Last Day in Prague

We didn’t try to run ourselves ragged on this trip, since we were coming off a hard semester, and my watch tells me we’ve been walking roughly 12 miles a day while we’re here, just getting out and enjoying things.  But on this, our last day in Prague, we visited the library in the Clementinum, a college launched by the Jesuits.  Like many places in the city, they discourage photographs, but this is a picture of the inside:


We would have loved to have had a reading session in there, but we were only allowed to peek in.  We also climbed up the many stairs to the top of the tower, and had a great view around the city.


This evening we attended a concert by the Prague Symphony Orchestra in the Smetana Hall in the Municipal House.  I’m grateful not only for the concert, but also for the chance to enjoy such a beautiful hall.  We got box seats for less than half of what we pay for the cheapest ones back home!  And we realized that we both love Art Nouveau buildings.  We don’t agree on design very often, so this was a real win!

smetana-hallNow, off to bed so I can rejoin my parents and children back in the States, while Sydney continues on to the conference location elsewhere in the Czech Republic.


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Prague, Palace and Old Town

The castle in Prague is a large network of palaces surrounding St. Vitus Cathedral.  Given the height of the entire compound (it’s an uphill walk all the way there), it commands quite a view over the rest of the city, and offers one, too, as the lights of the castle reflect on the water at night.


I’ve really enjoyed simply walking around, enjoying the architecture.


If I read this correctly, this vineyard is said to have once belonged to King Wenceslas (as in, from the Christmas song, also a would-be king in the 10th century), on the hill of the Prague Castle.


The St. Charles Bridge, now pedestrian-only, and filled with walkers (okay, mainly tourists) at all hours of day.

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This one is mainly for our kids.  See all the swans?


And this is us taking a break from outings to spend time in the Prague municipal library (Sydney had a paper to write), which features this tower of books as you enter.


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Favorite Activity in Prague: Walking in Petrin Park

Our hotel, the Best Western at Kinsky Garden, is across the street from Petrin Park, easily my favorite place in the city, and the first place we investigated in our trip.  I’ve taken several walks there, though they might properly be described as hikes; all of the paths zig-zag up a steep hill (roughly 1000 feet of change in elevation), and I’ve frequently been grateful for the stone paths, which help a bit with traction.  prague1

The elevation change gets us some of the best views of the city, particularly St. Vitus Cathedral and the castle.


Sydney is framed by one of the gates through the Hunger Wall, which snakes down the side of Petrin Park.  The Hunger Wall dates from the 14th century, though I would guess the graffiti is more recent.



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Sydney and Erin in Prague

Sydney and I are currently in Prague, where we’ve had a week to enjoy walking the city, eating in restaurants (so far, Mexican, Neapolitan, hippie, Thai–anything but traditional Czech food), and watch other tourists (there are a lot of them).  Sydney has a conference not far from here over the weekend, and I’m tagging along to enjoy the sightseeing portion of his trip before joining my parents and the kids back in Kentucky on Friday.  Although it seemed like it took moving a world to get here (calling in parents from Iowa, numerous grading frenzies, and major work and home prep), I’m so glad to have this chance for something very different right in the middle of a busy time of year.


Sydney and I just got back from a concert at the Rudolfinum: the Guarneri Trio, playing in Dvorak Hall.  We really enjoyed the concert, and were struck by several things:

– The concert was well-attended, by people of all ages (a few children as young as 6 or 7, and plenty of young and middle-aged professionals, as well as elderly people).

– The people all came well-dressed.  Clearly, you dress up for concerts here.  No exceptions.

– The concert began on time.  I can’t tell you the last time I’ve attended a concert where that happened!

– The audience’s attention did not flag at any point in the concert.  We’re talking two solid hours of just three instruments playing.  But at a couple of points I scanned the crowd (we had front-row balcony seats) and didn’t see phones out, wandering eyes, or even bored looks.  This crowd would have been a delight to play for!




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“Man, there are a lot of bad arguments around.”

Sydney’s comment on things this time of the year.  We’re fighting our way out of major papers and projects as the end of the term nears, both trying to get clear of the piles of grading so that we can leave for Prague on Friday.  Between us we have nine classes to juggle this semester.  My parents will be coming in on Wednesday to care for the kids.  It’s a busy time of year!


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fall flowers

I find temperatures in the 80s in November a tad disturbing, but, on the plus side, we still have lovely flowers in our front yard:




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A Love Letter from a New Writer

No, it is not my birthday.  And no, he’s not usually this sweet.  Which is why this little love letter from my son is so beloved.

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“Berth Day.”

“you Make Me relee relee Happy.”

If you know me even a little, you know that I live to throw things away . . . but this one is going in the “forever” stash.


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Halloween 2016: Thing 1 and Thing 2



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Additional Adventures in Land Between the Lakes

There is a sizable elk and bison preserve in the Land Between the Lakes, which we drove through after our legs called it quits on Saturday evening.  We saw lovely animals, after a time or two around the circular drive (it was warm, and they were reluctant to emerge from the cool too early):

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We also heard some haunting elk calls ring out as we settled into evening.  Wow, those would give you a chill if you were camping at night!

Unfortunately, we also quite a lot of another species: Humans Acting Stupidly.  Although the park rules are quite explicit about how to act in order not to harm or threaten the animals, we saw one man emerge from his car.  20 or so vehicles were strung out along the road as we watched an elk in a pool down below.  This guy thought it would be a good idea to wade through the grass simply so that he could get close enough to take a picture on his phone.  The elk tolerated this for a while, but as the man got closer, the elk turned and leaped quite ably out of the pond and up the hillside.  20 cars full of people lost out and one elk was startled simply because of one idiot.  Other strange sightings include a woman running back to her car to get her camera after she got her son into the right pose on top of  a rock.  Yes: she left her small child alone in the middle of a wildlife preserve full of huge beasts.  Sigh.  So our kids were treated to wild animals and much lecturing from us about good and bad behavior.  A win all around!


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Land Between the Lakes

Since it has finally cooled down in Kentucky, we’ve gotten the itch to get some hiking in.  It really is just too hot to enjoy much of it during the summer and early fall.  This week, the kids’ fall break, was our first chance to get away.  So Sydney took us four hours west, near the edge of the state, for a weekend of hiking and walks along the water in the Land Between the Lakes.  After a long night’s sleep in the lodge on Friday, the kids and I walked from our room over a lovely bridge and causeway, and then a couple of miles along the bridge and top of the Kentucky Dam.  It was a gorgeous Saturday morning:

lbl1 lbl2 lbl3After we met up with Sydney (who wanted to stand still and look at birds elsewhere), we took a long (5-mile) family hike inside the park:

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