Day one in Prague felt more like week one. Honestly, I didn't even really get to see any of Prague, but I feel like I packed more in than I could have imagined. Aside from playing the stay-awake-all-day-to-get-over-jet-lag-as-soon-as-possible game, my delirium from traveling to a place eight hours out of my time zone subsided as the adventures unfolded. The highlights? Well, since you asked...
Pavel met me at the airport this morning. He had a cool little sign that he decorated himself touting my name as I came out of customs. I've always wanted to be one of those people whose name is on the sign. And today I was. We took a bus into town, then the underground and when we came out of the station, I was in love. Every facade is just so elegant and delicate and distinctly gothic or baroque or neo-gothic or rococo something else that I can't quite place. Regardless of my inability to verbally describe the coolness and beauty of this place, suffice it to say its got it's charms. Lots of 'em.
After Pavel bought me breakfast and a beautiful gladiola -- I love those flowers! -- he took me to the flat I'm staying in. It's a sixth floor walk-up on a cobblestone street (they are all cobblestone) with lots of charm. Wood floors, skeleton key locks, double-paned ten foot windows. You know, adorable.
As if that were not enough, before I knew it Pavel was looking through the CD's and putting one in the stereo. "Oh you're going to dance for me?" Pavel clarified, "We dance."
Soon I was being led and spun around Jenne's flat. Even though I've never tangoed, I must admit it was pretty fun. It helps that Pavel is an expert and great at leading.
So, this is Pavel.And this is me.And this is Prague.So after a mini-tango session, Pavel left me to get situated and I opted to make plans with my flat mates here. One of them is named Hubert, who is a very talented contemporary classical composer from Berkeley. He is here in Prague as a Fulbright scholar and invited me to a little village called Trebesice to listen to one of his pieces being performed by a quartet. I had no idea I was in for such a treat.
We took a train to the countryside and ended up in Trebesice, about an hour and a half outside of the city. The summer party (even though it was only about 60 degrees -- I've been freezing) was held at a castle owned by an Italian man named Alberto. He hosts artists in residence every summer. The party was both a celebration of their artwork and his 50th birthday. It was just a very surreal day. My favorite moment was unfortunately uncapturable. It consists of a father, a mother and a young boy walking through the sudden rain storm with the brightest of sunshine refracting the rays in a thousand ways; providing an almost blinding reflection from the glistening cobblestone and a silhouette of the three figures. Father and mother with umbrellas upright. Son with umbrella parallel to his back only protected by the slightest curve at the top of it. The three walked in time to music they couldn't hear from where they were: some sort of post-modern electronica classical contemporary. It was incoyable. As for the things I did capture, here are some favorite shots from the day.
The bridge into the castle.
Me and Hubert in the castle. One artist created a black and white room.The cobblestones just sparkled in the rainy sunlight.One artist did an installation of wall paintings -- tidbits that he believes all people experience.I love this shot. I love flowers. Especially wild flowers. One artist sculpted hundred of skulls out of bread.I love gardens.This was the program for the day.The castle bridge.Another cool flower.Ahhh, the simple things in life.So, we had this incredible castle, beautiful gardens, free food, and we spent the day looking at cool art, mingling with four talented artists, musicians, and feeling like we were a part of this high-class elite function. To top it all off, they sent off 50 balloons in Alberto's honor, had a belly-dancer, and set off fireworks. I don't think the day could have been better.