Eastern Europe

September 9, 1999


"A picture is worth a thousand of our words"

- Ron and Susan Antinori

Prague, Czech Republic:


p0001363.jpg (28675 bytes) Of all the cities we went to, Prague did the best job of incorporating contemporary art and architecture into their ancient city.  No idea what this sculpture was about, but it was fascinating, the directions were in Czech...it's next to a theater where Mozart hung out...




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Something old, something new: a Marks & Spencer Dept store  next to a palace






p0001391.jpg (32245 bytes)  They wouldn't let Ron play, even after he went back to the hotel for his ukulele...In the main square, anything goes and everyone went






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View from the top of Old City Hall,  Ron grew wings for this  shot





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Baroque, anyone?






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The city of a thousand spires






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  Great street life in Praha..this neighborhood goes up to the castle and is the thickest of crowds we saw.  In general there was no one there...the town felt subdued and quiet.  Don't tell anyone




p0001427.jpg (30009 bytes) As pretty as Paris...







p0001431.jpg (30740 bytes)  Even, perhaps, prettier.







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One of Prague's martyrs by fire Jan Hass, a liberal preacher. The governors burned those they didn't like, the people would throw their unpopular rulers out windows, it was called defenestrations.




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Here he is again, in reality he was short and fat...it's a great statue, and a popular meeting up spot people and pigeons





p0001446.jpg (28529 bytes) The famous astronomical clock   All the tourists gather below for the show on the hour, death turns over the hourglass, the Turk nods his head, the apostles parade, it's quite a timely thing





p0001458.jpg (26420 bytes)  Prague does a beautiful job of blending the old and new, here's the old National Theater, the foundation of which was laid with a block from each part of the country and those blocks came into the city behind a procession of 50,000 citizens.  They love Art here...




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The bubble wrap building houses offices of the National Theater






p0001462.jpg (23558 bytes)  Vlana river...smaller than the Danube, but just as pretty...has a famous bridge called the Charles Bridge that everyone walks on, back and forth, just to see and be seen.





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Whoops, someone let one of those modern architects in the gates...this is deliberate, and a lot of fun...Gehry at his most whimsical, it's called the Dancing Building




p0001478.jpg (20439 bytes) We thought Denmark had beautiful cemeteries, but this one had an art nouveau gothic church....for real! As well as an arcade lined with the tombs of the famous dead, like Dvorak,  way above the madding crowds on a hill above Praha







Budapest, Hungary


p0001493.jpg (21176 bytes) View from our hotel room...kept us awake at night, we couldn't find the switch.  That's the castle on Castle Hill in Buda.

It was completely bombed by the Germans in the 40s, and then rebuilt exactly.  Now it's several museums



p0001496.jpg (20704 bytes) Budapest may be Susan's ancestral home (she claims half blood) but the people are such a melting pot, like America, starting with the Celts of all people, then  Romans, Turks, Italians, Germans, Austrians,  and now Americans.   The Hapsburgs, thanks goodness, did the planning




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Row, row, row your boat...does anyone know the words to the Blue Danube?




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Roar...this handsome fellow is on the Chain bridge which crosses the Danube between Buda and Pest...now how many of you knew there were two towns  here? Buda was once the prominent one, but now it's Pest




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  Ron's getting good at this picture  thing, that's the House of    Parliament in Pest, taken from Buda.  You can get confused where you are.




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From Buda, looking at Pest, that's the Chain Bridge, the oldest and grandest of bridges, also bombed by the Nazis and rebuilt using the original plans from 1800s




p0001516.jpg (23652 bytes) Who's that...?  Caught in the web?  Is that Art Nouveau or







p0001526.jpg (20657 bytes)   St Michael, the patron saint of Hungary...and first king








p0001528.jpg (18602 bytes) We have no clue what this instrument is and he didn't speak English and Hungarian is a ridiculous language, it's related to Finnish, of all things, but the music sounded good...







p0001529.jpg (22718 bytes)  Pest from Buda







p0001531.jpg (28492 bytes)  Buda from Buda.  This folly used to be the fish market, now they charge the tourists to walk on it and the Hilton put up a cafe under it





p0001536.jpg (28663 bytes)  There weren't any Operas being performed, but this is where we would have gone...it's really splendid inside, but too dark for our camera






p0001539.jpg (27259 bytes)  A bad patch job or a deliberate memory, the Nazi's were here, they bombed 30,000 buildings.  Along the Andressy Ut you can see the signs really clearly





p0001544.jpg (23915 bytes)  Picasso was here...he's everywhere






p0001547.jpg (15280 bytes)  Hero's Square, beyond which is a gorgeous park where you can actually lose the Americans and see mostly natives

All the visiting dignitaries come here to lay a wreath on the nation's altar and it's devilish hard to get a good shot








p0001560.jpg (28630 bytes)Who is that tall man?






