Profound & Pristine Prague
Trip Start Dec 03, 2011
2Trip End Dec 10, 2011
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Where I stayed
What I did
Kafka Museum, Smetany Museum, Dvorak's Rusalka at Opera House
Prague is a mesmerizing, profound and pristine city, full of cultural traditions, history and heritage. Walking along cobble-stoned streets is the best way to to discover this beautiful city and let yourself be steeped into the intricate fabric of this glamourous city life.
With the assistance of three young and bright university students I met at the airport, I was able to catch a bus and Metro to my hotel without much hassle. Rainy night in Prague winter, I strolled at Wenceslas Square, browsed books at Palac Knih (Palace of Books) and tried some Trdelnik in a fast food stand. I reached to the National Museum and unfortunately it was temporarily closed for renovation. Despite gusty wind, Christmas shoppers packed the streets busy hunting for their gifts. Tomorrow is a big step forward to Charles Bridge.
Heavy rain woke me up around 4:30 am. Adjusting to new changes. A world of mystery was to be explored...will it be like a world of Kafka's metamorphosis? Thrilling!
Prague Post December 04, 2011
Police chief arrested in suscipion of accepting a bribe.
Old town, New town, Lesser town were more of historical buildings and people's history in terms of Habsburgs era, communism, concentration camps and the Velvet Revolution. Rain or shine, it's a very heavy and moody place, thought of entering into the world of Havel's Charter 77, Kafka's dark world of castle or metamorphosis or Kundera's "Unbearable Lightness of Being", to say the least. I even brought along a Havel's book to be read in a cafe. Talking about Havel, one can't help but think of Liu Xiaobo (Charter08).
I took a no.17 bus early morning, missed my destination at Veletrzni Palac (collection of modern and contemporary art) and ended up at the final stop -- a price a stranger in a new town got to pay sometimes -- it's good to see other old shady areas of Prague besides the grand tourist attractions. Six-storey buildings of Veletrzni Palac housed lots of Czech and French art, a feast of visual arts for more than 4 hours. Then I visited Kafka Museum for two hours --creative displays of family tree, photos and artifacts like Cafe Arco buddies, descriptions of four women in relationships with Kafka at different times, first edition of his novels, as well as letters to his father, diaries, medical reports and manuscripts. Night fell early around 5 PM and Charles bridge lit up with a glittering splendour. As Kafka once said to his lover regarding his interest in Tao, "Deep down I am a Chinese, I'm going home." And so was I vice versa, and only if not lost in Prague.
Steeped in its shady past,
Still, under a Kafkaesque spell
A SHORT STORY BY Franz Kafka
You go to the city to see the law. Upon arrival outside the building, there is a guard who says "You may not pass without permission", you notice that the door is open, but it closed enough for you to not see anything (the law).
You point out that you can easily go into the building, and the guard agrees. Rather than be disagreeable, however, you decide to wait until you have permission.
You wait for many years, and when you're an old, shriveled wreck, you get yourself to ask: "During all the years I've waited here, no-one else has tried to pass in to see the law, why is this?", and the guard answers:
"It is true that no-one else has passed here, that is because this door was always meant solely for you, but now, it is closed forever".
Early getaway and caught the break of dawn across Charles bridge one morning, I was amazed to see a rainbow bridging Vltava river and the sky. Then I followed the riverfront for my serendipitious stroll in the rain-- stopped over at Kampa Museum, took a break at Simchov Mall near Andell around ten o'clock, continued my amazement at the Astronomical clock in Old Town Square, excited to see exhibitions of Mucha and Dali together.In Mucha Museum, you know what, Mucha did a series of work about Sermon on the Mount, I was thrilled to see how he approached 'peace' -- a breast-fed baby in mother's lap and a father reading a book at night -- indeed a blessed still moment of family time in peace. Exhausted myself physically and mentally, I sat on a bench and stole a nap in the gallery, dived into borrowed dreams of Dali's fantasy.
On the bank of Vltava river was the Bedriche Smetany's museum where I spent a whole morning enjoying his music, seeing a display of his personal artifacts and documents such as a piano he used, his very thin-rimmed eye-glass, his batons given as a gift by his students in Gothenburg, and even his death certificate. Smetany, father of Czech music, along with Emmy Destinn who declined Caruso's marriage proposal many times, brought to music lovers many many good pieces of works such as Libuse, The Bartered Bride, and Two Widows.These exhibits were informative, fun, and interactive--you stood on a podium raising a laser baton to "conduct" a piece of Smetany's works. It's a must-go for Smetany music lovers. Also an afternoon stroll inside Municipal House was a bliss since it was an Art Nouveau gem.
Prague Post Decmber 06, 2011
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrives in Prague at 19:00 on Wednesday and he will meet his Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus on the same day in the evening, the Presidential Office's press section said yesterday.
Prague Notebook December 08, 2011
Gonna attend a performance of Dvorak's Rusalka in the grand opera house this evening.
Prague Notebook December 09, 2011
A Jazz session of the Best of Gershwin at Municipal House.
Concert in Prague, a must-go.
A week after Prague trip:
A Sad Note:
Prague Post December 18, 2011
Vaclav Havel passed away.
Final Note: Got a chance to see Czech legendary photographer Josef Sudek: Legacy of a Deeper Vision at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto. Bravo.