Archive for the ‘Prague’ Category

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Prague 2019 part 2

August 2, 2019

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

During our last two weeks in Prague, BabyBird joined us. Our after school activities included Království železnic (Railway Kingdom) the largest model railroad display we ever seen, the LEGO Museum, Czech Repubrick, the Mirror Maze on Petrin Hill, the Karel Zeman museum, and the Banks of the Nile exhibit at Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures.

large model railroad display

Railway Kingdom

posing for a picture in a hall of mirrors

Mirror Maze

LEGO city layout display

LEGO Museum

LEGO model of Ještěd Hotel

Model of Ještěd Hotel at Czech Repubrick

mummified cats

Mummified cats at the Banks of the Nile exhibit

Our weekend day trip was to České Budéjovice.

town square

České Budéjovice town square

We got together with our language teacher and classmates from last year. It was a great night and conversation. We stayed until closing.
nine people at a pub table

Language class was tough this year. We had three different teachers. They insisted on instruction in Czech only. Immersion technique and intensive course do not go together well. I think we learned less and more slowly than we would have if some explanation would have been in English. It is very challenging to learn a language you do not know that is explained only in the language you do not know. We successfully passed the final exam and received our certificates, but it was not as fun and empowering this year. The immersion technique, inconsistency of teachers, and facilities that are not handicap accessible are reasons we are unlikely to do this again next year. We are more likely to invest the money in a personal tutor instead of the class setting.

Next up, a week of school free vacation in Plzen.

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Czech Republic 2019

July 14, 2019

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

We are 2/5 through our current “vacation” in Prague. We start each weekday by getting up and traveling across town via metro train to attend language school. We are in class from 9:00 to 1:45 each day. Hence the quotation marks around the word vacation.

This is our second summer in the intensive language course attempting to learn the Czech language. The first year we had a great teacher and it was very fun. This year we have had three teachers within the first two weeks. It is less fun and less effective, I think. There is an insistence on immersion – teacher refuses to speak English. Therefore, the teacher is explaining a language I do not understand in the language that I do not understand. It leads to a lack of understanding, as one might imagine. Students have taken to asking each other what something means during breaks because we are all trying to deduce what is going on. Immersion technique has value in a long term program, but not so much in a short term intensive program.

classroom

In the afternoons sometimes we go out and about, but we also sometimes just head back to the hotel to rest or do our homework for the next day.

Our plan was to get out of Prague on weekends to other cities or towns. This is a good plan, except that towns tend to “roll up the streets” on weekends. Businesses are closed, other than restaurants.

Travel is very easy and inexpensive. Our first weekend we took a train to Olomouc which is to the east.

Roman Catholic Baroque church

This is Our Lady of the Snows Church. Across the street is the history museum and it was open and free due to the holiday – Jan Hus Day. We had lunch in a charming beer restaurant – Svatováclavský pivovar.

restaurant

Then we toured the museum.

The woman’s costume includes an embroidered apron. Notice the back view. I am curious just how many yards of fabric make up the skirt.


These are targets. I am not sure it they were used with arrows or guns. I find it interesting that they took the time to paint beautiful scenes on something they were going to shoot.

This is Saint Vaclav Church and the Holy Trinity Column which is in the upper square. Olomouc is a university town, so being summer, a weekend, and a holiday meant that we very nearly had the town to ourselves.

During the week there are some after school activities offered for students. One involved a tour of a brewery, so of course DaddyBird wanted to go. I didn’t tour the brewery, but I did help taste beer afterwards.

The brewery had originally been a monastery, so we ducked into the church to take a peek.

inside of the church with vaulted painted ceiling

Along the sides of the sanctuary are huge paintings which also have large frames which are trompe-l’oiel paintings.

Another school organized activity was a boat tour on the Vltava River.

