Václavské náměstí (Wenceslas Square) in Prague. The closest tram stop is Jindřišská (Trams 3, 5, 6, 9, 14 and 24 stop there).

The entrance is via the archway, first door is the gift shop and exit.

Entrance for adults is 290 Kč, which is a little expensive, but I’m guessing they are paying quite a lot to rent in such a central location.

There are lockers available, where you can leave coats and bags.

Your journey begins through a small mirror maze – that leads to a room where you can create a multi-coloured shadow on the wall:

The floor of the next room has a photograph taken from the top of a high-rise building. The idea is that you can take a picture that looks like you’re walking a high wire above the buildings. We found it difficult to get a good photo of this and I needed to Photoshop at home to get this image.

Next is a wall of convex Einstein faces. Apparently your mind can trick you that these are concave rather than convex – but they looked convex to us. You’re then in a central room, surrounded by various other rooms and artifacts designed to trick or awaken your senses. There’s also a play area where you can try various puzzles.

A bed of nails, where you can lay down, press a button and nails rise up to form the mattress:

A room where the design makes one person small, the other big:

A ‘head on a plate’ illusion:

A tiny disco, made bigger using mirrors:

An upside down room:

When I first took the picture above, I wasn’t that impressed, until I realised the trick was to rotate the photo 180 degrees.

A bridge runs through a vortex, which spins and makes you feel like the static bridge is rotating – be careful if you suffer from motion sickness. I tried to take a picture but could hardly stand up there.

There’s also another room designed to confuse your senses – I felt queasy as soon as I walked in there.

A large kaleidoscope tube creates some interesting effects:

The staff are really friendly and keen to demonstrate how things work – they will also take pictures for you.

The toilets continue the theme – this is the washbasin:

We enjoyed our visit which lasted about 1.5 hours. You could stay longer if you wanted to complete all the play area puzzles and really focus on the wall pictures depicting various classic optical illusions.

If I could add anything, it would be the installation of cameras in the best positions to capture the illusions, including rotating the upside-down room picture. Maybe a hand-held clicker so you could pose and shoot. Then a console where you could email the pictures to yourself. But that would require some investment in technology to identify each group and present the photo set at a console.

MUZEUM SMYSLŮ
Jindřišská 939/20
110 00 Praha 1-Nové Město
T: 00420 608213749

Adults: 290 Kč
Children (between 5 and 15 years): 170 Kč
Children until 5 years: Free admission
Family: 690 Kč*
* Includes 2 adults with maximum 2 children age 5-15

Monday – Friday
10:00 – 22:00
Saturday – Sunday
09:00 – 22:00

http://muzeumsmyslu.cz/en/

info.cz@museumofsenses.com

Santa vs. the Mazací tramvaj (Grease Tram) in Prague, Czech Republic

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In January 2015, a special tram was launched in Prague. Red/Orange in colour with an ‘M’ on the front and the rear of the tram cut off – like a pick up truck. The tram’s purpose – to grease the tram lines. It is called Mazací tramvaj – there is only one. The grease tram is a 25-year old type-T3 tram no. 5572 that was previously used as a snow plough and hauling tram. Operation starts daily around five in the morning and ends late in the evening when it returns to the Pankrác depot. Each day the tram covers more than 200 kilometres.

In 2016, the tram was refitted with a large new canister fitted to the rear. The tram also has a webcam on the back that streams a live video while it drives around Prague. You can watch the tram’s progress via this site (sadly has a small advert(s) before the live webcam). This webcam was used to taunt me, by a friend who knew I watched the tram’s progress at lunchtimes:

This year, he decided to ride his Harley Davidson around Prague, dressed as Santa Claus, trying to follow the grease tram’s path – while I provided directions and watched the streaming video.

I’ve lost count of the times where the tram has passed by me – I always wave. But as always, if you look for something you can never find it. So it was with the grease tram. It has a timetable, but on Friday 22nd December it looked like the timetable had been thrown away and the tram was on a random joyride around Prague.

