Monday, 20 October 2008

Weight Gained this Week +.6kgs/+1.3lbs

Prague was great. In exploring the city we walked an average of 16 kilometers/10 miles everyday. Love my pedometer. My food wasn't too bad. I tried to eat consciously and when I wanted to try a sweet I shared it with James. I did end up gaining .6kilos but I'm sure that'll disappear now that I'm back to regular programming.

Now for some titbits about my trip and some photos. Prague is an elegant city built around the Vltava River which I believe runs through the entire Czech Republic. Its architecture combines several periods tastefully and seamlessly.
For the most part, Prague is a pedestrian friendly city with a comprehensive tram system that provides an eco-friendly method of mass transport dating back to the country's communist era.
Prague also has an excellent underground train system which gets high points for being clean, paying attention to design and providing functioning computer terminals where passengers can check location of restaurants, hotels, famous landmarks etc. in a number of languages. How cool is that?
The role of Catholicism in the city's history and culture is manifest in the plethora of beautiful Baroque and Gothic churches to be found everywhere.
and in the many religious statues to be found lining the famous Charles Bridge.
Random sightings: Didn't know there was such a thing as Cannabis Vodka. What a combination and for all you "shots" people out there, why don't you try a couple of Absinthe shots and see how long you'll live.
Visited the Lennon Wall where in the 1980s, young Czechs painted a portrait of John Lennon and began to fill the wall with John Lennon-inspired graffiti and lyrics from the Beatles songs. This was a source of immense irritation for the government during the communist era as each time they re-painted the wall it would be filled once again by poems, lyrics, and flowers a few days later. The original portrait of Lennon has been long lost under layers of paint and though there are still a few obvious messages and symbols of peace, the wall seems mostly to be used by Anglophone tourists in a type of "Mike from Liverpool was here" and "Julie loves Ricky" fashion. Pity!!!
How lovely is this money? Made me want to collect it, not spend it.
The thing I liked the most about Prague was the art particularly the sculpture which was really rich and varied. When this piece was the first thing to greet me as I exited the arrival hall at the airport, I knew I was going to like Prague.
One of two Clash of the Titans sculptures that flank the entrance of Prague Castle
Sculpture on a building called "House of the Black Madonna"
Cool Art Deco relief on the wall of a building in Staro Mesto

Temporary installation at the Kempa Museum by a group of young Italian artists called The Cracking Art Group.
Jiří Sozanský, Brainwashing, 1981-2, Permanent collection Kampa Museum
This monument to the victims of communism is by Czech sculptor Olbram Zoubek and architects Jan Kerel and Zdenek Hoelzel. It's difficult to see the whole thing clearly here, but it consists of a receding line of statues, each representing different phases of disintegration. At first one part of the body is missing, than another and another until the figure seems to totally disappear into the void. Powerful stuff!!!

This astronomical clock was created in 1410. It is very beautiful but don't ask me what's going on because it's much too complicated for me to read. All I know is that the four figures besides the clock represent the fears and anxieties of 15th century Prague. From left to right there's Vanity with a mirror, Greed with his money bag, then comes death with an hour glass and a grin, and finally, 'pagan' invasion represented by a Turk.
Anyway, on the hour death rings a bell and inverts his hour glass and the 12 apostles parade past the windows above the clock (not pictured here) and nod to the crowd below ... well ... not exactly nod. At the end of the parade, a cock crows and the hour is rung.

Okay so this is the equivalent of a video game or MTV for the folks in the 15th century. Well, call me cynical and jaded but it didn't exactly rock my boat especially as we had to battle through a huge crowd no matter what time of day or night we went, just to catch a glimpse of the most overrated show in town.
On our last day we took a train out to the village of Kutná Hora. I love long distance train journeys. Once I settle in I feel like I could keep going until I reach the end of the earth.
I haven't seen such beautiful fall colours since our last trip to the New England area of the USA ... maybe 4 years ago.
The town of Kutná Hora owes its origin to the discovery of silver mines during the 13th century. From the 13th to 16th centuries the city competed with Prague economically, culturally and politically, but fell into decline when its mines closed and it was hit repeatedly by the plague. Today it is a charming little country town ...
with lots and lots of churches and
a great Czech restaurant which was like a mix between an English pub, an American diner and a high school cafeteria with a medieval like flavour.
The food was very very good. My consort got a big ole' 1/2 liter of beer brewed on the premises and a traditional Czech dish of three different kinds of meat, potato pancakes, two different kinds of dumplings and two different kinds of sauerkraut.
Speaking of food, I discovered a wonderful Czech treat called the Trdelník.
It's essentially a bread roll, scented with slightly sweetened cinnamon, sprinkled with nuts, wound around these cylindrical rods and slowly toasted until brown on the outside.
Not earth shattering but yummy nonetheless!!!
It was a wonderful trip and I was sad when it was over. Thought I'd end with a sign I saw when going into the post office in Kutná Hora to get some stamps.
Don't know which pissed me off more, having to give up my ice-cream or my gun.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Weight Loss this Week -.7kgs/-1.5lbs

This is just a quicky post because I don't have much time. Last week went very well indeed. I maintained my exercise and food sanity and recorded a satisfactory loss.

We are off to Prague, Czech Republic for a vacation this week to celebrate our 8th Anniversary of togetherness. Yeah!!! I intend to do a lot of walking (a minimum of 10,000 steps) and will wear my pedometer everyday so I can keep a record. Will also keep an eye on my food. Wouldn't want that to get out of hand, now would I?