Showing posts with label Karlstejn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Karlstejn. Show all posts

Monday, May 25, 2009

Track Trip to Karlstejn

So after our cozy little group had our wonderful brunch at Jana and David's, it was time to catch a train for our afternoon field trip. Off to Karlstejn! Karlstejn is one of the easiest day trips from Prague; it's a vista so sacred to Czechs it's enshrined in a mural in the National Museum along with three of their other fabulous castles. My Czech friend Jana said when she was in America, the three views of the Czech Republic she had in her head when she thought of home were the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, and Karlstejn. It's easy to see why.

Taking a train rather than a car
allowed us to pay attention
to children, our friends, and the view
rather than the road.
Food for thought.
The train hugged the Berounka River
all the way to the castle.
A gorgeous trip.
We're here!
One last look at the river
before we head up through the village
to the castle.
It's all uphill from here,
but you wouldn't know it
from how much fun we were having.
David said this wooden structure overhanging
the side of the castle
served as a handy WC.
The last push to the top!
A family portrait of our hosts:
David, their daughter, and Jana
Looking from the castle downwards:
this was part of the village road
we just climbed up
The well at the top of Karlstejn.
It was impressive not only for how deep
they chose to dig
but also how steep a roof they chose
to shingle.
The drop down for the roofer
to the mountain below
would probably cause death.
Karlstejn, in all it's glory.

Click on my title if you want to read about the gory and disgusting "biological warfare" that took place here. It's very easy to imagine a movie featuring this story - and even easier to imagine the Monty Python actors giving it their special treatment.

You might also enjoy:

My First Taste of Czech Village Life

A Day at the National Museum

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Day at the National Museum

An iconic symbol of the Czech Republic -
the National Museum on Wenceslas Square

St. Wenceslas stands guard out front
of the National Museum on his horse

Inside, the interiors are so beautiful
it instantly creates daydreaming.
I'm surprised Hollywood
hasn't discovered this building.
These stairs demand gala ball gowns!

Czech pride isn't usually displayed
with the same nationalistic fervor
as American pride -
but here we find an exception.

And why not, it's the National Museum!

My friend Sher shows off the mezzanine.
She had been here once before.

Her then fiance, now husband, Jirick,
had brought her here a classical concert.
Listeners are given red velvet cushions to sit
on the stairs to enjoy a chamber music quartet
set up on the mezzanine.

The very day we were there,
the Museum would be showcasing a
performance of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons"
later in the evening.

Four famous Czech castles
are featured in beautiful murals.

The most famous of these castles is


Sher specifically wanted to see the exhibit
on pre-Czech tribal peoples.
I'm glad we had English-language audioguides,
otherwise I wouldn't have known what I was looking at.
It was interesting to know that multitudes of people
have been moving through these lands for centuries.

The permanent exhibits
at the Museum are all science
(without entertainment added
like more up-to-date museums).
They were created when science was
supposed to be enough!

The most sacred space in the Museum
for Czechs is called the Pantheon.

What a room of indescribable beauty!

Again, it demanded top hats and tails,

ball gowns and baubles.

I don't think it's used that way though.

It's where Czech heros and heads of state
lie in state.

Out the balcony
was Wenceslas Square -
where Czechs assembled
when they were overthrowing their government.

We giggled as we imagined ourselves flinging open
the windows and 'addressing the Czechs.'
Unfortunately, no words of wisdom
that would live on videotape
for generations
came to mind.
I'm sure my new President will do better
when he comes to speak next month!

The Czech National symbol is the lion.

I love superb craftsmanship.
Look at the detail on these hand-carved doors.
Note that the bottom door says 1885.
It's partner door had a date a couple years later.

The marble floor of the Pantheon.
No pictures do this room justice.

An architectural model of the museum dome.
Can you believe it?
We spent six hours here that day.

We saw two temporary exhibits as well.
One was on the First Republic,
a short twenty-year period of democracy
that occurred here in the early 20th century.
The second exhibit was photos
of the Warsaw Pact Invasion and
Occupation during the Prague Spring.
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