European Tour July 2004
Here's Annette getting ready to embark, on the way to Prague. Notice that the passengers are using good old fashioned rolling stairs to get on. This happens a lot at Charles de Gaulle airport.
This is a view from our hotel in Prague, the Park Hotel. The silouette in the foreground, is Nils. The Park Hotel was built in the 1960s to house the Soviet dignitaries that would come to visit. As a result, it sticks out architecturally.
Here's Annette on the walking tour of Prague. We have no idea which church this is, there were so many.
Another church on the walking tour of Prague.
Annette in front of the church from the previous picture.
Prague loves cobblestones. They're everywhere, streets, sidewalks, you name it. Here's a quaint little street that, other than the signs and automobiles, could be Mozart's view as he staggers from an all-night party, two and a half centuries ago.
Here's another picturesque church.
This is a nice, Baroque-looking building. I have no clue of its pedigree.
Here's Annette in a large plaza with a nice panorama of Prague in the background.
Here's Nils is the same plaza -- just to prove we were there.
A gorgeous view of tile roofs of Prague.
More tile roofs. The gold-trimmed building is a performance hall on the banks of the Vlatava.
Here is a mini version of the Eiffel Tower. It is actually taller than the original (which is 885 feet), though it helps that it is sitting on top of a 600 foot tall hill.
This house (and many others on the same grand scale), were the residences of wealthy nobles. They are now owned and maintained by the government and are part of the castle district.
Now we are getting to the central castle in Prague, still the seat of government, though now elected. The spires in the distance are those of St. Vitus Cathedral.
This is the entrance of the castle. The castle was last unified in style by a late 19th century queen (who's name escapes me at the moment). The architect she hired brought in this weird, multi-armed creature guarding the facade.
Here's another view of the 6-armed critter. Notice the unique flagpoles. They are made from single trunks of local pine trees found in the forests around Prague (Czech Bohemia).
This is the gate to the seat of Czech political power. It also shows the bases of the flagpoles.
This is a view of the spires and ornamental stonework of St. Vitus Cathedral.
This is a close-up of the main ``rosette''. It has all the style and flourish of work done in the 17th and 18th century. If you look closely at the lower corners of the rosette, you will see carvings of people in modern suits -- the stonework was completed in the early 20th century.
This is the interior of the main corridor of St. Vitus Cathedral.
This is the organ in the cathedral.
I thought this was a really cool looking door. It brings to mind a medieval dungeon.
This is the central castle's ``emergency backup church''. Actually not, it is the side nave of the St. Vitus Cathedral. It sports some nice gilding and mosaic tile work.
Here are the ornate (and very functional) buttresses of the cathedral.
This is the long staircase going down from the castle along the fortress walls.
Another view of the cathedral spires from a different part of the nobles district.
Here we are on the Charles Bridge (Karluv Most). King Charles had this built in the 14th century. The statues lining the rails are made of sandstone. The industrial age pollution (mostly coal soot) has rendered them irreversibly pitch black. ``Progress'', I guess.
A picturesque view of the Vlatava (the Moldau) from the Charles Bridge. As you can see, the Moldau has been tamed by the use of river walls and locks.
Annette and Nils on the Charles Bridge with the Moldau in the background.
Here we are in Wenceslaus Square. You can see where Disney ripped off the architecture for its magic kingdom.
This is the astronomical clock that is in Wenceslaus Square.
Here is a close-up of the clock face.
This is the other side of the Charles Bridge. The entrance arches to the bridge are assymetric. The previous side has two towers with the arch between them. This side has one tower with the arch under it.
Here is another view of the Charles Bridge at dusk. Prague is at 51 degrees north latitude, so it stays fairly light late during the summer months. This picture was taken at about 8:30pm local time.
Here is a view of the Charles Bridge from below.
Much like Los Angeles has the fiberglass angels painted up by local artists and put on display throughout the city, Prague has fiberglass cows. Some of them are quite clever.
This was our favorite...
This was our rehearsal hall for the most of our time in Prague. It is an orchestra sized recording studio, home of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra.
This particular hill holds a special place in the hearts of the Czech people. Legend has it that when the first Czech kings were leading their people in flight from conflict, they looked around from this hill and decided the land was fertile enough, and they would put down roots of their civilization.
Now we are in Terezin, a Nazi prison camp ``way station'' for prisoners being sent to other concentration camps. This is a monument, a virtual cemetary if you will, representing those who died here, usually of starvation, but sometimes by firing squad.
