Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mucha, spring, and walking

Today was too beautiful to make it an entirely lazy day, though I did sleep and read and generally laze about until the middle of the afternoon.  Walking is a key part of this trip, though, so I hit the streets with an eye toward visiting Old Town again and taking in the small but interesting Mucha Museum.

I crossed a different bridge into town and was treated to a group of tourist boats waiting for a lock.

Click on any image to see a larger version.

The lock is only on the canal the tourist boat uses, and it wasn't visible from the Charles bridge, so it was neat to get a chance to see it.  

An island in the middle of the river was under construction, the builders off today but clearly working on restoring a structure that a sign identified as a castle but that looked to me like just another large, plain building.

On this part of the river, a few folks in paddleboats were enjoying the beautiful spring day.

I don't know what this building is, but it was so very different from everything around it that I had to take a shot of it.

Who wouldn't like an eye turned blue with yarn?

The sign is in front of a theater. 

This nearby building's Art Nouveau decorations seemed in keeping with the museum visit. 

I thought a lot about the sentiment of this sign, which a man was painting as I walked by it the first time.

I wondered if this trip would leave me different than who I was before.  In the end, I concluded that, no, not really, it would not, but with luck it would help focus me and make me a better version of myself.  Time will tell, as it does with all such things. 

In multiple places in Prague and in Vienna, I've encountered signs for black light theaters.  Though I strongly doubt I'll visit one, I find the notion odd enough to be intriguing.  This one, paired with the KFC banner in front of it, cracked me up.

Thirsty?  I was, so I grabbed a bottle of Czech-labeled Coke Zero.

I must confess that I have made zero progress in learning Czech, nor do I expect to before I leave. 

As I noted earlier, the Mucha Museum was quite small, but I nonetheless learned many new and interesting things about the artist.  The place forbid photography, so I took very few shots.  I did particularly like the large versions of this foursome, The Arts, because in them he chose to eschew all traditional symbols for the arts in favor of using times of day and motion to symbolize them.

Getting to see a few of his original paintings was a treat.  These two, very different in mood, particularly caught my fancy. 

A series of portraits in his studio showed off both the widely varied contents of his workplace and his occasionally whimsical side, the latter best seen in this picture of Paul Gauguin at the harmonium. 

His Paris sketchbooks were also interesting.  I was surprised at the wide variation in finish of the drawings in them. 

Outside, while taking a randomly different route back to the bridge, I was happy to see this bit of (admittedly not very good) art stuck to the side of an otherwise unremarkable building. 

Back on the hotel's side of the river, the statues of dissidents tortured by the Soviets were a moving contrast to the lovely cherry trees facing them.

Enough people have bugged me in email for a photo with me in it that I am relenting with this one.

Why the park includes this snake sculpture is beyond me, but I kinda liked it.

I definitely would have liked this play structure (you have to blow up the picture to get any sense of it) when I was a kid, though I can't imagine the U.S. allowing such a thing in an open public park; too much risk. 

Still, I sure would have played on it. 

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