Friday, June 08, 2007
Prague Spring Fever
Karlův most - the Charles Bridge
[I'm posting today's events now rather than those for Germany, but won't go into the czechnical details now.)
We didn't leave the apartment until late in the morning, partly due to wanting to get some clothes washing out to dry, and partly because I didn't know where the nearest metro station or ATM (for ticket money) might be. In the end I decided to just drive into the city centre and save Bondi from a bit of unnecessary walking in the heat. I'd learnt earlier that cool underground car-parks were a godsend on such days when I needed to leave Bondi for a short period.
Bondi has had enough
I found such a place pretty quickly, and only a few minutes walk from the 650yr old Charles Bridge, which connects the Old Town with Prague Castle. It's absolutely overflowing with tourists and street artists so we didn't stay long. I was feeling the heat as much as Bondi, but he was well provided for with bowls of water magically appearing for him wherever we went.
New fans in Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square)
Prague is overrun with tourists in a similar degree as Venice and Florence, but I was able to get a good sit-down lunch for a ridiculously low price with good service. Yay!
Husova; Astronomical Clock; roach motel
Late afternoon on the Vltava; Charles Bridge tower
Wenceslas: statue and square
I had a little hunt for some CDs of music by the very prolific but low-profile Czech composer, Zdenek Lukáš, who I had discovered about 25yrs ago when I accidentally recorded his Bagatelles for Orchestra off the radio. It took almost 20yrs to locate that LP (from a Canadian warehouse) and it's only in the last 2 years that I've found any CDs of works from his extensive oeuvre. He's most well-known for his choral works and some Czech recordings pair his masses with those of Dvorak and other much better known composers. Today I found 3 choral discs and an unrelated disc of Piano Trios by Smetana, Suk and Novak.
I was hoping to find some nice illustrated English language editions of Czech writer Karel Capek, who I've mentioned before, but there were just the usual US paperbacks. I did find a rather appealing little volume of mixed art, prose and poetry by Ladislav Novak: The Transformations of Mr. Hadliz. The artwork is created from "froissage", a watercolor setting of the pictures extracted from the fold lines of crumpled paper.
African coffee minky at Ebel Coffee House
A special highlight of my visit to Prague was finally meeting an 'old friend' for the first time. DJ and I have been communicating by email off and on for at least 8 years after I contacted him through his site of piano transcriptions and MIDI files. His incredible facility for notating recorded music has brought me great pleasure over the years, as I've played pieces otherwise unavailable in manuscript form. Catching him between some work engagements, we were able to trade some of our enthusiasms for particular composers and performers in "real time" for the first time.
'Fred and Ginger' - the Dancing House