‘Haymaking’ by Brueghel the elder at Lobkowicz (above)
In Prague we stay in the Century Hotel in the centre of town. It’s a refurbishment of a big old insurance office and one of the rooms where Don and Fe Ross stayed on our previous tour here, is the actual office where Franz Kafka, the famous writer worked as an insurance clerk. it has Kafka memorabilia on the walls and Don said it was really spooky staying there!
The Century has a very friendly bar and barman who makes anyone superb cocktails and after performances we hang out there far too late. By contrast in the morning, I give my talks in the bar on the next evening’s performance. At 9 am, it’s deserted and ideal for everyone to bring their cup of coffee and to listen in desultory fashion to my words of wisdom and selections of the music to be played on my Bluetooth speaker set.
Today is our last day in Prague on our visit for the annual Prague Spring Festival, one of the oldest and finest music festivals in Europe. and this morning we had a fantastic tour of the Lobkowicz Palace and art collection in Prague Castle. Prague Castle on the hill over the Vltava river is an extraordinary treasure of art and artifacts and magnificent buildings, more like a royal enclave or small town than a castle. In its middle is St Vitus Cathedral. The great Lobkowicz collection is one of the great private collections in the world, exploited and dispersed for personal gain by the Nazis, but recently fully restored and generously given to the state of the Czech Republic by the Lobkowicz family. We had a private tour of the collection and it was followed by a wonderful performance in a great room of the Palace by the Lobkowicz Trio of Brahms Piano Trio op 87 and Shostakovich Piano Trio No 2.