Showing posts from 2017

Troja Chateau

During the early fall in Prague, Vinobrani, or wine festivals, are held for several weeks in different locations in the city.  On the last weekend of September, my husband and I went to check one out. It was located at the Troja Palace, built in the late 1600s for a royal count.

In the sculptured chateau gardens, local vineyards set up booths where this year's wines could be tasted and sold. The Czech wines,  mostly white varieties, were very different from California wines.

Just walking around the gardens and looking at the beautiful palace made the day special for me.

Today the chateau is owned by the city of Prague and houses an art gallery. We didn't take the time that day to go through the museum. That's on our bucket list of things to do.

The area around the original riding stables was set up for tasting wine while watching entertainment. They had singers/dancers from the Medieval Era as well as the Roaring Twenties.

As we sipped our wine and listened to the lively ent…

Oldest Castle in Prague

Prague has two castles - one on either side of the Vltava River. The larger of the two has been swamped with tourist since we arrived, so we haven't been there yet. The smaller one Vysehrad is a quiet historic fort which we visited a while ago.

Vysehrad, the older of the two, was originally built in the 10th Century. It was surrounded by a wall on a steep cliff to protect the Czech sovereign. Many years later the government of the country and city of Prague moved across the river to the newer castle.

One of the towers in Vysehrad is the oldest rotunda in Prague. Built in the 11th century, the Rotunda of St. Martin was once used as a gun powder storage area. Today it is used for religious purposes by the Vysehrad ecclesiastical chapter.

Within the walls of the castle is the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul. This beautiful church was started in the 11th century, but had additions and was remodelled in the 14th and 19th centuries. The expansive building dominates the Vysehrad fort…

Czechs Honor Their Dead

On November 2, called All Souls Day, Czechs remember family members that have passed away. It is similar to the Christian day of remembrance, All Saints Day, which is the day before, but the 2nd is set aside by all Czechs no matter what they believe.

This is the one day in the year that they go to the cemetery to clean up the plots, light candles, lay flowers and wreaths and spend a few moments with their deceased loved ones. Dusicky ("little souls") or All Souls Day might be equated to Memorial Day in the US.

Cemeteries here seem to be honored more than in the US, at least more decorated. Every plot has a small garden in front of the headstone. Some of the plants are flowering, but many are not. The pictured cemetery, called Vysehrad, is where many famous or wealthy people are buried.

Part of the cemetery has low buildings with arcades that house the more exotic looking headstones.  It is almost as if each person has a little house around his/her final resting place.


Prague - Featured in Canadian News

A couple weeks ago, my daughter-in-law informed me that Prague made the news in Canada. I was excited to hear about it until I saw the title of the article, "Prague's TV tower babies pulled from 'ugliest building in the world' for repairs". She asked if I knew what the article was talking about.

The answer to that question is, of course, yes. When the tower reaches almost to the clouds over Prague's skyline, everyone in the city know about the tower. I think it's hilarious that the CBC declared this the "ugliest building in the world". I didn't even consider it to be a building, but it sure is ugly. 

Zizkov Tower was built during the Communist Era in the 1980s. The purpose of the tower was to spy on people in Prague and to block radio signals. The site was picked since it was the highest point in the city. It didn't matter to the powers in control that this site was located in the middle of a Jewish cemetery, which was destroyed during the…

Postcard from Lithuania

Last week we spent time in Palanga, Lithuania at a pastoral conference where my husband was the presenter. I thought I'd share my pictures from there with you.

Since it was rainy and cold, there weren't too many tourists in town. Palanga is on the Baltic Sea where the beach is the main attraction in the summer, but October isn't exactly beach weather.

We took a walk in a beautiful park toward a mansion built in the 1890s. Today the mansion is a museum.

During Communist occupation, many churches were destroyed. This large Catholic church in Palanga survived. It stands in the center of town and is a landmark to residents and tourists alike.

The Lutherans in town had to build a new church after freedom came to Lithuania. It's simple inside, but very stunning just the same.

We enjoyed the lovely visit to this tiny Eastern European country.

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…