Hrusice: Josef Lada

Hrusice, CZKarin and I were past due for another jaunt into the countryside outside of Prague.  We chose a small village that most Czechs know well, even if they have never been there, because its idealized scenery was featured by the artist and author Josef Lada.

Lada was a prolific artist who wrote and illustrated a great many children’s books, the most famous featuring Mikeš, the Josef Lada village mapitinerant and talking cat.  However, he is best known internationally for his illustrations of Jaroslav Hašek’s, The Good Soldier Švejk.  Copies of these cartoons are seen constantly in Prague, especially in restaurants catering to tourists.

To reach Hrusice takes some planning.  It is less than 20 miles from Prague but can only be reached easily by the motorway.  By public transport it takes an elaborate combination of modes of transport or, as we did it, by walking about one mile from the nearest train station.

Once here you are up front and personal with Lada and his art, especially the church on the hill that shows in many of his country scenes. Though it does take imagination to Lada church on the hillsee the village as it was in his time and mind.

 

 

Lada Museum and Memorial, HrusiceThe museum is on a small scale and is very well done. It brings the man, his art and his milieu to life. We stocked up on several items at the museum store at low country prices.
We enjoyed browsing the village streets admiring the well maintained residences.  Our lunch at the local hospoda was a poor experience but you may want to chance it because it is the only choice in the village.
An example of art versus reality:
Lada birthplace location

2015 Location

Lada birthplace cottage

as painted

actual Lada birthplace

old photo

My favorite Lada:  Pig Slaughter

Prague: Urban Garden Centre

garden centre in central Prague

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

Prague: The Festival Life

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.

Vuk Rsumovic & Denis Muric

Q and A with Director and young star of “No One’s Child” from Serbia. Photo from Febiofest

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.

Seafood Festival Jiriho z Podebrad, Prague

Seafood Festival: Food booths are narrow band to right.

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   :-)

Other festival posts:  Pig and Mausopust in Prague    —      Burger Fest

Castles and Chateaux

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 (link down in June 2015).  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.

model of castle at Cesky Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov

Well cover from Jindrichuv Hradec

Well cover from Jindrichuv Hradec

armoured knight and horse

Czech Crown Replica

Czech Crown Replica

Wenceslas Reliquary Bust

Wenceslas Reliquary Bust

Czech Renaissance Dining

Renaissance Dining

Inlaid cabinet

Inlaid cabinet

Inlaid Detail

Inlaid Detail

Westphalia Peace Pen

Westphalia Pen

Westphalia Peace

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