I could see the tram heading up the hill at Nuselské schody toward IP Pavlova in Prague 2. Santa was not far away in Náměstí Bratří Synků. However, regular traffic isn’t allowed on the tram lines at IP Pavlova, so he headed to Karlovo náměstí to catch the tram there. Santa missed it.

The tram continued to Lazarská, Václavské náměstí and Bílá labuť – just as Santa was about to appear, the tram went into a hidden siding and had a rest.

The chase continued through Žižkov, Flora, Strašnice, Zelené Město (where it had another rest in a hidden siding) until finally I was able to screen capture Santa behind the tram.

Apparently there were plenty of people taking pictures, not knowing Santa’s true purpose that day.

The Prague Transport Authority website http://www.dpp.cz/sledujte-putovani-mazaci-tramvaje-prazskymi-ulicemi/

There is a Mazací tram Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/mazacitramvaj?fref=ts.

Midtown Grill Restaurant, Christmas Brunch, Prague, Czech Republic

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The Midtown Grill is part of the Prague Marriott Hotel. The Marriott is opposite the Hilton on V Celnici street in central Prague. It’s been several years since we had brunch at the Marriott – that experience wasn’t bad, but was nowhere near as good as the Zinc Restaurant brunch in the Hilton. Both run an all-you-eat Sunday brunch with unlimited wine, beer, soft drinks and hot beverages.

A combination of the Hilton being full on Sunday 17th and that we will be at the Hilton brunch soon, meant that we booked the Marriott. It was much better than last time. Here is the entrance to the hotel:

The lobby had a large gingerbread house:

On our last visit, all the tables were in the main restaurant. This time the restaurant had been extended to include tables and some food options in the bar area:

One thing the Marriott does better than the Hilton is large round tables. The Hilton restaurant is not set up for large groups and you end up in on a long table, often broken into 3s and 4s, which makes seating and conversations difficult.

Doors opened just after noon (Hilton is 12:30) and we were ushered to our large (for 8) people in the main restaurant. There isn’t a cloakroom as in the Hilton, but there were plenty of coat stands. The waiter was quick to pour us prosecco and they also had non-alcoholic sparkling wine which the Hilton doesn’t offer. Bottles of still and sparking water were already on our table.

The main buffet was still in a small bleak room and there were only a couple of hot dishes available, plus the carvery – something we didn’t like on our previous visit:

There were plenty of prawns and some oysters – but not half lobsters that grace the Hilton buffet.

In the bar/lobby area was a sushi bar:

There was also a pancake station and a large selection of puddings – being seasoned buffet visitors, we snagged the crème brûlées in advance as they are always the first to go. There wasn’t any traditional English Christmas pudding – that reminded me to ask the Hilton if they could put this on their menu and they said yes!

There was live music, but only in the bar area – so if you would like music, ask for a bar area table.

Santa visited tables, engaging both the adults and children:

All children were given a pack of sweets:

The carvery meat was still hot when I finally visited around 2pm:

I’ve mentioned several times to the Hilton that their carvery meat goes cold, but it’s the same each year – this year they advised that the chef will make different arrangements.

The wine flowed freely. The food was all delicious. Everyone enjoyed their visit.

The price 1390Kč per person (I think children are 590Kč).

This was a much better brunch than our previous visit. I wonder if this was just a Christmas thing and that the standard brunch doesn’t extend into the bar. That would be a pity if all food was forced into the small buffet area.

We’ll be visiting the Hilton for brunch soon and I’ll review that, then create a comparison chart.

Midtown Grill Restaurant
Marriott Hotel
V Celnici 8
Praha 1, 110 00
Czech Republic

https://www.midtowngrill.cz/nedln-brunch-1

Underground Prague, Bunkr Parukářka, Prague, Czech Republic

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‘Illuminate the Underground’ or ‘The Day Underground’ ran for the second year in Prague on November 25th and 26th 2017. On these dates, numerous hidden underground locations opened to visitors for free.

