Thursday, September 12, 2013

Parading Around Prague With Patsy

We woke up this morning around 8:30, knuckled the sleep from our eyes and went down to breakfast. In this hotel, out breakfast is included in our room price, and we planned on stoking up before heading out. Our destination was to be the Art Museum. There were a wide selection of continental cuisine items on the buffet.

The breakfast room was bright and airy, and since we arrived around 9 most folks were already out investigating the town.

This was the view out onto the street. There is a fruit vendor immediately outside our hotel, but we have not availed ourselves of his wares just yet. It is a pedestrian shopping area, with restaurants and small stores.....quite quiet.

After getting some directions from our desk clerk, a very helpful fellow, we headed downstairs to the metro. Our station as previously mentioned is Krizikova.

It was chilly and overcast when we left, about 55F. Patsy is doing her "film star incognito" reality just trying to keep warm.

We got off our train, changed to another and in no time flat we were at Starometska station. We returned to ground level to see what was what.....what?

As soon as we came out of the station it was "raise cameras!" We started clicking away like two bumpkins on their first trip to the big city.

Across the street was the Rudolfinum. This is the venue for the Prague Philharmonic, and we were immediately besieged with offers of "special prices" for a concert. While it would have been only about $100 for both of us, we said we would consider it. We are still considering it!!

We walked to the end of the Manesuv Most to take a picture, and what a picture. I tell you my wits were keenly pressed at this vista. I steadied my shutter hand and clicked to my heart's content. I could do little about the wires in the way. a tram runs across the bridge.

We found the Art Gallery, and had a coffee at their coffee shop. We had a difficult time explaining what we wanted, but eventually Scooterchick got her coffee and I got my latte. The waitress was less than helpful, surly even. No tip for you! 

We toasted our first day sightseeing and prepared to tackle the gallery. There were permanent and temporary exhibits.

This was on the 2nd. Floor. I believe it was a bust of King Karel IV. He is flanked by two bronze urns from the early 18th. Century, and set in a Rococo alcove.

This is one of six vases that were on the grounds of a villa on the outskirts of Prague. There were many other vases of varying size all made and fired on the grounds, although this is the largest one remaining.

This was a glass bubble chandelier. How unusual.

This is a wedding chest from the 14th Century. It is made of wood and is done in a style called Jesso, which involves gold-leaf overlay.

There was an entire gallery devoted to horological art, by which I mean to say clocks. This was a well designed number, encased in a fine cabinet.

Here is some art glass. The picture is out of order. It is for sale in a store nearby. I loves me some art glass, although my collection is scant. There's still time!

Here is a picture that Scooterchick snapped of me examining some of the clocks. They had some fascinating pieces, and I imagine most of them still keep pretty good time. After all they were made by the top manufacturers of the day.

Check this out. It is a piece of hand work all done in gold thread, and designed to be work over a priest's robe. I imagine you had to be pretty high up the pecking order to rate something like this. Although I don't have pictorial evidence we also saw a papal mitre and pair of papal shoes.....Nothing these guys did was cheap.

In another section off the museum was art tableware. This pheasant was a dish for pate de foie.

The Savoy Cabbage was a soup tureen, the Artichoke for sauce and the Asparagus was of all things a butter dish. Imagine using this stuff when guests came to call.

There was a non descript chrome and stainless something or other. it may be a whatchamacallit, or it could be a thingamajigger....I'm not sure.

There was also an exhibit that invited museum guests to create their own art piece.
Patsy decided to have a go and I thought her creation was very imaginative. I think you would have to check with her for the name of her work though.

Geocolor fusionart maybe???

There were numerous pieces of jewelry and fasteners from back in the day. They had some mighty fine taste in bling, it would still be in fashion today, though retro.

They also were not shy about spending a few ducats on a box to keep it in. The cabinetmakers of the day knew their stuff, didn't they?

Even the miniature furniture was exquisitely fashioned. The reverse camber legs are indicative of Rococo or late baroque period style.

There was a leather case with a set of 12 gilded cutlery pieces. They were base metal, probably sterling and gilded with 24kt. gold. The accompanying card said they were the property of some monastery somewhere on loan to the museum.

We started our way down to the first floor. Even the staircases were artistic, with barrel vaulted ceiling painted in high style panels.

As we exited we wanted to see an old cemetery which we had noticed from one of the windows of the museum, so we went around the block to investigate. The architecture is stupendous, and even buildings that were blown down during the war have been built back to period style, though updated for convenience sake.

We took a turn and came upon the Old Synagogue. This is where the graveyard started. We made inquires regarding looking around. The minimum price was 200CK, and would not include the graveyard. The next price of 300CK included the Old and New Synagogues, but again not the graveyard. Then we found out that the price including the graveyard and allowing for pictures would be 1000CK.

That's $50 in real money....we don't need to see the graveyard, nor the synagogues that badly thanks. We'll keep walking. L'Chaim and Mazeltov!

