Tag Archives: Czech Republic

Liberec

Almost done sharing thoughts and pictures from the Czech Republic, alllllllmost done! With a host like Sandor Klapscik from the Technical University of Liberec, we could not go wrong (he invited Mark to work with students and give this awesome lecture: It’s About Time: Cinema, Science Fiction, Source Code). Far to the North of Prague, it is also beautiful. Only 60 years ago it was German speaking rather than Czech, which I found fascinating and yearned to speak either language so I could see how they had shifted and changed, or not. Being bilingual and from the Mexico/US border I love how I think differently in each language, the words that work in one that don’t exist in the other, the crazy mixing of the two that revels in wordplay and invention. Another thing that fascinates me about Kafka and I keep meaning to find out more (writing in German while living in Prague and speaking and surrounded by Czech also). Sadly, while I tried to learn some phrases, Czech is harder even than Russian I think, and the one person I practiced my greetings on turned out to be Hungarian and spoke neither Czech nor English. Language was definitely a barrier here in a way it wasn’t in Prague, and I was torn between frustration that there wasn’t more of a lingua franca and ability to communicate, and embarrassment that I was hoping such a language should be the imperial English that I lucked out on by speaking natively.

Anyway, Liberec in the morning light:

IMG_9001
I thought it quite beautiful, and was so disappointed their castle was closed to the public:
IMG_9002
From Sandor’s office the view was amazing — I was rather jealous I’m afraid. These are looking down onto the Opera House and the Town Hall on a most beautiful fall day:
IMG_9024

IMG_9028
The building needed a little renovation outside, but I loved this — Ještěd Tower I think?
IMG_9026
And speaking of unnecessary awesomeness, this is their staircase:
IMG_9036
A few more views of the city:
IMG_9142

IMG_9146

IMG_9295

Like Prague, the details were all beautiful and I was just as fascinated by doors and ornamentation here as there:
IMG_9016

IMG_9015

IMG_9012

IMG_9010

IMG_9009

Sadly, they also had a terror of cherubs, this must be one of the most frightening of all, because there’s no way holding its neck at that angle hasn’t killed it — if it wasn’t always dead:

IMG_9008
This almost made up for it:
IMG_9023
As well as the great street art:
IMG_9039

IMG_9040

IMG_9042
The awesome handbills showing counterculture alive and well (a punk band called Rosa Parks? I am so there):
IMG_9296

IMG_9292
One of the loveliest street art installations I’ve seen about remembrance, focusing attention on the self and the soul in ending violence and accomplishing reconciliation (and that’s us there in the mirror!):
IMG_9130

IMG_9134
The birds painted on all of the glass:
IMG_9048
The wonderful pub signs — and pubs. Their dumplings were most unexpected, but delicious. I also loved how often the most unpretentious strip-mall kind of exterior always contained a warm and unique recreation of a traditional village restaurant with wood paneling, old photos and flowers. I enjoyed every meal, particularly the soup.
IMG_9141
Liberec, in a word, was wonderful to wander around. Of course there’s also Ještěd Tower, and its beautiful countryside, and we didn’t partake of the tour of the city hall or get to any museums. We did enjoy the sunsets however, a good way to say goodbye to the city.

IMG_9135 IMG_9136 IMG_9138
Until I remembered the robot that greeted us our last morning as we grabbed a coffee before catching our bus back to Prague:
IMG_9298

Save

More beautiful things in the Czech Republic

We stayed a week in Liberec while my partner lectured at the
Technická univerzita v Liberci, getting the chance to visit Ještěd Tower, which I have already written about, but also see a bit of the countryside. The rolling hills of the north are simply beautiful, mist-filled, green. We rolled through them on our train on the way to Hodvokice, just as filled with beautiful craftsmanship as Prague really, and of the kind I like more as it not as cherubbed and otherwise statued. This house I fell in love with, it is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen I think — the day was a terrible one for taking pictures however, so apologies:

IMG_9161The most stunning windows, and the detailing exquisite. The town’s wealth seemed to come from this factory — textiles perhaps, as Liberec? I am unsure, but it is also beautiful from the outside. Strange to stare at a factory and have not the slightest context for what it is, who works (or worked) there, what that is like. IMG_9169
I am, of course, obsessed by details and found some more door knobs for my collection:

IMG_9177 IMG_9175
There was also a wide use of tiles, as in much of Prague, and though some might have seen better days, they were still beautiful.

IMG_9170 IMG_9182
Just like the town itself.

IMG_9185 IMG_9179
Perhaps even more than in Prague — where beauty could possibly be seen as a project of Empire — I was so impressed by all that was functional yet exquisite:

IMG_9154
Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised by the way that this craftsmanship seems to also fill the countryside — the antithesis of the hamlets of the Southwestern U.S. I know so well, which are always interesting but rarely beautiful and often creepy. But everything was well cared for and this kind of work very common:

IMG_9204
We came to this beautiful old place as well, now tragically falling down.

IMG_9216

We were walking up to Sychrov Castle, bought (as one of several) after the French Revolution by some aristocrats who had managed to keep most of their money. Their connections to the Bourbons fill the place through its decorations and carvings — and the carvings are exquisite. I didn’t take pictures inside, but here is a view of some of the details I did capture.

IMG_9233 IMG_9241 IMG_9260 IMG_9262

IMG_9228And a view of the castle as a whole — again, far removed from what an English castle looks like:
IMG_9220

IMG_9245
From the castle we walked down to another small village to catch the train back — you can wander over the tracks at will and the ‘industrial’ area alongside was very cool.IMG_9278
I know I have used the word beautiful far too much, but that is what the country is.

Save