Monday, July 10, 2006

Cesky Krumlov

This past weekend, the program offered a trip to southern Bohemia and the town of Cesky Krumlov. Photos from the stops that we made on the way there and the city itself are posted here.

The highlight of the weekend tour was a concert in the Masquerade Hall of the Castle, where we heard Musica Bohemica performing Czech folk music. Everyone there was entranced by the joy the musicians were having, and we wouldn’t let them leave without three encores. Check them out. They remind me a little of Helicon, but their voices are as rich as any opera singers.

Along the way from Prague to Cesky Krumlov we passed countryside that looked a lot like the Hudson Valley, at least the rolling hayfields did. What’s different, are the stands of pine. Our tour guide said that 1/3 of the country is forested.

There are no shacks, strip malls, or anything else ugly, except for the largest nuclear power plant in the world. Right now it’s only running on two towers. Even though nuclear power terrifies me, it’s keeping the air quality here much cleaner than it used to be when the country relied much more on coal.

On the way back we stopped to see the National Museum of Photography, in Jindrichuv Hradec, where they were having an exhibit of the Czech tradition of nude photography. This was a great way to end the trip, because not only had I been spending the whole weekend taking photographs-no nudes unfortunately, but I did manage to catch a shot of a guy putting his pants back on after swimming in the river in Pisek—but, all of the photography students in the program were along on the trip, as was their instructor. I watched them when we made stops to see what they photographed. It was never the same thing as everyone else. They saw things that I would have easily passed right by and it made me realize that we’re all here trying to do the same things. Trying to see or say things in a way that isn’t ordinary even when the content is.

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