Tiddley-Bits tea

Tiddley-Bits tea

Friday, 27 July 2012

{European Sojourn--Prague}

Those of you who have been following my blog, know that I was in Germany last week for a conference. After the conference, CIHA organised weekend tours and I opted for Prague. It's only about a 3 hour drive from Nuremberg, and with a very early start, after a very late night, I slept most of the way there, although from the brief glimpses I got in between naps, the landscape was gorgeous.
Our first day we were taken to the National Gallery of Prague, and were led through the modern collections by the former director of the museum, Tomas Vlcek. He was an extremely enthusiastic guide, and who knew there were so many Picassos & Georges Braques, among other famous paintings here?
{Prague National Museum. The building was pretty fantastic as well}
From the museum we went to Prague cathedral where we had a great guide who provided us with a good history of the cathedral, AND she held the keys to special chapels, the sacristy, and the crypt, all of which are usually closed to general access.
{St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague Castle}

From there we visited the castle, with beautiful vaulted ceilings and ventured down to the Romanesque foundations.
The next day we travelled to Karlstejn Castle, where we had another great tour guide, Prof. Tomas Durdik (& the director of the Germanisches nationalmuseum, Prof. Ulrich Grossman also accompanied us and provided useful information). The castle is stunning, made even more impressive by the long walk up. The castle was built for Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, and held his precious collection of relics as well as coronation jewels. Building began in 1348 and there are still fourteenth-century paintings preserved on its walls.
{the long walk to the castle (some tourists opted for an easier ride by horse)}

{our wonderful guides, with frescoes dating from the 1350s}

{The absolutely stunning chapel of the Holy Cross, only open for special viewing because of the materials' sensitivity to exposure. The bottom of the walls are lined with iron spikes, that were meant to hold candles. The space is already very bright with the gold and the hardstones that line the ceiling and walls but the candlelight must have evoked the New Jerusalem as described in the Book of Revelations, a common motif employed in medieval chapels/churches.}
I am now in Blighty and am headed to Warwickshire this weekend and then onto County Durham for a cottage mini-break. I've spent the last couple of days in & around London, where excitement is mounting for the Olympics. Will try to blog again soon!

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