Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wiped Out

Dudes.  I took, like, 80 pictures today.  That's got to be some sort of record for me.

Also:  exhausted.  Started with a walk to the Estates Theatre (where Mozart premiered Don Giovanni).  Our guide told us photos were not permitted but he didn't care what we did when his back was turned.  So, I snapped this when he looked away:

Then, we started the Architectural (walking) tour at the Municipal House, which is an art nouveau number that looks something like this:

It houses a main concert hall, a few restaurants, and a bunch of small "salons," used for anything from political meetings to music recitals to dance lessons.  Although the rooms fell into disrepair during the Communist Era, they have been painstakingly refurbished (and, in some cases, downright recreated).  Each room was more beautiful than the last, and this was where my camera really got a workout.  I ended up being unable to capture the essence of the rooms, so I chose to focus on details.  Here, for instance, is a small photo collection of the chandeliers in the different rooms:

OK, ok, here's a whole room.  This was a "ladies' salon," apparently used for drinking coffee.

The building was created right around the dawn of electric lighting, so some of it was a Celebration of the Light Bulb.  You can sort of see this in the "chandelier" in the main concert hall.  To wit:  there isn't one.  Just a glass window for natural light (with a bit of stained glass for detail) encircled by individual lights.  It gives it an almost circus-like feel.
We then walked over to the Old Town Center, and this time took in the rooms inside some of the historical buildings there.  Continuing on the ceiling theme, here is a Renaissance ceiling -- that's wood it's made of:
 Then we went under the main buildings.  The Old Town Square in Prague is built on old Romanesque buildings (dating, oh, 11th or 12th Century) -- think of it as the Older Town Square.  Smells musty (and smells like it has always smelled that way) and looks kinda like this:

Finally, we came back to the hotel (and crashed).  Tonight we had our farewell dinner in Lobkowicz Palace.  What we hadn't known is that the Lobkowiczes have the largest private art collection in Europe -- a part of which we got to tour before dinner.  (Had I known, I probably would have crossed 100 photos today.  In addition to some cool paintings from Artists You've Heard Of, they also had stuff in Mozart's handwriting, the largest set of Delft dinnerware (anywhere, I think) and various other collections.  Very impressive.)  After walking around the Lobkowicz Palace Collection, we then got fed, and I am way ready to crash again.

(So far, to my mother's relief, it looks like a no-go on the AK-47 tomorrow.  But I'm so wiped, I'm not even sure I'll be able to remain vertical on a horse for a couple hours, much less aim an assault rifle.)

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