Monthly Archives: November 2009

IT’S NOT A EUROPEAN VACATION ADVENTURE UNTIL YOU…

– 30 Points that Document the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Fall Break 2009–
[Zürich, Amsterdam, Vienna, Salzburg, Budapest].

By: Andrea F. Pagliai

1. Miss a train to Zürich after mistaking the day for the time– damn military time.

Watch your boot heels in Amsterdam!

2. Break your boot heel and your Dutch friend’s bike, after being told to simply, “hop on” the back and hold on.

3. Almost miss the Amsterdam–>Vienna train because you were sending postcards; with eight minutes to departure you are thus forced to sprint to the lockers, take out your bags, run to the platform, see (joy!) that it is still in the station, find your wagon, open the already closed door (two minutes left!), throw your bags in, and just when you think you’ve made it– you trip on the bottom step, causing you board the train face first, thus making you…

4. End up more bruised than you ever thought was physically possible.

5. Get stolen from (by bitch-ass Austrian girls) on the sleeper train from Amsterdam to Vienna. (Money from me, Valium from my travel buddy. Not sure which is worst.)

6. Have an alcoholic drink before noon…it’s 5pm somewhere! (When in Europe, it’s usually Hong Kong)!

7. Take out too much foreign currency (Hungarian Forints in our case) after not bothering to check the exchange rate.

8. Getting walked-in on at the Széchenyi Hungarian Bathhouse changing room by an old wrinkly man–while in a compromising position– after failing to realize that the door, actually DID have a lock after all.

"For Sale Pub," Budapest, Hungary.

9. Feeling like you beat the local transport system in Budapest by using an expired metro-pass (after being adamantly warned by a local not to), only to get busted on your last day by an unflinching check-point guard outside of the metro, and having to pay a 6000 Forint (25 Euros) fine, when you only had 5000 Forints left the rest of your half-day in the city.

10.  Get bitched-out by a Hungarian dark witch working the bar at a place ironically called, “For Sale Pub,” when the customer service was the last thing that made you want to close escrow.

 

Continue reading

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Bohemian Gem

By: Andrea F. Pagliai

This had never happened before. My curiosity grew more and more as I transgressed through this museum’s particular Gothic collection. Normally, a museum with this caliber of art has a reputation, which precedes it; but this one did not.

St. Agnes Convent of Bohemia located in Prague's Old Town, Staré Město.

This collection, housed in the St. Agnes Convent is one of the most famous and oldest convents in all of Europe. The Old Master’s collection of Prague’s National Gallery contains art pieces and sculptures ranging from the 12th to the 15th centuries. It effectively traces the evolution of styles throughout Bohemian history, artistically depicting how the city became an intellectually prosperous and thriving cultural center.

However, few even know that this convent­–founded in the 13th century by the sister of Prague’s great King Charles the IV–even exists, or that it houses one of the Czech nation’s greatest collections, since it lies hidden among the winding cobble stoned streets in the far depths of Prague’s Old Town–Staré Město.

Separately and together, the convent and the collection are both historically weighty players in the greater scheme of the other historical monuments in Prague. This must be one of the most non-famous historical monuments I have ever seen.

The Gothic halls bordering the Convent's out-door courtyard.

The convent does not scream out like the other more overdone Gothic buildings. There is a certain simplicity, humility, and reverent factor to the structure that suits the essence of the collection perfectly. The sanctuary seems to shrink back at the thought of large crowds– the galleries are so small that they themselves would probably buckle with a group of more than 50 people at one time; a fraction of what a museum will take in a day.

While tourists and art-goers do trickle in-and-out of its pale stone pointed archways daily, Simon North, a Czech art and architecture professor at NYU in Prague confesses, “sometimes I see no one there at all.”  North believes the collection is deserving of more attention.

“What is special about this collection,” says North, “is that is an uniquely Bohemian work. It shows the coming to maturity of Gothic art in Bohemia and the flourishing of a local style,” later known as the Beautiful Style.

Given the significance of the art– why such a low profile?

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized