Prague Castle

Every tourist visits Prague Castle.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, it’s the largest ancient castle in the world, sprawling across the hill above Charles Bridge.

Built and expanded over hundreds of years, it’s an architectural Frankenstein.

At the start was a memorial to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Very interesting.

It takes a few hours to tour walking top to bottom. For a quick first look. The highlight is the Cathedral of St Vitus.

The main nave is massive.

Our very enthusiastic guide insisted that the BEST museum in Prague was here in the castle – the Lobkowicz Palace.

Original manuscripts from Mozart and Beethoven as well as the oldest and largest privately owned art collection in the Czech Republic.

As we stood outside the front door a distinguished gentleman entered. And returned. It was Prince William Lobkowicz himself, who grew up in Boston. He gave some gifts to our guide saying he had never overheard any other more accurately description of the collection. Our guide had tears in his eyes. It was an emotional moment for him.

The tour finishes with a walk downhill to the Charles Bridge.

An excellent half day.

walking Prague

I hadn’t realized how tourist-swarmed Prague has become. I visited in October, low season, yet everything was packed.

My hostel — Mosaic — was superb. Best breakfast I can recall.

To get oriented I took one of many available free walking tours: Wenceslas Square, Old Town Square, Astronomical Clock, …

Guides on free tours are paid by tip. They only survive if they are very good at the job.

My group had one awkward moment at the Jewish District when a tourist brought up the Palestinian cause … An important issue, but standing on ground where Nazis had murdered 90% of the Jews was wrong time, wrong place. We shut him down.

There are quirky, unusual attractions at every turn.

Wandering Prague at night with a flask of red wine was even better than daytime.

Yep. I hung out around the Charles Bridge every evening.

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin

I’m not sure I can recommend this 2010 novel.

It’s well written, but something is odd. It doesn’t reflect any kind of Steve Martin humour.

The book by follows the New York art world climb of Lacey Yeager, a beautiful and dislikable young woman.

Too ambitious. Too much an opportunist.

The only reason to read this book would be to learn about the NY art scene.

NY Times review 

revisiting the British Museum

Anyone visiting London MUST visit.

The British Museum, located in the Bloomsbury area of London, in the United Kingdom, is a public institution dedicated to human history, art and culture. Its permanent collection numbers some 8 million works …

It first opened to the public on 15 January 1759 …

Its ownership of some of its most famous objects originating in other countries is disputed and remains the subject of international controversy, most notably in the case of the Parthenon Marbles. …

The Tree of Life is a sculpture created by four artists in Mozambique. It was commissioned and then installed in the British Museum in 2005. It was built from the surrender of 600,000 weapons that were converted into art following an initiative started by Bishop Dinis Sengulane. …

revisiting the National Gallery, London

FREE MUSEUMS (donation recommended) in LONDON are awesome.

Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. …

Its collection belongs to the government on behalf of the British public, and entry to the main collection is free of charge. It is among the most visited art museums in the world, after the Louvre, the British Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. … 

Overwhelmed, I jumped quite quickly to the the Impressionists and Post-impressionists. My favourites.

In fact, one special exhibition convinced me to buy a ticket.

Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cézanne

The image they used for the promotion is La Loge (The Theatre Box) by by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. (1874)

Charge of the Light Brigade

Tennyson wrote this patriotic poem under a pseudonym, based on news reports he’d read about great casualties in the Battle of Balaclava (1854) in the Crimean War.

Lord Raglan, overall commander of the British forces, had his commands mis-communicated. He had not wanted a suicidal frontal attack.

War is Hell. Don’t go to war.

Opposing Russian forces slaughtered the attackers with Lord Cardigan out in front. He somehow survived the battle.

… All in the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.
   … Theirs not to reason why,
   Theirs but to do and die.
   Into the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.

Charge of the Light Brigade by ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

working online while traveling

I met Leon Nikoosimaitak at a hostel in Casablanca. He’s a Motion Graphic Designer / Illustrator.

In London he might spend 4000€ / month. In Casablanca it’s a tiny fraction of that.

He works online. Takes breaks to go surfing every day.

Click PLAY or watch samples of his work on Vimeo.

Earlier in the trip I met Anika from Houston. She spent 3 weeks hiking the Appalachian Trail this year … while sneaking off trail once in a while to work online.