Showing posts from October, 2017

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

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. Three babies crawling on the left part 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 mid

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. Sea bridge into the Baltic There weren't many people in the tourist areas. We took a walk in a beautiful park toward a mansion built in the 1890s. Today the mansion is a museum. Palanga Amber Museum Manicured gardens around the 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 sam

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 "Quee

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 descend