Charles Bridge Woke at six, slipped quietly into the shower and by seven was walking down the hill to the Charles Bridge. It was very pleasant at this time of day, not long after sunrise. Cool enough for a coat, but not for long. It’s a perfect perfect day – bright blue clear sky, warm sun, cool breeze. April weather; from sleet to sweet.
I ambled across past the age-blackened statues of Gods and Saints, and made an audiotape using John Cage 4:33. John Cage. A trio of swans flew over my head – a lifetime first for me. Three Czech soldiers walked by, two of them women in full make up, with charmingly disarrayed versions of a French twist, and machine guns. There are a few photographers with tripods, and several couples sightseeing, and groups of young adults, laughing and flirting, on their way to work. I asked a nice woman passerby to take my photo by the statue of St John Nepomuk.
His story: he served as the queen’s confessor and when he wouldn’t tell the king her secrets, the irate monarch had him pitched off the bridge, drowned in the Vltava, and five stars appeared over the water.
Picked up toasted bagels at Bohemian Bagels and headed back to the room. We caffeined up and walked up the long stairs to the castle complex. Robin stopped to strike a pose in an arch.
I stopped to catch my breath long enough to thank Jessica Bowman, trainer extraordinaire, who got me in good enough shape to make it to the top.
Loreto Church Strolled through the complex to the Loreto church, founded in 1626 by Baroness Benigna Katharina von Lobkowitz. In the center courtyard is copy of the Italian Santa Casa, where an angel informed Mary of her status as mother-to-be. Decorated with statues and reliefs on the outside, it’s surrounded by a storyed cloister with corner chapels. One chapel had what appeared to be Christ on the cross in a violet dress.
St Wilgefortis story: She didn’t want to wed a heathen and prayed to be saved from marriage. Miraculously, she grew a full beard that left her hirsute and unwed. Her irritated father had her crucified for her disobedience. Less heart-rending attractions for pilgrims are the charming clarion bells and a staggering amount of bejeweled religious swag. From gorgeous embroidered gloves,
to multiple monstrances dripping with jewels.
The diamond monstrance, known as the Prague Sun, was bedazzled with 6,222 diamonds, made possible by Countess Ludmila Eva Frances Kolowrat, who donated the gems from her wedding dress. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
The Church of the Nativity of Our Lord was Rococo eye candy and made me glad I remembered to look up.
Just what I love – excellent paintings. Favorites include a painting of Luke, the painter’s patron saint, and a virgin with a basket of mending, or perhaps she is making diapers.
Walked back down to the bridge, and lo and behold, there’s a film crew setting up shop. Wherever I go, there’s Robert’s world (and now RK and Parker.) Made feel right at home
A great, late lunch at Pod Vezi, down by the bridge. I recommend the leek soup.
Tomorrow, back to the complex to tour the Lobkowitz palace, and over to see the wardrobe of the Infant of Prague. Robin says it’s not to be missed.