Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hussite Service in Czech

                 Chandelier in St. Nicholas' Cathedral

Day 3: Sunday March 27th  Cool and cloudy, no rain!

Mom suggests that we try going to a church service—more out of curiosity than religious devotion to going to church every Sunday. We meet Lenka shortly before 10 and head to the nearby St. Nicholas Cathedral for a Hussite service. The yawning ceilings and arches gilded with gold inspire awe, along with the massive crystal chandelier above our heads. Soon the organ starts up, accompanied by what sounds like an operatic choir. There are only a few people here, mostly tourists like ourselves, so the Pastor (or whatever she may be called) does most of the singing of hymns and incantations. Unfortunately, her Czech sermon goes on for quite some time so we decide to sneak out during communion. More people have filed into the back during the service, their presence making our o’er hasty departure feel a little less sinful. I confess that sitting in the cold, wooden pew listening to a service in a foreign language helped me understand why churches were so elaborately decorated and why there was such a push to change Latin services into the local vernacular.

On to the train station to make reservations for our train on Monday. We then make our way to the Devil’s River area, which was ironically peaceful and filled with benches, walkways and parks. Lenka shows takes us to see several unique little pieces of art done by the Czech artist and sculptor, David Cerny . The first was a statue of two men, penises in hand, peeing on a map of the Czech Republic. Definitely not a piece of public art you would find in the US. God forbid you have a statue of a naked figure in public when a girl in lingerie lounges on a billboard nearby. The next was a series of three giant, crawling baby statues---but without faces. Lenka told us that the artist likes to make pieces that cause intrigue and attract attention. They definitely do. A quick walk past the Lennon wall---the only one allowed to have graffiti on it so it changes constantly. It was a symbol of rebellion during communist times. We were glad to get out of the Old Town area for a while. It is definitely a tourist hub. Another walk down the Charles Bridge and to a Czech Bakery for a treat—Lattes and Crepes—yum! Lenka has to work on a group project later in the afternoon however, so we bid her a sad goodbye after a short stop for a few souvenirs.

Now, mom and I are alone to navigate the city. We head back to the hotel before going back to the river to have a dinner on a boat, watching the sun set behind the castle. 

                 Part of the Lennon Wall

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