Terezin was originally built in the late 18th century as a fortress for a war that already happened. Warfare advanced to such a state that this fortress wasn't of much use, so it became a prison. Basically, it always was a prison, the Nazis just made it famous. This is a view to what originally would have been the moat.
This is one of the long corriders on the outside of the fortress. The corridor goes for over 500 meters. You can see the holes for defending the fort.
Here is the same corridor viewed from the outside.
Here is an open area within the fort.
More views of the internal structures of the fort.
This is a courtyard that the Nazis built to house yet more prisoners (over-crowding was rampant). I took the picture mostly for the cloud formations in the distance.
Another view from the outside.
The landscape in Czech Bohemia looks a lot like this. With the conical peaks, I suspect that area was volcanic in eons past.
This is the central castle in the small town of Nelahozaves, the place where Antonin Dvorak was born. The castle is owned by the Lobkovitz family, who have turned it into an overpriced (by Czech standards) museum.
Here is the central courtyard of the castle.
Here is a statue commemorating the town's favorite son.
Here's Nils with the above statue.
This is the house in which Dvorak was born. Young Antonin was destined to be a butcher like his father, but an esteemed musician in Prague recognized his talent and convinced Antonin's father to let him seek a career in music.
This is Nils with ``Dvorak's viola''. This is probably not quite right. Dvorak's viola, that he used while he was in Karl Komcak's orchestra, is in the Dvorak Museum in Prague.
This is a portrait of Dvorak.
This is a tombstone for Dvorak. I'm not sure if his remains are really in the earth there.
This is a picture of Romauld Bachmayer (known as Bachey) and Annette in front of the Dvorak birthplace.
This is Liz Bachmayer (Bachey's daughter and a cello player in the orchestra) and Annette in front of the Dvorak house.
They grow a lot of sunflowers in the Czech Republic.
Here we are, getting ready to rehearse at our first concert venue, the Narodni Dum. The man on the left is Allen Gross, the conductor and the man toward the center is Richard Grayson, the harpsichord player.
As you can see, the concert salon is quite ornate.
Here are some orchestra members on break (left to right), Tony Ginter (far left) Liz Bachmayer, Stephanie Emery, Michael Emery, Steve Velez, and Beth (last name unknown). Mark Wamhof, the baroque trumpet soloist, is visible on stage.
More orchestra members on break.
Here we find ourselves at the Bertramka Estate. Mozart spent quite a lot of time here. This is where he finished up his opera Don Giovanni. The estate is in the suburbs of Prague now. I am sure it was quite a bit more pastoral during Mozart's time.
Here are more views of the terrain of Bertramka.
And some more ...
Annette with a bust of Mozart.
An exterior view of the back salon which is now used as a gift shop and performance venue for student musicians.
Now we move to the interior of the main house, which is now a museum. I really liked the decoration on the ceiling -- kind of rustic and ornate at the same time. The white ceramic fixture in the corner is a heater. One would burn coal in the combustion chamber, vent it to the outside. The heater and ductwork would be hidden by this ornate ceramic, while still being able to heat the room. The image is a bit blurry because we could not use the flash.
This is a harpsichord that Mozart is known to have played.
This is a basset horn from Mozart's time. Again, sorry for the blurry image, no flashes allowed.
This is a bassoon for which Mozart would have written. Notice how much simpler the keys are compared to a modern bassoon.
This is a Mozart-era clarinet. Again, notice the simpler key mechanisms.
And finally, a Mozart-era oboe, with its requisite simpler mechanisms.
This is a virginal (or clavichord). One would not usually concertize with this instrument, it's too quiet. This was usually used for practice and/or ``trying out'' new melodies during composition.
The billing for our first concert in Narodni Dum, Prague.
Pre-concert warmup. Notice that the men are without jackets. It was unbearably hot in the hall (no AC).
This is the Barbora Restaurant with a really groovy roof. No, really, this is the Church of Santa Barbora in Kutna Hora.
More views of the church ...
yada ... Can you tell I like architecture?
However, Annette and Nils were a bit churched out by this point, so we skipped the interior visit and walked around town with its picturesque narrow streets ...
... and its ornate cisterns ...
... and its patterned cobblestone streets and sidewalks ...
... and the outskirts of town, with their rolling hills in the distance ...
... and their perfectly parallel-parked tractors ...
... and their hillside residences ...
... and their houses on the hilltop ...
... and their winding country roads.
... and ponds.
After leaving Prague, we head for Czech Moravia and the town of Kromeriz. This is the central palace there ...
