Palace and Peasant

Trip Start Mar 15, 2012
Trip End Apr 11, 2012

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Tuesday, April 10, 2012

   After Monday's tour of the city, we were on our own. We wandered around the town Monday morning, returning to to the square with the astronomical clock near the hotel by taxi with another couple, then walking back. It was a leisurely stroll and we stopped to look at the many interesting buildings and shops we saw along the way.
   For lunch, we chose an excursion to the Lobkowicz Palace for a visit of the museum, a fine meal and a concert in one of the many reception rooms.  Lobkowicz Palace was built during the mid-16th century. It was seized by the Communist regime from the Lobkowicz family in 1952, the palace was returned to the family in 2003. The tour is given by an audio device that you wear around your neck and "tune in" to various items by dialing in the number of the item. The recording is very friendly and conversational, with family members telling anecdotes about different things mixed in between the history and the genealogy, the culture and the politics. The palace houses a permanent exhibition called The Princely Collections. We saw paintings by Velasquez, Rubens and Canaletto, among many others. Beautiful musical instruments and manuscripts (including period manuscripts and prints of works by Handel, Haydn and Beethoven, some with notes by Mozart in the margins), spectacular firearms and armor, and "rare examples of the decorative arts from over six hundred years of family collecting and patronage of fine arts." This museum was awesome!  After the tour, we went into a dining room and ate like princes, received a souvenir book with more information about the collections, and then we were escorted into a ballroom where we listened to a short concert. 
  After soaking up the grandeur of the palace, we spent  Tuesday evening at a meal served family-style, held in a barn built to re-create the look and feel of the country-side of the Czech Republic,  The Folklore Garden. We sat at long tables and passed food around to our fellow travelers. The music was lively, with lots of polkas mixed in. Dancers dressed in traditional costumes, and changed them several times to represent different regions. Guests were invited to join in a couple of dances and we all had a wonderful time. The oddest instrument was the cimbalom, played with little hammers that hopped and flew over the strings.
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