Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Caroline blogs on her birthday

This morning was very wonderful. It was so cool because today is my birthday. For breakfast I had a chocolate croissant and an egg and also tea out of my special tea cup. It is a special tea cup because it is Mommie’s and mine. On the teacup is a picture of a frog. His name is Jeremy Fisher. I got dressed after breakfast. I put on a short sleeve stripy t-shirt, jeans with picasu and my blue heart necklace. I then brushed my hair. My hair today is short because yesterday I went to the hairdresser. The hairdresser is my favorite hair dresser because the name of the store has my name in it. It is Salon Karolina. I like short hair because now I can brush it by myself. The End.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fore and Aft

popcorn flowers
In a few weeks these flowers will be gone, to be replaced by the children's favorite entertainment on a country walk - little white berries that go !pop! when you step on them.

C picked this bouquet for me, and after we'd marvelled over the cute little freckles on the flowers, we decided that the best way to keep them forever would be for us to take their portrait.

So I did. Here it is Caroline!

Friday, June 04, 2010

A Day at the Spa

collage of Lazne Belohrad, Czech Republic
We've visited spas before at Kolokolo, heading to Třebon three times in the last few years. This year our sitters went to new spa just north of Prague in Lázně Bělohrad. After giving them a few weeks to discover the best cukarna in town, we went to visit.

The spas our sitters stay in are health oriented, not aesthetic, and this particular spa focuses on peat bath treatments and lots of exercise. We didn't try the mud baths, but we did go on a walk around the town and into the countryside, passing by the {1} fields of new wheat as we walked. Most of the spa buildings are new, but {2} this one is a reconstructed building that was part of the original spa built in the late 1800s.

All of the spa buildings were in beautiful shape, and the town nearby was bustling and full of commercial life. Once we walked downtown to the main square, we discovered the unreconstructed side of the town, including {3} Lázně Bělohrad's local chateau. It may be crumbling into decay, but its guardian eagle still stands proudly by the main doors. I liked the irises the town planted to keep the eagle company. {4} The main square is a mix of Asian dry good stores and Czech butchers. The facades are beautiful but, like the chateau, crumbly.

{5} I thought it apt that the most prominent building in town was not the chateau, or the city hall but...a pharmacy.

{6} Walking in the countryside, we passed carefully maintained gardens and country cottages, and this well channeled stream. It seemed a lively answer to the {center} town map I found stenciled on the chateau's wall.

cukarna = sugar shop, or candy store. A very Czech version of a coffee/ice cream parlor, they usually stock any candy you can imagine and are delightfully child friendly in a way that a formal coffee house is not.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The World Outside Her Door

We're in the middle of a bad weather stretch of days - rain and chilly temperatures. My tomato plants are not pleased. The weekend promises better things though, and in anticipation I've updated kolokolo a bit. I widened my template to make room for bigger pictures, changed the colors (yet again), and added a new, probably temporary, header. Funny how a little sprucing up can make everything feel cheery again!
All the photos in this collage are from May and a particularly valiant sunny day. C, if you can't see her, is standing in our building's hallway about to head out. I made sure to be armed with my camera that day because I knew the light would be beautiful on the buildings. They are all from the late 19th, early 20th century, which was when our neighborhood really came into its own. I particularly like these two towers and how different they are. One of them is a water tower and one a church tower. Can you tell which is which?

Lynn is right - the Vinohrady Water Tower is the beautiful neo-renaissance building on the left, and the Congregational Hussite Church is on the right. Wikipedia has a pretty good article on the Hussites here.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Pillar to Post

Prague photo galleries are full of black and white photos of architecture, bridges, sign posts and people from the 1950s through '89. Every image I have of the country in my mind, pre-revolution, is in black and white. As if all the color were seeped out of the landscape by the politics of Communism.

But of course Prague wasn't black and white before 1989. The city had values and variations then too. Today I decided to play with what an old photo might look like, in four color. Here are two photos I took of a resolutely Prague view - one in black and white and one, for contrast, in technicolor. Which do you like better?

Tricky, I know!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Spring storm over fields

fields of rapeseed in bloom in the Czech Republic
There are times I love the tyranny of perspective.