Jul 11 - Melnik

Danube River Cruise

On Monday, July 11th we were still based out of Prague but we had signed up for an optional excursion to go out to the countryside, to visit the Castle Melnik. I went in the old town section for a short walk before the excursion left. The cubism museum in the House of the Black Madonna was closed, unfortunately. This cool building was built in 1911 in a cubist style. Still, I was able to get interesting shots of the squashed-spiral staircase. This is looking up from the bottom, toward the skylight.

Melnik Czech Republic

The Spider Restaurant is a well known medieval tavern. Lit by candles and prowled by men who wield swords!

Melnik Czech Republic

I also got a photo of giraffes for my friend Jeanne to show her that giraffes are treasured everywhere :).

Old Town Prague

The castle had a fascinating history. The Communists had taken away most palaces and expensive homes to use for their own party members. After the Communists were kicked out, the government did its best to ensure everyone got back what had been taken from them. So this family had lost their castle but was then able to reclaim it. They now turned it into a wedding venue and winery while still living in a portion of it.

Here's a cool sundial that was on one wall of the castle.

Melnik Czech Republic

We weren't allowed to take photos in the main castle rooms but it was quite lovely. There were beautiful paintings and historic desks and furniture. There was chain mail from the middle ages. At last we descended down into the cellars for the wine tasting. There were enormous barrels and historic wine-related equipment.

After we were done with the wine tasting we drove back to the Intercontinental. We went up to the rooftop restaurant which had a lovely view of the city.

It also had a great view, just across the Vltava River, of the Prague Metronome. This fascinating huge sculpture was created by Vratislav Novak.

Soon it was time for the Grand Masters Concert. We headed back into the Old Town section of Prague and again passed all sorts of beautiful buildings.

Old Town Prague

But the real treat was ahead.

We were seeing the show at the Boccaccio Ballroom in the Grand Hotel Bohemia. This was built in 1927 in a neo-Baroque style with a beautiful parquet floor and beautiful detailing on the walls and ceiling.

Old Town Prague

Old Town Prague

Old Town Prague

There was a pianist, a violinist, a flutist, a soprano, and a baritone, sometimes playing alone and sometimes in groups. They were wonderful! The guide had told us that the baritone was one of her favorites and we could see why. I believe the musicians were:

Soprano: Barbara Slezakova (winner of the European Prize of G. Mahler)
Baritone: Michal Macuha (Opera Ars Magna)

Maybe Mom can remember some of the names of the pieces.

It was a beautiful end to the evening!

Here are the 339 images in this slideshow. They start with a few of the rooftop restaurant, from my smaller camera, and then go into the full set from the larger camera.

Melnik / Prague Slideshow

July 12 driving to Nuremberg

Danube River Cruise - main page

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