Another day in Prague

Trip Start Jun 01, 2013
Trip End Jun 23, 2013

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Friday, June 14, 2013

We arose at a moderate hour and had another good hotel breakfast, before going out for a bit of a wander around, to drop off some laundry, and then around to Wenceslas Square where we found a large collection of English books in one of the bookshops – almost a larger collection of books in English than one would find in a typical provincial Whitcoulls in New Zealand.

After a bit of looking around we decided that it was close enough to 10 o'clock for it to be worth going around to the Mucha Museum, which opened at 10 am. Alfons Mucha was a Czech designer and painter from the late 19th and early 20th century, who was a major driver in the development of the Art Nouveau movement. We began our visit by watching a video (in English) that recalled his life and the activities he had undertaken, and then looked at the exhibition. There were quite a few posters that he had done for plays by Sarah Bernhardt in Paris in the 1890s, book and magazine covers that he had done, examples of books that he had done the illustrations for, and one or two paintings. Mucha used a very limited colour palette, with black representing the past, blue – negative things, yellow positive things and orange the future.  We understand that the main collection of his paintings (a Czech/Slavic historical series) is out at the National Gallery at Holosevice (a northern suburb of Prague, also noted for the long distance railway station), but we got a good introduction to his work, and it was nice to be able to buy one or two mementos at the shop.

We then went back to the hotel for a brief regroup, before David met Petr Teply for a lunch meeting with Jakub Seidler (from the Czech National Bank), while Marion went off to Namesti Republiky for some shopping.

Petr is great mine of information on Prague, and he was able to tell us that the building with the red fašade that we had noted earlier in the week (see Wednesday’s blog) was in fact the headquarters of the Czech Communist Party. All our way around we kept on noticing remarkable buildings form earlier times, particularly the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the survival of which is a reflection of Prague not having been subject to significant military attack or bombardment since the Swedish army had captured the city in the 1640s.

We noticed in the streets a number of brass inscribed plaques sunk into the cobble stones.  The usually are about one person who lived in the nearby house and was taken away during World War 2 and did not survive.  This is another example of how the past continues to haunt Prague.

David met up with Marion after lunch, and we worked our way back to the hotel, to have a bit of a packing up in preparation for our departure from Prague tomorrow.

The shopping centre, Namesti Republiky has 200 shops with many being clothing shops.  The prices are lower than many areas and the quality seemed to be good. Unfortunately, as there is no one to carry our bags home for us, Marion bought a light jersey to wear in what we expect to be the cooler climate of Helsinki.

On the way back to the hotel, Marion decided she wanted an ice cream. We went up to what we thought was an ice cream stand in Wenceslas Square and found it was something quite different.  Instead we saw tiny little (pea-sized) balls and asked to taste them, Marion chose melon balls. They were green and yellow and looked like peas and corn.  The taste however was ice cream and more delicate.  Well worth a try and likely to come to NZ some time, if they haven’t already.

The evening was devoted to dinner with David’s colleague Petr and two of his students, Tereza and Tomas who are planning on starting a PhD in the near future. We had a wonderful meal at a restaurant, called U Seminaristy, that we had visited with Petr on an earlier visit.  Marion got the chance to eat rabbit (delicious) and David succumbed to duck again.   On our way to the restaurant, Petr took us to see the parody statue of a man on an upside down horse. This is one of the more serious statues of a horse In Wenceslas Square turned upside down.   We also saw a Kiwi Shop which specialises in selling items for people to take travelling. Petr said it was a good shop and one he often visited. We had a wonderful evening and a fitting end to our time in Prague.
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Stephanie on

Marion you need a porter! John is always shooting rabbits and ducks. Maybe we could start exporting.


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