See a Castle, Give a Concert and Catch a Symphony

Trip Start Mar 12, 2010
Trip End Mar 21, 2010

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wednesday March 17th,    Prague

The Prague Castle is said to be the biggest in area in the world. It goes back to the year 870 and, like most of these European landmarks, has been burned down or blown up and rebuilt several times over the centuries. It is certainly an imposing sight as it stretches out over half a mile, high upon the bank of the Vltava River.

The palace is currently the headquarters of the Governing body of the Republic and its walls enclose four different churches, four different palaces, half a dozen towers and several gardens, including a producing vineyard. It could be an all day adventure except that it is often, as was the case for us, overrun with several thousand school children whose noise and jostling soon grow wearying. We went through the St. Vitus Cathedral (925 ad) and it was very big.

Our tour took us down from the Castle and across the Charles Bridge to the Old Square. There we tried to squeeze in a bit of lunch with ruinous results yet again arising from restraints of time and language. We had a date to keep in the form of a formal concert at the famous St Nicolas Church which is located in the Square.

It was still very cold in Prague and so the Church folks had set up portable propane heaters in the Chancel to try to provide some warmth for the choir. To little avail, alas, because the church was so enormous that any heat produced simply wafted its way to the vaulted ceiling where, perhaps, it warmed the toes of any angels that were flitting about up there. Meanwhile it was mildly hilarious to watch as the choristers who wore glasses tried to sing and read their music while their own warm breath was putting a foggy patina on their cold lenses. Once again, however, they acquitted themselves admirably and were given a warm reception by the one-hundred or so souls who had stopped by to listen.

For dinner that evening we were taken to the Beer Hall U Fleku which is both a restaurant and microbrewery. Waiters circulated with great flagons of beer and an oom-pah band tootled away in the corner. Not a minute to lose, though, because many of us had tickets for the Prague Symphony that evening and we were soon scurrying through the streets of the city to catch the Beethoven and Mahler show. Beethoven was fine but Mahler went on a bit.
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