1 March 2012

Weekend in Prague

So I figured I'd write a bit about my weekend in Prague for those of you who want to read about that!

Berlin can be a grey, depressing town, particularly in the winter.  So it was nice to get out of the city for a few days and head to the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague.  While initially a shock to the system, where everything is written in a language I don't understand, I quickly remembered enough about the city to find my bearings and take public transit to my friend Ondrej's house.

You see, dear readers, I've been to Prague before.  Ondrej and I met in 2008 at a conference centered around the theme of Improvisation in Montreal.  In addition to being a Phd student in Philosophy in Prague, he's also a musician.  We exchanged music and both dug what the other was doing.  So when, in 2009, I was in Europe for another conference,* I visited Ondrej and his partner Halke, and their son in Prague for a few days.  During this time, I recorded some tracks on clarinet for Ondrej's band's last album.**

I've been wanting to get back to Prague to visit and perhaps collaborate on some more music with Ondrej.  He's now working on a solo album and wanted to lay down some hot clarinet action, and we spent an evening in the studio on this trip as well.

While the area that Ondrej and his family (with another child now) live in a very "Eastern-European" area of the city -- lots of grey apartment blocks, crappy stores, bad roads, etc. -- the old town is stunning, and makes Berlin look like a bleak grey shithole (no offense).

With some nice weather, Ondrej used my visit as an excuse to get out with the kids and see some of the areas in the city that they wouldn't normally.  We went to the west side of the Charles River, walked around the old castle, seeing the cathedral, and then climbed the hill to the observation point, where you can overlook the city.  There, I split off from my friends, needing to get away from the relentless, unbridled energy of the little ones (one's 6, the other's 2 1/2), and spent a couple of hours walking around, traversing the famous Charles Bridge, and just seeing the sights.

That evening was our studio evening, with Vladya the engineer.  I'm not sure how to describe Vladya.  He's the type of guy who just loves music.  He works for Radio Free Europe during the day and records music for people in his off hours.  He's also very enthusiastic about everything!  He took us to a bar, bought a round of beers***  He also got us these sandwiches which had cheese, pickles and chili peppers.  Sounds gross, but they were amazing.... and spicy.  Ondrej had to excuse himself to stop crying from the chili heat!  We also met this weird Jordanian guy who offered to share his weed with us.

The next day was a lazy Sunday.  I ended up staying at Ondrej's place and getting a lot of work done.  That night, Ondrej and I went on a little pub crawl of cool little music venues, getting to watch part of a Miles Davis concert video from the 80's (Look ma!  That keyboard player has a poodle on his head!), part of a documentary on building and racing a solar car, and avoiding a blues jam that wanted to charge us to get in.  However, we drank a lot of beer and still made it back before the metro stopped running.

Monday was also a "catch up on work."  But it was also a walk around and see how pretty the city is day.  Pictures:

The Cathedral at the Prague Castle

Detail on the Cathedral

City from the castle hill

Tourists (on the Charles Bridge)

Apparently, Jesus was a Jew.  Statue on Charles Bridge

Caption Contest!  My entry:  "Oh no!  It's Godzilla!"

The classic cathedral framed by another statue in the square.


* Ok, the conference was in London, but i took a few weeks after to do some Euro-tripping.

** They're called eggnoise, and their last album is called Yolk.  Look them up.  They're pretty awesome.

*** Beer is even cheaper in Prague than in Berlin.  A mug of beer at the local bar in Ondrej's neighbourhood cost less than 1 Euro each.

No comments:

Post a Comment