Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Curious Little Quarter

Today we explored the other side of the river at the base of the castle district. This is known as “The Little Quarter”. I don’t know why. We went inside a stunning example of Baroque architecture; the St Nicholas Church. The trompe d’oeil paintings on the ceiling were fabulous. I don’t know if you can tell by the picture where the real columns stop and the painting begins. This was a common style of painting during the Baroque period. We loved it.

We wandered through more adorable streets, peeking in stores and settling down for lunch at a cute little tavern. There were only five tables in a very small room but it was very cozy and medieval feeling. After lunch we visited the St Mary church because they had the most worshipped object in all of Prague there. It is the “infanta” who was brought to Prague by a Spanish noblewoman on the occasion of her marriage to a Prague nobleman. People from all over South America make a pilgrimage to see this…for lack of a better word, doll. It is enshrined in a glass case and was wearing a lovely green outfit the day we visited. Important people from around the world send the doll clothes. I kid you not. There was a museum filled with the clothes the doll has received with large pictures of it dressed in its finery. One outfit was from our old friend, Maria Theresa, ruler of the Hapsburg dynasty and prolific baby producer. At another display, Tom was shocked to discover that his father had been right all along: Christ’s middle name really is “H”. See the picture.

It was difficult not to giggle throughout this exhibit, thereby revealing my complete lack of understanding for so holy an object. By the time we got to the gift shop, I had to hold Tom back from buying a replica doll. You can have your very own infanta to take home.

We wandered over to a park where they have a statue to the victims of communism who survived. The piece represents how you survive but slowly bit by bit you become less and less. Notice the statues losing limbs as they fade into the distance.

In the evening we bought tickets to see the Marionette theatre production of “Don Giovanni”. We sat next to three older ladies from New York who were a riot. They had met each other on their tour and it was a tenuous friendship. One of them had been an opera singer and music teacher so she filled us in on the details of the story. The whole performance was in Italian so we couldn’t understand a word but the puppets were very funny and the performance was filled with silliness and special effects to keep us all entertained. It wasn’t as good as “Barber of Seville” but that was just a feast for the eyes and heart.


Unknown said...

Glad to hear Don Giovanni had some interpretation. I think it is so neat that you are doing many different cultural things. Neat you connected with the old babes. Love Mom

Sophia said...

wow, i really want to visit Prague now. out of all the places you've been so far. hmmm, well it looks beautiful

Unknown said...

I have missed so much of your trip this past week, but now am caught up. Your kids have a wonderful way of describing what they are seeing. But the Don Giovanni really got me. We also watched the marionette show and John who loves opera about fell off his seat when the refrain of ???(sounds like papagallo)was done. He laughed so loud even I was embarassed.So many fun memories for you all and we get the benefit of memories AND new adventures! Thanks and lots of love to all- Mynnette