... with a typical 18th century entrance ...
and a view of the castle spire from the central courtyard. This castle was used for the interior scenes of the Milos Forman movie, ``Amadeus''.
This is the grand salon of the castle. This room is huge, 14 meters wide, 16 meters tall, and 30 meters deep. The decorations are definitely ``over-the-top'', mostly due to the mixture of gold, silver, and crystal motifs ...
... but the ceiling mural ...
... is stunning.
Another neat touch are the tools and implements that make up the bas-relief decorations between and over the doors and panels, representing architecture ...
... painting ...
... the hunt ...
... the theater ...
The wood floors in each of the rooms are unique and at least 250 years old, so the caretakers had us wear these shoe coverings to protect them. Here's Annette sporting the chic blue ones ...
... and Nils with the sporty red ones.
Here's Nils all dressed up for the concert (and no where to go ...)
``Take the picture!''
This is another particularly stunning ceiling mural. It is a bit more recessed and has a lot more texture than the ceiling in the grand salon.
This is Beth (the principal viola player) in front of a very ornate ceramic room heater. Allen Gross can just be seen in the lower right of the photo.
This is part of the library of the castle. I think the tour guide said there were over 40,000 volumes in this library. In central ``pens'', there are several globes of the heavens, as well as Earth.
This is Jill (the flute player) in the foreground with yet more of the enormous book collection in the background.
Looking out from the castle at a church nearby.
The gardens around the castle are works of art. This is one in the central courtyard as you enter the castle.
As you go around back of the castle ...
... there is this stretch of the original castle protection wall.
Here's another view of it.
However, the landscape feature of note is this lovely garden sculpture in the grounds back of the castle.
The gardens have a nice footpath with a pretty pond ...
... and ducks in the pond.
After spending a day and a half in Kromeriz, it was time to head to Poland. Here's some rolling terrain in Czech Moravia. The clear cut on the the hill is probably a sign that this slope is used for skiing in winter months.
Here we are in the town of Cesky-Tesin, on the border with Poland. The tour bus blew a water pump here, so we had an unplanned layover of about 6 hours here.
Now we are in the city of Krakow. This cobble-stoned path is the site of the original moat that protected the village from attack in medieval times.
If I'm not mistaken, this is the courtyard of Collegium Malus of Krakow University. Copernicus studied here. It is raining, so you can see the roofs glisten and the raindrops streaking through the field of view.
This is the Sukiennice (Cloth Hall), in the center of Rynek Glowny (the Great Square). The Sukiennice houses a covered market and art gallery.
Here's Annette sporting a snail barrette she found in one of the stalls of the Sukiennice.
At one corner of Rynek Glowny, there stands the Mariaki Church (St. Mary's Basilica). The spires are uneven because they were built by two brothers, each trying to outdo the other. Every hour, from the spire on the left, a solitary trumpeter plays a short melody, stopping 5 notes into the second refrain to commemorate the time of the Mongol invasion when the trumpeter was shot through the neck with an arrow, mid-refrain.
Near Rynek Glowny, one can find beautifully adorned horses pulling tourists in carriages.
This is a theater near Rynek Glowny.
Here's Annette at a restaurant a few blocks from Rynek Glowny.
I think this is the Tyniec Abbey, though I could be wrong.
Now we are on the outside of Wawel castle. This is part of the fortifications. Liz Bachmayer can be seen far left (under the umbrella), while her sister, Mary can be seen in the hood.
This is a view up the incline toward Wawel Castle.
Another view of the castle.
The church inside the castle grounds.
A view of our tour group in one of the narrow cobble-stoned streets. Scott, one of the oboe players, can be seen in the middle of the picture.
This is a picturesque entrance tower to something or other.
Here's a view of the Wysla river.
Nothing special about this picture, I just thought is was neat to see all of these 50s era lined up in a row.
This is our concert billing in Krakow.
Here we are at the venue for our Krakow concert, the St. Catherine Concert Church.
Another view of the gothic entrance.
Here's an interior shot of St. Catherine's.
A view towards the pipe organ.
The audience milling in ...
The pipe organ.
Now we find ourselves on the road to Zakopane in the south of Poland ...
... and on the way, we discovered where cousin ``It'' from the Addams Family comes from, Gmina Poronin.
Here are some Zakopane locals ...
... braving the rain.
A partially completed building on the road to Kosice, Slovakia.
Now we are on our way to Tokaj, Hungary. I could be wrong on this one, but I believe that these are the ruins of Tokaj castle.
Another view of the ruins.
Here is church in central Tokaj.
Another view of the church.
