Miloš Zeman Presidential Inauguration etc.
Friday I went to the Prague castle to see the inauguration of the first popularly elected Czech Republic president, Miloš Zeman. I didn't have a VIP invite to the inside, but watched from the courtyard with other people.
It was fairly sparsely attended compared to past presidential inaugurations, according to my Czech friend who was there too. This friend is not a fan of Zeman, and was not happy that there was a roped-off area in front where they only allowed Zeman supporters wearing a scarf or pin with his picture! That from a president who promised to be the president for "all Czechs". The lady checking for correct political alignment of people trying to get in that area didn't find it contradictory at all when my friend brought that up.
Anyway, for me this event largely consisted of standing outside in the cold for over 2 hours and watching people and observing various formal ceremonies at a distance, sometimes broadcast on TV news and projected on a large screen in the courtyard. The military parades, bands, and ceremonies were all fun to watch. Here are a few video clips in chronological order:
And in this last video clip, look at the band playing up on a balcony of the St. Vitus cathedral! You can't hear them very well with the bells ringing wildly.
It was fun to see how it was done, and though it looked like it might rain, we never got a drop while I was out there.
This English-language news article in the Prague Monitor from before gives some detail about the inauguration program.
Now on to some other miscellaneous things.
On the St. Vitus name
About the St. Vitus cathedral in that last video above, in the book Prague: A Cultural History by Richard Burton (2009, p. 41) I read: "... the cathedral was formally re-consecrated in 1919 on the (supposed) thousandth anniversary of the foundation of the first Christian edifice to occupy the site, once a temple to the pagan god Svantovit whose name survives, given a Christian veneer, in the dedication to St. Vitus, svatý Vít in Czech, healer of epilepsy and other convulsive disorders."
Nearby: Dreiländereck, Oybin, Jakobsweg
I was delighted to read the article Die Falten der Beständigen in the German-language Prague weekly newspaper Prager Zeitung about the Umgebindehaus architecture that is typical of the 3-country corner where Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic meet.
I loved visiting that area once on our free day as a missionary in 1991, specifically Zittau, Jonsdorf, and Burg und Klosterruine Oybin (a medieval cloister & church ruin, see also this brief English Oybin write-up), and hope to visit again soon. Back then it was wide open and wild. It's fancier now and requires paying an entrance fee, but so it goes.
There I also read that there's a 210 km = 130 mile pilgrimage walking route from Gnesen in Poland, through Görlitz and Zittau to Prague. It's called the Jakobsweg and looks like it would be really fun to do.
My children, in wondering why English doesn't have a vocative case like we've been learning to use in Czech, realized that English actually does. It's used by prefixing the addressee's name with "bro" or "dude". :)
Seth's recent photos and videos
See also a couple of recent blog posts by Seth with some good and/or funny photos: music while walking and Old Town. That's a peeing fountain like you've probably never seen before!
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