Charles bridge as seen from on the river

Our second weekend trip was to Liberec in the north. There was no direct train route, so we almost gave up the plan, but our teacher said there would be a direct bus trip that would only take an hour. That is what we did. We took the metro three stops to the Florenc stop which is also a bus depot.

cloudy view

Once we got to Liberec, it was quite cool and rainy. The major attraction is a mountain top hotel/restaurant/television tower. We took a taxi up to the top. However, the clouds were surrounding the top of the mountain, so we did not see the panorama below. We had a nice lunch in the restaurant. Then we took the cable car down. The base of the cable car ends in the woods. So, we had to walk through the woods to reach the nearest tram stop.

tree trunk and roots

In addition to the usual weekend lack of activity in smaller towns, the tram lines were under reconstruction, so our plan to just ride the trams around town to see the sites was a wash. We walked to the town hall.

neo-Renaissance building

 Behind the Town Hall is a bus stop designed by David Černý. Černý is a controversial artist. He wants his works to be provocative. Of his works that I have seen, this one makes the most sense. It is connected to Liberec history. The town was a center of the Nazi movement, therefore in 1938/39, Jews had to get out of town. The synagogue was burned. After WWII ended, the Germans had to get out of town.

bus stop shaped like a dinner table

So, this work is called the Feast of Giants. On the table are two beer steins – Czech and German – a venus flytrap, an overturned menorah, and the head of the German/Czech politician, Konrad Henlein, who was Hitler’s puppet.

This is what we have been up to so far. We have two more weeks in Prague and our last week will be spent in Plzen to the south.

Měj se hezky! Have a nice day!

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Random Sights

March 9, 2019

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

I’ve been seriously delinquent about posting. So, here is an attempt to play catch up. I will go through my pictures chronologically and choose the best to post.

Hiphop Gang dance studio

While shopping in a mall, I stopped to rest on a bench outside this hiphop dance studio. I watched the boys practicing their routine. It’s good to see kids getting significant exercise and enjoying it. It was all boys, no girls, although the instructor was female. Then …

girl looking into dance studio

this girl stopped to watch. I’m assuming she was thinking she would like to do that, too. I hope the studio has sessions for girls.

man relaxing on the bed of his three wheeled bicycle cart, looking at his smart phone

This is not an unusual sight. Both the flatbed tricycle and the relaxation pose. A great deal of stuff gets moved around the city via flatbed tricycle.

We spent all of July in Prague, Czech Republic.

Vltava River

The first third of each day was spent in language school getting our introduction to the Czech language.

student desk with texts

One of my favorite things to do is check out the window displays of antique shops. Who wouldn’t want a nude riding an ostrich?

enamel statue of a nude human riding an ostrich

Prague is beautiful and the longer we stay there, the more deeply we love it and feel at home.

Saint Vitus Cathedral

We took two weekend day trips. One to Tabor.

old town square of Tabor Czech Republic

The second was to Brno.

Brno old town square

We went on a bus tour. It only runs on the weekends and it is a small bus with a driver and a guide. We were the only paying passengers, so we got a personal tour. The tour route went by architecturally significant buildings and there were a few stops when we could get out and get a closer look. I accidentally took this artsy fartsy picture of the Löw-Beer Villa.

art nouveau home painted orange

We also saw this lovely country retreat home of an architect named Jurkovic.

folk art cottage
August brought us back to Shanghai and I was back at work. The first challenge was to swap out old metal shelving for new wooden, wheeled shelves.

library room with shelving in disarray

library wooden shelves arranged
And so began our fifth year here.

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Prague – Last Day Scramble

April 10, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

Vltava River through Prague, several bridges

We traveled on many trams today. We walked a long way today. We did many things. We saw many sights. We are tired. I think I may just crawl onto the airplane tomorrow and pass out, if it weren’t for the discomfort of economy class.

We took trams to the base of the hill on which the Vysehrad Park is and walked up the hill. We walked all around the park and took many, many photos. We then walked down the hill and took a tram again. DaddyBird had scoped out a particular pub he wanted to have lunch in, but it was either closed or located deep in the basement. We couldn’t figure it out, so went to the Indian (Native American, that is) themed Baretta Pizza place instead. The whole place was decorated in wild west artifacts and pictures. The food was very good. We recommend.

Then we got on another tram and went closer to the center of town to a bookstore where DaddyBird hoped to find an English translation of a particular Czech book. No dice. Before the end of the day we went to two more bookstores and finally found it at the last one.

Then we went to a touristy trap pub. It is known for it’s surly staff, bad food, but good beer. It is all true. Then, back on a tram to Wenceslas Square to finish our souvenir buying and have a fried cheese sandwich. And, finally, onto another tram to go home to the apartment and collapse.

To see it all, click here.

