Five In One Day

Yesterday we felt like tourists with limited time to see so many sites before moving on again.  Over the past few weeks we have been frustrated because there have been several events and concerts we missed due to not knowing about them in time to get tickets.  So we have been busy researching upcoming possibilities.  Suddenly an available concert popped up on a day we already had other plans so . . .

We set out for a light lunch at Galerie Le Court.  Karin had gone here last week with a friend and wanted to show it to me.  Very cosy atmosphere in both courtyard and inner room; very interesting art on display–erotic nature perhaps more suitable for evening then noon; good food and deserts; but poor service due to only one person doing everything for too many customers.courtyard cafe pragueGalerie Le Court, Prague

 

 

Then on to exhibition due to end this month called Faces of Courageous.  It is first time display of newly discovered photographs of WW II parachutists who assassinated Nazi leader, Reinhard Heydrich, and other sabotage behind enemy lines. This was a major local event in WWII which we have followed.  I assume some of these photos will go on permanent display at their museum on the subject in the crypt of Ss. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral (which is Orthodox by the way).

This exhibition was in a wing of the Prague Castle that we had never been in before and the entrance was off a part of the gardens we had not seen before.

Rampart Gardens at Prague Castle

We got back home about 5 P.M. for a rest and early dinner before walking to the Baptist Church on Vinohradska that we had walked by a gazillion times but never been in before. The facade looks like an apartment house with a decorated door; which it is. The actual church is situated in the interior courtyard of the block.  A pleasant setting for a wonderful string orchestra concert that cost only $5 admission for the two of us. The music and the price must have appealed to pensioners; there was nearly a full house of several hundred people and, not counting the orchestra, maybe 10 people under 60 years old.

Beer Geek, PragueFor the fifth event of the day we stopped nearby for a drink at the newly opened Beer Geek pub.  We and maybe two others were the only patrons over 30 in the mostly full, modern space with flat screen menu of 30 beers on tap.  I had one that I thought tasted like barbecue and heard described as bacon tasting.  Karin had an Indian Pale Ale and decided she should stick to lagers.  I look forward to trying their array of stouts.  This too was in a spot we had never been in.  When we lived in the same block the space was occupied by an all night bar.  At the time I was amazed that we shared the same courtyard but never heard any late night noise.

So the moral of this story is whether you come to Prague for a day or for a year, it is easy to keep busy.

Photos by Karin except for last from Beer Geek Facebook

Karlstejn Castle: Medieval Protection

Prague owes so much to the strength and wealth of Charles IV, King of Bohemia, that we forget he ruled through-out central Europe for many years as Holy Roman Emperor.  He built Karlstejn (Karlstein) to protect both the crown jewels of the empire and his collection of holy relics.  This castle, only 30 km from Prague, managed to survive the many wars since and has had three major reconstructions.  So it is in remarkable good shape and well tells the story of Charles the Fourth.

No one tells the story of our visit better than star photo-journalist, Karin.  Click below to see her Picasa Album.

Karlstejn Castle

Living on a Golf Course

Golf Swing technique mini-golf

Note the swing technique and leery bystanders.

Whew, I’m tired.  I just finished an 18 hole round of golf.  Being mini-golf it did not involve much walking but it did take me a lot of strokes.  The course rules are only in Czech so Karin and I made up our own as we went along.  We each maxed out one hole at 12 strokes yet we also had a few pars at 2 strokes.  We did not score the 18th hole because the players behind us were waiting.

Golf Grip choke

A choke grip for finesse’

Karin is very familiar with the last hole because every missed shot makes a distinctive thonk! sound.  Her desk sits in front of a window that she usually keeps open so her afternoon is frequently punctuated with thonks!  So there are pros and cons to living in an apartment over-looking a mini-golf course.

18th Hole Prague

Infamous 18th Hole

When construction was first started last autumn we worried about noise but that proved groundless.  Other denizens of the park make far more noise through the night and early morning.  We did enjoy watching the step by step progress as the course took shape through the winter.  It was completed while we were away this summer.

Karin at the golf course Prague

Our apt. building in the background matches the course color scheme.

The green fees are 140 Kc ($7) for adults and reduced fees for seniors, children and families.  Each hole has a shelf for resting your sustaining refreshment as you battle your way through the many tricky shots.

As a footnote for real golfers:  Prague and the Czech Republic have many fine golf courses with relatively low-cost green fees and un-crowded conditions.

Nelahozeves

We have a long list of towns, villages, castles and other sites within a few hours of Prague that we want to visit on day trips.  Last week we traveled to the one that has been on the list the longest, Nelahozeves.

Ever since our emotional first visit to the Lobkowicz Palace at Prague Castle we have wanted to see and learn more about this family and its tremendous collections of art and history.  This day was our chance.

Nelahozeves Zamek StationThe one hour rail journey from city center was very slow.  It was a commuter train; stopping at every village.  However, they were pretty riverside villages and the views across the river were nice.  As soon as we got off the train we had our first view of the palace.

The exterior is obviously in need of restoration but I can not imagine where the money would come from to do the work.  This country is just too full of worthy Nelahozeves Courtyardbuildings going to ruin.  The interior was a different story.  While not brought back to its former glory the sense of grandeur is well conveyed, especially by the countless family portraits lining all the stairways and halls.

The permanent exhibition is titled:  Private Spaces: A Noble Family at Home.  It illustrates the life of prosperous nobility in the 19th century.  The rooms are not exact recreations but meant as typical of the time.  The furnishings and decorations are exquisite; something awe-inspiring in room after room–including this painting by Rubens.Rubens at Nelahozeves

Photographs are not allowed inside but you can see some on the Nelahozeves website.

 

The print below is for sale in the gift shop and photos are allowed there.

 


Print from Zamek Nelahozeves

We had a one hour tour in English by a personable and competent guide named Lucie.  (Non-Czech tours have to be scheduled in advance.)  We felt we truly experienced the life of a 19th century noble family and left with an appreciation of the difficulty a 21st century noble family has in preserving the treasures of their history.

Nelahozeves MarinaIt was such a beautiful day that we wanted to eat lunch by the river.  We followed signs to the Marina and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the atmosphere and the food.

The only negative to the day was the lethargic train ride home brought on by having a beer with lunch.

Cheers

P.S.  The composer Antonin Dvorak was born in a house just below the palace.  There is a small museum there.  Update:  After writing this I discovered today was his birthday.  Here’s a belated toast to his great music.

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