Tickets went really quickly but we managed to get them for four locations:

It was already dark when we arrived at Parukářka Park, Žižkov – luckily we found an open gate with some people waiting in a courtyard. Well courtyard is actually too posh a name for this run-down, graffiti-covered, space. The exterior door to the bunker was open:

But the interior door was locked:

We signed another disclaimer. We still had our badges from the sewer tour.

A previous tour exited and we were guided down a large winding staircase:

At the bottom of the staircase were the corridors of the bunker. It felt claustrophobic and smaller than the nuclear bunker in Folimanka. Our guide was pretty entertaining (in Czech) and nothing like the serious guides whom we’d met on the previous three underground tours.

The other difference between this bunker and Folimanka was that rooms were staged like a museum/exhibition:

At the end of the tour we had to climb the staircase back up to the entrance – there’s a lot of steps.

It was interesting, but I prefer the place just left deserted, where you can explore empty corridors by yourself. The Folimanka Bunker is open, one Saturday each month and you can just turn up and wander around. I think that is much better.

But if you want to see this bunker, check the http://nadenpodzem.cz/ website early November next year for tickets. Or you can try and contact the bunker direct here: http://www.bunkr-bezovka.cz/museum-home-page-cz

Underground Prague, A storm sewer under Stromovka, Prague, Czech Republic

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‘Illuminate the Underground’ or ‘The Day Underground’ ran for the second year in Prague on November 25th and 26th 2017. On these dates, numerous hidden underground locations opened to visitors for free.

Tickets went really quickly but we managed to get them for four locations:

The storm sewer under Stromovka was quite hard to find, even with the map on the underground website. We took the metro to Hradčanská and walked for maybe 15 minutes until we arrived at an entrance gate to Stromovka.

Again, some young fresh-faced Czechs with clipboards were we signed another disclaimer. We still had our badges from the previous day.

 

We followed our guide into the park and along a path to an entrance.

There was a 20-minute speech (in Czech) outside the entrance. Apparently the sewer system was designed by English civil engineer William Heerlein Lindley.

We were then allowed inside:

The steps lead to a balcony overlooking a river of sewage – it was pretty smelly:

Sometimes the river rises up to the top of the railings – so don’t hold on to them.

I was a little disappointed that there weren’t more tunnels to explore, but equally relived to get out to the fresh air.

I’m not sure if this sewer was worth a visit as it’s just a small tunnel and also smelly. But if you are into sewer systems, check the http://nadenpodzem.cz/ website early November next year for tickets.

Underground Prague, Crypt of the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius, Prague, Czech Republic

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‘Illuminate the Underground’ or ‘The Day Underground’ ran for the second year in Prague on November 25th and 26th 2017. On these dates, numerous hidden underground locations opened to visitors for free.

Tickets went really quickly but we managed to get them for four locations:

The Church of St. Cyril and Methodius is near Karlova náměstí – we took the 22 tram from the Hellichova tram stop where we had just visited the Church of Our Lady of Victory and St. Antonín Paduánský.

This church is where the Czech paratroopers hid after the assassination of SS-Obergruppenführer and General der Polizei Reinhard Heydrich. I previously wrote about the 75th Anniversary event in May this year.

Again, there were some young fresh-faced Czechs with clipboards.

Our names were on the list and we both had to sign a disclaimer. Everyone was given a small badge featuring a set of ladders against a black background – we already had ours from the previous tour.

We soon realised that the entire place is open to the public and as we were early we went inside.

The first room was a small museum with various war memorabilia:

The entrance to the crypt was a large triangular metal door. That meant the entrance looked like a dark triangle:

The door opened into the crypt:

The crypt was quite small, but there were busts of the Czech paratroopers, their story and where they died. Sadly they all died either, in the crypt or in the Church above.

