Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009


There is a cocktail bar we love here, called Hapu. Even after 8 years of drop by visits, we still don't know where its name comes from, but to us Hapu means cool atmosphere, drinks that deserve to show up on a dessert menu, and lots of memories. I've still never played the giant guitar yet though.

Happy Weekend!

Orlicka 8
13000 Prague 3

Monday, June 15, 2009

Design ideas everywhere

I'm trying to learn how to see with my new camera's eye, so I'm taking lots of shots and then thinking through my favorites. These are more pictures from our Trebon trip. I think they're telling me I see patterns everywhere, I need to work on my cropping before I get to Picasa, and boy is it fun to take pictures that you can blow up to high resolution and not find noisy specs in them!

Besides their clarity, I liked these pictures because of the way they made me think about design, both in photos and in buildings and signs. Here are some of those thoughts...

[1.] Curlicue shop sign. It says Drogerie kosmetika Judita or "Judith's cosmetics and bath supplies." A good reminder that local brands don't need to be immediately readable, and hey, ironwork is in!
[2.] Are Southern Bohemian facades designed to look like fluffy clouds, or is that just me?
[3.] Flower shots are addictive. Plus they count as design - look at those natural color contrasts.
[4.] Again with the S. Bohemian facade, here's another example of a building with sky aspirations (see those curly cloud corners?) The details aren't clear here, but the painting shows God and Jesus discussing the earth, while a devil of some sort writhes in the lower clouds. Home Baroque.
[5.] Symmetry in flowers is fun too (not to mention that playing with the depth of field in a new dslr while shooting flowers is like eating chocolate cake for breakfast.)
[6.] I love how the rigid patterns of the leaves contrast with the doodley ironwork of the tipped up chairs. Deliciously summer.
[7.] Squares are prolific in Czech street and facade design, especially in Prague. Are squares an urban thing? These squares didn't seem to fit in Trebon the way the curlicues did.
[8.] Leaves against the sky take just the right balance of light to get right. I took this by accident, then shot thirty more hoping I'd figure out the trick. Naturally, my first shot was the only one that worked.
[9.] Center - a small door that picks up on Trebon's sky and sunburst themes and delivers its message with beautiful simplicity.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Lilies of Trebon

lily collage 
We spent the weekend in our favorite Czech spa town, Třeboň, visiting one of our babysitters. It's June, but don't tell that to the weather - it has spat rain and chill at us for several weeks. I worried we'd be rained in all weekend too so packed books, paper and pencils, and found a room in a pension that was big enough for all four of us and then some.

My worries came to nothing. We did happily wear our winter coats Saturday morning, but by Sunday, shorts and t-shirts were in season. Saturday's market tempted us all out and around the old Třeboň square, where Caroline and her friend Kačinka looked at every single thing, and I may have taken a picture of every single thing, myself.

Luckily too, because as I scanned through my pile of pics from the weekend I noticed a theme emerge, a lily theme. And in one of the market shots I found a basket of wooden lilies, glowing if not gilded. The floating variety showed up in a canal just outside the city walls and in a fountain just inside the castle's.

Why are lilies so popular in Třeboň? I'd guess because it's a water town, right in the middle of the carp pond region of the Czech Republic, and just beside the largest of those ponds, Svět or the World. Even the town clown is water related, he's the local representative of the vodniks, water sprites who haunt ponds and lakes in the Czech Republic and are appeased by tobacco thrown into the water by fishermen before the carp haul begins each fall. (Note to self, I wonder if Třeboň's vodnik hoped for a plug himself!)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


I'm back! Actually I got home Monday night, but after an infinitely tiny amount of sleep all weekend, I really did not return until yesterday, or maybe this morning. How little? Thanks to jetlag, a minor flood and flights home I averaged 3 hours of sleep every night I was gone. Luckily the conference was worth it and I'm glad I've seen Phoenix at all hours of the day.

Here then are an assortment of pictures from the trip. From the left:
1. Sunrise over mountains and city, 2. Camelback Mountain from the airport (the camel is lying down, naturally); 3. native terrain; 4. patio misters working full blast to keep diners cool; 5. dressed up and ready to roll; 6. cactuses at sunrise; center: hotel escalator.

As with every collage, I'm struck by the coincidences. For example, my legs look remarkably like the cactuses to their left, do they not? More artistically, I liked how the hotel hung art that fit with their region (center), and reflected the sunrises that are understandably famous. I was actually glad to be jetlagged and awake at 4 since it gave me the chance to see the beautiful side of the city before it got very hot.

And thanks to being up and about early every morning, I managed to avoid getting rained on when the guy above me fell asleep in his bathtub with the water running. Blessings all around! (He survived with all but his ego intact, my suitcase and bed were not so lucky.)