Late winter gold

The guide books refer to Prague as “golden” and in some ways it’s true. Lots of buildings are painted yellow; for instance, the beautiful residence of the Canadian Ambassador, where we stayed for three nights in a comfortable suite of rooms, is a glorious warm honey colour. Little clumps of snowdrops bloomed on the lawn as well as something bright yellow. Winter aconite, maybe? I didn’t get close enough to investigate.

But Prague is also a city of pastel pink, and blue, and pistachio green. A city of towers and spires, Rococco palaces, gilded columns and angels. Shops filled with glass and amber, puppets and old maps. We went to the Museum of Decorative Arts where room after room beguiled us with ancient carved furniture, jewelery, desks inlaid with many kinds of exotic wood, pewter chalices, and a table top (16th c) painted with asparagus, flowers, and even a snail moving from one berried plant to another.

It was wonderful to arrive at Cafe Exil the other evening to see a passage of John’s poem “Alone in the Water” painted on the window in English as well as Czech and then to read our work in English while the eloquent Pavlina Prudilova read it in Czech. (It came as only a slight surprise to learn that Pavla is a  voice student with a passion for early music. I can imagine her singing Monteverdi now…) Thanks to Ester Fialova at the Canadian Embassy for arranging this intimate event.

When we left Velky Osek last Tuesday, we went to Ceske Budejovice to give a reading and talk to Regina Helel’s Canadian Studies class. We met really interesting people and had a morning to explore. How beautiful those streets in light rain . . .

  Having been in the Czech Republic for nearly a month, I realize how important the diacritics are to the written language. How a “c” changes when it wears a hook or other accent . . . So I regret that I can’t figure out how to add them to these posts.

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~ by theresakishkan on March 3, 2012.

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