Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Doors and Windows

A diversion of sorts, if you will indulge.  The path to Vienna for our family has been filled with the sound of doors closing and windows opening (and breaking).   Or perhaps it's a different sound....."The Sound of Music", a movie Jake watches repeatedly and will no doubt watch again this very weekend.  Put me on Team Fraulein Maria when she exits the Abbey toward her future and says, "When the Lord closes a door.....somewhere He opens a window."

There are times, however, one needs to take a moment and embrace the closed doors without hurrying to find the open window.  A stroll along our street is one of those times.

My head really needs to be on a swivel stick as I fully expect to bounce off a pole someday and I don't mean a long lost relative (insert family shout out here-come visit!).  The first time we walked from StadPark to Rennweg, all I could say was "the doors!....ooooh the doors....oh, look at those doors!"  Repeated so many times you would think Jim Morrison was taking a curtain call.  Doors both beautiful and closed, guarding the mystery inside.

Art Nouveau
Circles and Scrolls
Art Deco Combo
Actual Door Closed-Window Open
1905 Dude Over Greek Key
Detailed Delight
Shell Game

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I Broke The Apartment

It was bound to happen because nothing is ever perfect, try as we might.  30 minutes until company arrived.  The rain storm had rolled through and the steamy weather gave way to refreshing evening breezes.  Diana Krall was jazzing up on the new wireless stereo speaker, the champagne was chilling along with the prosciutto and melon appetizers.  

Elegant Evening Ahead
I stopped snapping at the "help" (Mike and Jake) to clean faster and decided to take one last walk through to make sure we were ready for guests.  After all, this was our first small soiree in a new home and I was nervous, the apartment had to be perfect!  It was at that moment, I decided to open the living room windows for some fresh air.  It was also at that moment, a gale force wind blew through the room slamming both windows closed causing the exterior window to shatter.  Shards glass crashed to the street below, scattering along the sidewalk and on top of parked cars.  It was a scene from "The Omen" without the creepy music or decapitation.  

I frantically closed what was left, leaving the curtain flapping outside the apartment, my screaming causing the other windows to shake in their frames.  Mike rushed down to the street to make sure no kinders, puppies or Porsches were injured and began picking up the glass.  When he returned and asked what the bleep happened, I told him: "I broke the apartment."

Missing His Buddy

Pane Full to See

Shards Still on the Sill
Today, my reflection is on the perfect moments, instead of the perfect apartment.  The clink of the crystal instead of the crash glass.  The happy memory of cheers and conversation.  The relief that there were no injuries or damaged property below.  The prayer that the rental insurance adjusters have not seen The Omen.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Where The Streets Have No Name

It seems that everyone got the same telegram:  Go to Prague STOP It will be hot and humid STOP You will cram the streets STOP This is your vacation STOP.

Well, we did what we were told and just spent the better part of 5 days in Prague along with most of Italy, Japan, Germany, England and America.  The City of A Thousand Spires was crawling with humanity in a horrendous soup of heat and humidity.  A smelting pot, if you will.

There is a big difference between Prague and Vienna.  In Vienna, the moment a pedestrian steps into the street, drivers stop the car.  They might not be thrilled, but they stop and wait.  In Prague, drivers not only speed up, they do it gleefully, hoping to run you down.  Jake will attest to the fact that children are fair game.  We adapted to this new order in short order.

For visitors, Prague is a walking city, a cobblestone city, a Bohemian city, a hostel and backpacking city, a beer city, a patchwork of elegance and despair woven together.  It is a city curving with art nouveau facades mixed with the geometry of the cubist movement along with shards of Communism.  It is also a city where the centuries old Jewish Ghetto is now adjacent to the modern day luxury shopping avenue, where Jesus and Jazz coexist on the Charles Bridge.  We hoofed it through a crossroads of history, from Prague Castle to the Museum of Communism.

Old Town Square

Astronomical Clock est. 1410

Colors of Old Town

Pick Your Poison

Havel Market est. 1232

Marketplace Goodies

Ooo, hoo Witchy Woman
One of Many Fine Czech Brews
Old Jewish Cemetery 
Prague at Night
Estates Theatre
Charles Bridge
View to Prague Castle
Jazz and Jesus
The Johnsons Take Prague 
St. Vitus Cathedral 
Cubist House of the Black Madonna
Relics of the Past

Museum Next to McDonald's and Casino

Church of Mother of God Before Tyn from Astronomical Clock Tower Take 1

Take 2
As we left Vienna last Sunday, a neighbor asked if we were escaping to the lake country.  "Oh, NO!" I exclaimed with excitement, "We are going to Prague!"  As the elevator door closed he responded, "Well, Prague is a city."  Now I know what he means.  Everyone should look both ways and experience Prague, the City.