The door back to the museum was harder to open. We went back as it was time for our tour.

We were lead into a room off the museum and shown a film depicting the events of Operation Anthropoid, the Nazis revenge on the Czech people and finally the Nazi attack on the church – all was in Czech, but I knew the story already.

We were then taken back into the crypt, where our guide proceeded to re-tell the story again (in Czech). I appreciate the time that these people give for free, but this was too long and I wish we’d left after the movie.

The crypt is certainly worth a visit – and no need to wait until next year’s Underground Prague.

The Church of St. Cyril and Methodius
Resslova 9a, 120 00 Nové Město

Phone: 224 920 686

Crypt and Museum Open 9am to 5pm daily.

http://www.prague.eu/en/object/places/442/cathedral-church-of-sts-cyril-and-methodius-katedralni-chram-sv-cyrila-a-metodeje

 

 

Underground Prague, Crypt of the Church of Our Lady of Victory and St. Antonín Paduánský, Prague, Czech Republic

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‘Illuminate the Underground’ or ‘The Day Underground’ ran for the second year in Prague on November 25th and 26th 2017. On these dates, numerous hidden underground locations opened to visitors for free.

Tickets went really quickly but we managed to get them for four locations:

The Church of Our Lady of Victory and St. Antonín Paduánský is in Malá Strana – we took a 22 tram to Hellichova tram stop.

There were a few people waiting outside the church and there were some young fresh-faced Czechs with clipboards. Everyone in the group was younger than me – reflecting the online method of publicising the event and booking tickets.

Our names were on the list and we both had to sign a disclaimer. Everyone was given a small badge featuring a set of ladders against a black background.

Disappointingly we were told that photography wasn’t allowed in the crypt.

We followed our guide through to the rear of the church and then passed through a room where they work on gilding the statues. I sneaked a picture as this wasn’t the crypt.

 We then went down a series of steep steps into the crypt. There wasn’t any strict control as to who followed the guide and I’m sure the single middle-aged lady in our group was just a random tourist who just wandered along with the group.

There was quite a long speech about the crypt and history in Czech.

We were then led through several rooms, one containing mummified remains of former monks.

I wish I could have taken pictures. Here’s one from the Underground Prague website:

It was a pretty interesting visit and good to be able to see somewhere not usually accessible to the public.

Back in the main church, I spotted a monk and asked if I could take his picture.

He was very friendly and said he liked English people – I’m guessing he doesn’t visit some of the Irish bars during the stag weekend season!

Even if you can’t access the crypt, the church is still worth a visit, not least to see this artefact:

 

Karmelitská 9, 118 00 Praha 1, Czechia

Phone: +420 257 533 646

https://www.pragjesu.cz/en/

IHG Snow Globe Christmas Competition

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10th December 2017 update: So far the items that have appeared as prizes have been pretty rubbish – there have been many days when I didn’t even bother to enter. So don’t be too disappointed if you shake the globe and find you’re offered something completely useless.

Intercontinental/Holiday Inn have a daily competition until December 25th 2017. The promotion is open to all legal residents in the European Union aged 18 years and over, excluding residents of Italy, Turkey, Russia and Poland.

To enter, you visit this site: http://adventcalendar.ihgrewardsclub.com/

You click ‘SHAKE’ and prizes start falling down the globe. You’ll also see that day’s date is among the falling items – click on that to discover the prize draw you can enter. If you don’t click on the date, you can always shake again.

Today, 3rd December 2017, the prize draw was for a Clinique Sonic Cleansing Brush & Sonic Soap Set.

Answer is 61000 Points but was easy to find on the redemption catalogue https://www.globalcatalogue.ihg.com/IHGCcsp?uXWKl8bWg6E=

If you’re a member of IHG Rewards Club, you are given an extra entry. It’s free to sign up for that. After you submit the form, you can gain extra entries by sharing on social media.

Good luck!