July 9, 2007

Prague (Czech Republic)

The drive from Munich to Prague was our first true German "Autobahn" experience, with the disappearance of speed limit signs and a constant stream of BMWs and Audis bombing by at 200km/hr+.

We arrived in Prague late in the afternoon and spent hours walking along the Vltava river until nightfall. It was a clear day and the colors of the dense building blocks lining the streets were vibrant under the late afternoon sunlight. The scale of buildings and their components was larger in general (reminiscent of Rome in this way), with incredible detail on the many Art Nouveau facades and hundreds of spires that escaped the bombings from 20th century world wars.

Not many recent projects in Prague, but we did stumble across a few:
Frank Gerhy's iconic and overly-photographed Dancing House (Tancici dum) or "Fred & Ginger." The building meshes well with its surroundings and is an interesting sculptural form.
Under the Prague Castle ("THE" tourist trap... visit during the summer and you'll know what we mean!) was an oval-shaped, vertically oriented brick-lined pedestrian tunnel by AP Atelier. High-level craftsmanship and imaginative lighting. Rather hard to find it was outside and under the castle.
Hotel Josef, by Eva Jiricna Architects. An impressive facade with a characteristic fixed-awning sunscreen system.
The strangest encounter was the metallic Telivision Tower Zizkov (by Vaclav Auilcky and Jiri Kozak), a modern landmark with strange, over sized babies crawling up and down it (see photos!)

Beer consumption in the Czech Republic is second to none, with the average person consuming more than
280 pints annually. (And a bargain at 1 euro for a Pilsner Urquell in some areas!). We ate and drank well!

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