Plzen - A day at the Museum.

Trip Start May 10, 2013
Trip End Jun 08, 2013

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Plzen (or Pilsen) is a city we had been anticipating visiting for some time.  It is sandwiched on our itinerary between four and three days in Prague.  It would be our last destination outside of Prague,  the place Pilsener beer was made, and also the home to Standa - one of the GSE team members that came to the USA in April.  What we didn’t know was that it would soon became one of our most favored destinations.

In a prior blog -”Viktoria” - specifics about our arrival in Plzen are mentioned - in another  - "..the rain" is information about other aspects of our stay.   I’m going to introduce you to one of our hosts, Ing. arch. Jan Soukup. We first met Jan at the Religious Art Museum - Pilsen Diocese.  He was going to be our guide for a tour of the Museum.   Jan was the architect for the conversion from monastery to a museum and had spent nearly twenty years working on it.  Jan was from Plzen and has an architectural practice of about 15 people.  He does about 70% of his work in restoration projects.  I spent about an hour and a half at his office and saw some of his work.  The detail and technical ability of his staff in both 3D graphic and printed form was quite remarkable.  Most of the historic work is without prior documentation.  This requires extensive field research and on site investigation.   In this business, as in the states, work is generally bid from these documents so the accuracy of the information described is very critical.  Keep in mind that they are trying to create bid documents on structures which are 300 - 400 years old.  

Back to the Museum.  Jan began the tour with our group -  He added insight in a friendly, comfortable manner.  He described the items - their historic importance and even the reasons they were on display.   His knowledge was great but his demeanor humble.  As we continued on the Museum tour more and more people tagged along with our group because he was obviously more informed then anyone in the historic nature of the artifacts.  When the patrons knew he was leading the tour  - they gathered.

As we thought the visit was coming to a close Jan had a few words with the fellow at the front desk and proceeded to take the special key which would open other doors into the facility.  Little did we know he had a few special rooms for us to see.  One was the “black kitchen”.  So named because it was covered in soot from cooking over the hot flames in the room. 

We were grateful for his time and expertise but even more impressed with his kind demeanor and easy smile.  He was a gracious and accomplished man and one of the many fine rotarians that we can be happy to know during this GSE.


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