Here's another view of the old meeting house. Price for picture $0.00

We continued up the road where they had numerous stalls set up to part the tourist from his shekels, and we did buy another magnet for our collection.

This is another synagogue. This one was used during the 1700-1800's and gets good use today as a point of collection for  tourist dollars.

We continued onward marveling and pictures taking all the way.

We found ourselves walking out of the Jewish quarter and down a street with some familiar names. A few quick taps on the calculator showed us that we would not likely be doing any shopping in this area either. When men's watches are going for upward of $50,000.00, we say..."really"?  

We had already purchased some luggage for this trip.  So, we decided not to spend any money here either. I understand that you can probably get a shaving kit for 2,500.00 dollars, though. You supply the razor.

Remember that movie "The Devil Wears Prada".  It's probably purchased here.

Hey look poochy   Gucci.  I understand it's what all the best dressed dogs are wearing this year.

Thanks for noticing me. Wait, that's Eeyore......this is Dior.

We walked a little further and entered a square with the most fantastic building. We had never seen the like before. It turned out that this was the Tyn Cathedral. The edge of the property marked that fence which was the boundary of the old marketplace and work on this church commenced in about 1300.

There was a fountain with two fish.  I don't know what the fish were for.

This is the church of St. Nicholas.  Yes, he was a real saint.  They built this church starting in the 1200's.

As with most Roman Catholic churches, the interior was very ornate. This is a view toward the main altar which was gated off to keep the masses out.

This is the domed ceiling of a side chapel.  It seemed to go up for several hundred feet. Just imagine all of the work that would have taken.

This is the Bohemian glass chandelier which hung on a long chain below the main dome. It was very large and very detailed.

This is a picture of the dome itself taken through the chandelier.   Again the mind boggles at the amount of labor and construction involved in completing it.

This is the organ loft.  Although we did not hear the organ being played, it looked like it sounded amazing.

By now, we were both getting hungry.  We looked around for somewhere to eat.  We found a likely candidate in the Kotleta Restaurant. As the name implies, there menu was heavy with pork products. We perused it carefully before making our selection.

The entrance was unassuming, but led to a garden area with tables for eating outdoors.

Scooterchick ordered some water and we were both surprised to find a Roman centurion looking up from the bottom of her glass.

Athough it was chilly enough for a jacket, while sitting outside the sun came out and I had to dig out my hat.  This is the first time I have worn it in a while and it smelled strongly of sunscreen.

My darling finally got an opportunity to order goulash. It was served in a bread bowl and she decreed it to be delicious.  I had a small taste and found it likewise.

I had a vicious hunger going so ordered a Braised Pork Knee. This was served on a spit with bread, fresh shaved Horseradish, a pickle and some mustard. Talk about meat overload. This thing was huge.

Here is a closer look at the enormous chunk of roasted swine. Where to start?
I took my eating irons in hand and dug in.

It took quite a while to work my way through that huge chunk of roast goodness. I kept at it methodically, and acquitted myself in good order, even if I was unable to finish the last couple of bites. I felt as though I  gave as good as I got.

When the bill arrived I was surprised. It was about $25.00 or so, and I felt as though I easily ate my way through $40.00 or so, without even mentioning my beloved's goulash in a bread bowl.

We had to walk across the square to let our stomachs settle and there were a bride and groom on their way to get married married at the church nearby. 

There were these weird tricycle rickshaws available for rental. We both felt as though we should continue walking.

This is a famous astronomical clock which has figurines that do odd things when the hour is chimed. There is always a crowd and we didn't get to see the goings on when it did chime the hour. Perhaps tomorrow.

This is a closer view of the face of the clock. It shows phases of the moon and location of the planets.

Here are some other of the colorful buildings that ring the square. Although they are retail space at ground level, on the levels above there are undoubtedly residences.

If you'll take note of the crowds, I 'm glad we came in the off season. It must be crushingly busy in Summer.

Every where one looks it is more picturesque than can be believed although as they say "seeing is believing". I guess I believe.

Scooterchick's eye was caught by this store so we went in to investigate.

Lo and behold, she found something that fit her hand perfectly. I am happy I talked her into letting me buy it for her for our anniversary. Beautiful girls deserve beautiful things.

Even the bears clinging to the pole seemed to agree. She made an excellent choice.

Here the owner if the shop and I shake hands to seal the deal. He was happy, my darling was happy and I was happy. It was like a win - win - win!!

As we left the shop it started to spit, then drizzle and finally to pour. We headed for the metro, to return to our hotel. It was getting dark by now.

We went down to the train at Republic Square. Since we live in Canada part of the year we are no strangers to slogging through the rain. Our train was moments away when we arrived.

Here is Scooterchick admiring her purchase.

We got off at Krizikova and enjoyed the high speed escalator ride. Well, at least one of us enjoyed it

So, another blog post comes to an end. Good night sleep well.

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