Prague, The Czech Republic - While visiting Prague on their Ramble, Mr. and Mrs. Ron Antinori accidentally discovered this hitherto unpublished poem believed to be the work of Edgar Allen Poe.  Mr. Antinori found the poem in the process of checking out of their hotel room while he was performing his standard exhaustive procedure of searching for articles of clothing and other items possibly left behind by Mrs. Antinori.  The poem was carved into the mattress slats.  It is a known fact that Mr. Poe slept here and tortured by visions of black cats, preferred to sleep on the floor under the bed.
          It is believed that this poem was Mr. Poe's earlier attempt in the use of rhyming iambic pentameter which set the stage for the publication of his first ornithology series called The Canary followed a few years later by his more successful poem, The Cuckoo.
          The publishers of this article take absolutely no responsibility for the accuracy of this account and apologize to Mr. Poe and his assigns for any embarrassment it may cause.  We also apologize to Mrs. Antinori for publishing this document over her strong objections.


The Concierge

Once upon a morning early, while I Rambled, feeling surly,
Over thoughts of chambers dreary, wearily I did deplore,
While I grumbled, gently rocking, suddenly there came a socking,
As if someone rudely knocking, knocking on my bedroom door,
"Tis some chambermaid", I mumbled, "socking on my bedroom door –
Only this, and nothing more."

Oh so clearly I recall, having stepped into the hall,
My robe flapping , firmly catching in the locking of the door
There was I without my keys, breezes wafting round my knees
Looking for the absent sleaze, sleaze who socked my bedroom door,
For that person who has left me with this daunting ghastly chore,
Chilly thoughts and nothing more.

As I pulled my robe around me did I rip it off so soundly,
Naked in the hall stood I before my bedroom door,
Yelling, screaming, heart a beating, squirming there repeating
"Tis me beseeching entrance through my bedroom door-
A naked visitor beseeching entrance through my bedroom door
Twas only me and nothing more."

Suddenly my resolve did peak when I heard a voice bespeak,
A sound familiar whispering behind my bedroom door,
Eagerly I began to blather, trying to explain the matter,
Standing there my robe a tatter, a tatter on that hallway floor
Praying for a quick salvation as furtively did I implore,
"Tis only me and nothing more."

The errant Gods of destiny, playing games deplorably,
Thought I with barren feet upon that cold and dusty floor.
"Who is out there loudly rapping, while I lay here soundly napping,
Please becalm that noisy yapping, yapping at my bedroom door."
Said she so sweetly, my wonderfully completely sweet Suenor,
"But it’s only me and nothing more"

"Get thee gone" she drows’ly said, "My husband’s near me still in bed"
Came that voice I’ve known a lifetime as my sweet Suenor,
"Oh be merciful I did extol, please look through the door’s peephole,
Beset your eyes upon this mole, a mole you’ve surely known before"
Hoping to expediate my rapid entry through my bedroom door,
"I have this mole and nothing more."

In the midst of this affair, arrived the concierge so debonair,
Casting eyes upon my naked torso shaking to the core,
"Monsieur, I’m sure you think me bold but I’m sure to catch a cold
And if the brazen truth be told, told before this bedroom door
My cautious wife does doubt me, my completely sweet Suenor,
I’ve lost my key and nothing more".

Once again my hopes soared high, but when I caught his evil eye,
My quest is hopeless so thought I, as he spoke this wicked gore
"Monsieur, you must come with me, for I warn you candidly,
It’s a duplicitous thief I see, see before this bedroom door
And where’s your paramour of crime, the women you call Suenor?
Get thee to hell and nothing more."

The day of night absorbed the light, propelling me hence to fight,
This hellish concierge known now to me as Satan’s whore,
While I scampered, twisting, turning, pleading, begging, endless yearning,
Despairing thoughts forever churning, churning deep within my core,
Again! Incessantly repeating, the mindless tapping at my bedroom door,
"It’s Suenor I seek, and nothing more!"

Now upon this morning glory, relating hence to you this story,
Knowing full well you’ve heard my Rambled tales before,
(I swear it’s true) For on my shoulder came a tapping, someone gently poking, rapping,
Disturbing thence my troubled napping, napping on my bedroom floor,
"Honey, wake up! You’ve fallen on the bedroom floor", said my sweet Suenor,
"You were only dreaming, nothing more"