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Prague in Miniature

April 10, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

We hopped on the tram and traveled across the river to the Holešovice part of town to the market that is held in the old central slaughterhouse. We roamed around a bit.

two statues one of a woman with a bull and one of a man with a bull

These statues at the entrance were the first clue that this used to be either a cattle market or slaughterhouse. This shot doesn’t show them very well. One is a woman with a huge bull and the other is a man with another huge bull.

large warehouse room full of booths selling vegetables and fruit

DaddyBird was looking for the vegetable market. We found it by watching for people with vegetables and backtracking where they were coming from. We didn’t buy any veggies or fruits since it is late in our time here and won’t be doing much cooking for ourselves, but we did buy a few seed packets for growing herbs in our apartment.

Then it was back onto public transport. This time the metro subway train to the neighborhood of the Prague City Museum. But, first, lunch.

quaint restaurant

Just up the street from the museum is the Pivovarsky Klub which boasts the biggest beer menu. It also has very good food and a great atmosphere. An introvert’s dream.

yellow stone three story building

We were running short on time, but we did a quick tour of the museum to see the Langweil Model of Prague. The staff didn’t speak much English, but they were eager to help. We started with watching the short 3D movie of the model. This is cool because it takes you closer to the model than you will be able to get when looking at the original. The original model is on the top floor of the building along with a nice collection of artifacts nicely displayed. Well worth a visit – a longer visit than we managed.

large model of the city of Prague made out of cardboard

This is the model. It was made by Mr. Antonin Langweil as his hobby. (I would like to point out that he was a librarian in his day job.) It is quite amazing.

As usual, to see all the pictures of the day, click here.

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Prague – Music, Books, Food

April 9, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

We headed up to the castle hill for a second day. DaddyBird stopped into a music shop to get a couple of Zelenka albums.

rows of compact discs in a music store

As we came out, we noticed that it had clouded up and was raining. There was much rejoicing.

quaint restaurant

We stopped in for lunch at a quaint restaurant.

cobblestone lane

We wandered on down the hill to the castle. We toured the Story of Prague museum display at the castle, but photography was forbidden.

view of rooftops from castle hill

This is what Prague looks like on a mildly rainy day.

tree lined path in a park

Back down the hill, we found another neighborhood park by wandering through a doorway.

bookstore

We stopped in at Shakespeare and Sons bookshop because Daddybird wanted to pick up a few Czech authors in translation.

graffiti on an archway showing a sheep's head

Graffiti is rampant as you may have noticed in some of my pictures, but it is mostly tagging and not artistic. It seems strange in a city so filled with art that the graffiti wouldn’t be artistic, too.

arched wooden door

I took several door pictures.

stein of extremely dark Budweiser beer

We stopped for dinner at a restaurant that was established in 1466. We had REAL Budweiser beer and a lovely meat filled meal.

To see all the pictures, click here.

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Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral

April 8, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.
main entrance to the Prague castle
We took the tram up to the top of the hill and walked down to the castle. (Interesting point of information – the castle is still used as the seat of government and the presidential residence.) Click here to see all the pictures. Click here for a map of the castle grounds.

cathedral spires

Within the castle grounds is St. Vitus Cathedral. To see the interior photos I took, click here. Click here for a map of the cathedral.

stained glass cathedral window

Many beautiful stained glass windows in many different styles.

entrance gate to the Strahov monastery

After touring the castle grounds and walking down the hill to the tram stop, we took the tram back up to the top again so that we could have dinner at the Strahov Monastery.

plate with goose leg, cabbage, dumplings

We ordered goose and duck. The goose entré was the best. The duck was good, but not as tender and lovely as the goose. The chef didn’t seem to know what to do with spinach except cook it to death.

plate with duck, spinach, dumplings

I ordered stuffed gingerbread dumplings with plum sauce. The dumplings were not made of gingerbread, much to my disappointment. I am not impressed with Czech dumplings, whether savory or sweet. They are tough and tasteless. Inside was half a plum and the plum sauce was delicious, so it wasn’t all bad.

dumplings, plum sauce, cream

DaddyBird had the pancakes with beer ice cream. I had a little taste of the ice cream and it was yummy.

crepes, ice cream, whipped cream

The sun was going down and exhaustion was setting in, so we took the tram home and called it a day.

tram rails