Here we are at the concert venue in Tokaj. We were originally supposed to play in a war-damaged synagogue, but the recent heavy rains made that plan impractical. So we ended up playing in a de-consecrated Russian Christian Orthodox church turned art gallery. The keyboard player, Richard Grayson, can be seen far left, Liz Bachmayer, cello, in the center, and Susan Grayson, on the far right.
Here we are, all situated and ready to play.
Here's a picture of cellist, Linda Bourque.
Here's a birds-eye view of the orchestra, ready to perform.
The concert is over, and we are enjoying the after-dinner meal. This is Michael Green, Deborah Young, and Stephani & Michael Emery.
Another picture of Michael and Deborah.
Another picture of Stephani and Micheal.
This is a picture of Nils, Karen, ???, and Annette.
This is a picture of our bus driver, Jarda Navhral, and our tour guide, Jarek Smekal. Both are Czech.
This is Paul Pattengale and Liz Bachmayer.
This is Romauld Bachmayer and his daughter, Mary.
This is Leo, Liz Foldi (violin), Steve Velez (cello), and Michael Polcino (double bass).
Now we leave Tokaj and are on our way to Eger. Here is some of the Hungarian countryside.
Here we are at petrol station in Eger.
Here we are in the central square, Eger.
A minaret spire on the Eger skyline.
This is a view to the entrance of a museum in Eger.
Another view of the Eger skyline.
Here we are on the planet, ``Bob's Shoe World'' ... no, wait, we are in Budapest, with Bobs Tour. I thought it was an odd name for a tour company.
This is the Millenary Monument, the central feature of Heroes Square.
This picture shows the base of the previous pillar in greater detail. These characters are mostly Magyar kings and knights, responsible for the founding of Hungarian identity.
This is a museum on Heroes Square.
This is another museum flanking Heroes Square.
An 18th century style building with a very green roof. The man in the foregroud with the ball cap is Richard Grayson, the orchestra keyboard player.
In a park a little off Heroes Square, there is this picturesque castle, Vajdahunyad vara.
A third view.
Annette and Nils with Vajdahunyad in the background.
Now we find ourselves on a walking tour of Castle hill, on the Buda side of town. This is a picture of the Danube with the Parlament building on the river bank.
Another view of the Danube looking upstream.
Yet another view of the Parlament building.
A view of the Pest part of town from Castle hill.
Another view of the Danube looking upstream
A parapet of the Buda wall lookout.
This is the Matyas Templom in the Castle hill district.
Another view of Matyas
A close up of the ornate roof tile work.
What trip to central Europe would be complete without a picture of the famed East German Trabant?
Just in case Judit gives up on this astronomy thing, she has a sideline business of selling souvenirs.
A picture of Michael and Deborah.
A view of the Szabadsag Szobor sculpture.
Another view, this time from the Pest side of the Danube.
A wider angle view of Szabadsag Szobor.
A view of the Danube on the Szabadsag bridge, through the rain.
A view of the Parlament building from Danube level.
Another view of the Parlament building from Danube level.
This is a picture of the Erzsebet bridge taken from the Szabadsag bridge.
Yet another view of the Parlament building from Danube level.
The Erzsebet bridge.
This is the Budapest Museum
This is a view along the pedestrian walkway of the Szabadsag bridge.
A view toward the spires of the Szabadsag bridge.
This is a view of the Szechenyi bridge.
This is a view of the ``chain-link'' anchors of the bridge. A bridge of similar design crossing the Ohio river collapsed in 1963. That had a single chain links as opposed to 13 in parallel, which made the Ohio river bridge much more vulnerable to single-point failure.
Here we are doing a sound check for our final performance at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Assembly for the group photo at the end of the performance.
The viola section of the Santa Monica Chamber Philharmonia 2004, Stephani Emery, Nils Turner, and Beth ???
The orchestra groupies.
Nils and Annette, after the concert.
Some remains of the Roman outpost that used to be on the site where Budapest is now.
A bird looking for food on the Danube shores.
A very aesthetic chandelier in the lobby of the Intercontinental Hotel, Budapest.
Now we head to the town of Szentendre at the Danube bend.
The Danube at Szentendre, looking the other direction.
Annette at the banks of the Danube.
A narrow alley in Szentendre.
Nils walking through said alley.
A ``Bourne Identity'' street.
Time to fly back to the U.S. We flew out of Vienna, Austria. On the way, we passed through a wind farm. Notice the red and white Austrian motif on the windmill blade tips.
Our final stop before landing in the U.S., the international terminal at Charles de Gaulle airport and its stunning architecture.