Mirror Chapel Concert

Last month, we had the honor of hearing a fantastic concert in a marvelous setting - Mirror Chapel.

The Mirror Chapel, built in 1725, is part of the Prague Klementinum complex. The Klementinum, at one time a Jesuit university, was started in the 1500s. Today it is the site of the Czech National Library.

The former chapel, so named because of all the mirrors on the walls and ceiling, is now the location of nightly chamber music concerts. It has two organs - one in the chancel area and one in the balcony.

The chapel is decorated in the baroque style with frescoes adorning the ceiling panels and walls. Gold statues and ornamentation add to the beauty of the space.
The Mirror Chapel, a national historic landmark, has a claim to fame because Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played one of the organs.

The evening that we heard the concert, the chamber orchestra played Mozart's pieces "A Little Night Music", "Allelulia from Exsultate Jubilate", and "Queen of the Night&qu…

Prague's Eiffel Tower

We've seen this tower rising on a ridge south of us in Prague. It's called the Petrin Tower. After waiting for the summer crowds to depart, we finally climbed up to check it out last weekend.

Petrin Tower, often referred to as the "Little Eiffel Tower", was built when members of the Club of Czech Tourists visited Paris in the 1889 world exposition. The Eiffel Tower so inspired them, that they returned to Prague, raised money, and completed Petrin Tower in 1891. It was used as an observation and, later, a television transmission tower.

Today this is a tourist attraction to the many visitors to Prague and newcomers such as us. Most tourists access the tower by using the tram that climbs the steep hillside.

However, on our walk in the beautiful September weather, we managed to find paths that took us to the top of the ridge to see this site.

By the time we reached the top of the ridge, we were huffing and puffing. Watching the people ascending and descending the stair…

Lock Her Up

There is no doubt about the fact that our apartment is very safe from burglars. Take a look at the lock system of the outside of our door in the picture on the left. There is an upper lock and one right under the door knob.

I know that most homes have two locks like this, so you're probably thinking "What's the big deal?" But you have to remember that this is our apartment door. To get this far, a different key was needed on the outside door at the street level.

Plus, both the locks are dead bolts. In fact, in Prague it's very common that a key has to be turned two times around just to get the dead bolt to unlock, plus another turn to actually move the latch and open the door.

So, if both dead bolts are locked, two different keys have to be turned five times around in both locks to open the door. That's safe (and, at times, irritating).

You'll also notice in the picture on the right that our doorknob isn't a usual knob. It's a fixed position hand…

The Gorgeous City Lights of Prague

A couple weeks ago, we ventured out on the town after dark. The city teamed with people as much in the evening as during the day. Enjoy the view!

We walked into the square in Old Town where there is music playing almost constantly by one street vendor or another. On the evening we visited, a rock band was performing. Maybe that was the reason for the crowd.

The towers of the Tyn Church were lit up in the background. The spires, reaching up into the sky, can't be seen very well in this photo. It's been said that they inspired Walt Disney's rendition of the castle in Disney World.

Also, near Old Town Square is the astronomical clock. Every hour when it chimes, it puts on a show for all who are watching. The twelve apostles march out of one door near the top of the clock and go into the other door before the rooster chimes the hour.

This is the tower that watches over the Charles Bridge - a main attraction for tourists to Prague. This tower was built in the 14th Century by …

Potraviny - Is that Italian?

Since I've been talking about food for the past couple weeks, I thought I'd share my grocery shopping experience with you.

First of all, remember that we don't have a car, so all the food we purchase has to be carried home with us. To help us out, we bought some "wheels" to lug the heavy groceries home. Meet "Gimli", our grocery cart. We ordered it while we were in Germany in July. The unique three-wheel contraption on the back helps us to "walk" the groceries up the thirty steps to our flat without having to lift it.

Gimli and I walk to the store at least once a week to purchase all the heavy/bulky items to bring home. The other days, I take a couple bags to bring home the purchased items.

It's the custom here to the grocery store on a daily basis. I don't go every day, but at least four or five times a week. These trips are necessary to purchase bread every day since it's made here without preservatives of any kind. That's h…

Adventures in Cooking in Prague

Since I described my spicy experiences in Prague last week, I thought I'd continue by explaining about my cooking adventure a while ago.

We'd been here for a couple months and had been eating potatoes, vegetables and meat for dinner way too often. Of course, that was mainly because we were in the Air B&B apartment for six weeks where I had very little kitchen equipment. I had to make very simple meals due to lack of utensils, spices, and baking dishes.

After we moved to our permanent apartment, I could start cooking again. When we had some left over chicken in the refrigerator, I decided I wanted to make a casserole to use it up. So I became adventurous and found a recipe for a Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole on the Campbell' website. I was excited to try the new dish.

After looking at the list of ingredients, I was ready to take on this challenge. I knew that I could get rice, cheese to grate, and frozen vegetables. Also, the recipe was published in the states…

The Spicy Story

Now that we are settled in our apartment and things are falling into a routine here in Prague, I'm starting to get braver about cooking in my kitchen. I haven't quite figured out the spices yet, however.

First of all the spices are purchased in packets (i.e. taco mix) instead of bottles like we're familiar with in the states. I have not, as yet, figured out how to organize these packets into some semblance of order in my drawer. They all lay together in a row, but finding the one I want is time consuming.

Reading the labels, which are in the Czech language, is also a challenge. The pictures on the packages are a huge help. If the package has a picture of an onion on it, the obvious conclusion is that I have onion powder in my hand.

One of the missionary wives who was here in the early 1990s, shortly after CZ freedom, said that none of the labels had pictures - only Czech words. I can't imagine shopping without the pictures on the packages. I guess she carried a diction…