Last week Karin returned from a garden centre full of ideas for our apartment planting boxes. She was impressed with how large and organised the place was while I was amazed at her photos of the huge selection within the urban setting. It does have a restaurant and quality gift shop so surely rates as a tourist destination. More at Zahradnictví Chládek
Hmm, how shall I focus this post? Too busy doing to write(used too many times, I think); never-ending story of things to do; local festivals are great for understanding culture; or the big picture of why we became expats and global nomads–to experience the foreign, not just observe it as tourists. They all apply this past week and into next week.
This is our second year for the big film festival Febiofest which also includes music and dancing. There are so many offerings it is a bit of a chore to sift through the program and pick a few films or events to go to. We chose an Irish, a Serbian, an Australian and one from the U.K. The latter being The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. This was to be the highlight for us as we enjoyed the first so much. So imagine our incredulity when we got to the theater to find it had been cancelled–no explanation given. I am quite irritated at the organizers for no notice and absolutely no apology or even acknowledgement in any of the festival announcements afterwards. Maybe I can get revenge by boycotting their sponsors.
But moving on, the next morning we went to a soup festival on the river front in Smichov called “Polívkování” or “Souping”. It was a chance to try soups and other delicacies from a slew of international cuisines. Our favorite was called chicken puffs from the Thailand association, obviously home-made. We ate light and stayed away from fish or seafood choices because we were also planning on attending a Seafood Festival in our local Jiriho z Podebrad square that evening.
We purposely went early for soup, about 11 A.M., to beat the crowds but the narrow space between the double row of food booths was jam-packed, not only making it difficult to move but worse making it difficult to see the food being sold and to get into the correct queue to buy something. Our only consolation was that as we left we noted there was now a several minute wait to even get in. One day I will find a Czech event organizer to ask about why nearly all such festivals are arranged this same way. Are they taxed by width or is there some kind of psychology that makes people buy more when they have to fight to get to it? It works the opposite for me.
I dwell on this because our dinner plans were ruined for the same reason. On the way home from coffee and dessert after the soup and chicken puffs we could see the seafood festival occupying two narrow lanes of our big square. There were very long cues everywhere. So we thought what time is likely to be less crowded and guessed at 5 P.M.. We were wrong; it was worse then. So next we wondered who is willing to endure these slow-moving lines for some delicious looking and reasonably priced seafood. Everyone appeared to be in their twenties and holding a beverage; many were chatting with those around them. We don’t fit that profile so we moved on to hamburgers, fries and Pilsner at our local pub.
So now I am spending a quiet Sunday at home writing this and looking forward to a busy week coming up due to an American Army convoy passing through the country; stopping frequently to party along the way and, of course, visit many WW II memorials for ceremonies. Oh yes, we can’t forget this is Easter week as well; this year including our wedding anniversary and Karin’s birthday. No more blog posts for a while
In early December we saw the ad for this Prague Castle exhibition: “This spectacular exhibition is the first time that the most valuable treasures from the Czech castles and country houses have been gathered in one place and at one time.” We were sold, yet with one thing and another we did not make it there until this week.
Don’t you procrastinate! This exhibit ends 15 March; it would be a shame to miss it. However the Prague Castle Riding School, a magnificent building in its own right, does have regular, high quality shows. So if you are coming to Prague later check out both the Prague Castle site and the National Heritage Institute site. Actually you need to be on constant watch for posters because there is no one place for all cultural events.
Since this exhibition was drawn from all regions of the Czech Republic it had more than the usual amount of variety. Below is small sample of items that were of particular interest to me. All photos by Karin–click to enlarge.
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.
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.
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.
For 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