Day 3 finds us going wine tasting and visiting the National Museum.
My research showed there the National Museum owned some Impressionist paintings and that was all it took for me to want to visit. The Museum isn’t big and it’s laid out differently, as in there isn’t a Baroque area, or Flemish room, or Impressionist area. Rather the paintings are scattered throughout and we couldn’t actually quite understand the layout.
The permanent collection houses only artwork owned by the Czech Republic. And just as in Budapest, we found many lovely paintings by local artists who were inspired by masters from other countries, including artists who enjoyed painting Cubism as well as Impressionism.
In particular we enjoyed the work of Frantisek Kupka, Milos Jiranek, Jan Preisler
Gino Severini, Vaclav Brozik, Frentisek Kupka
All three paintings by Frantisek Kupka. I loved how varied his pieces were. It wasn’t predictable which one would be his.
When we found a few Impressionists, we surprised that it was such a smattering. I had thought there were more. But again, the museum was laid out differently, not having a specific ‘French Impressionist’ room.
Top Left: Henri Rousseau, Top Center: One of my favorites by Gauguin, Top Right: Edouard Manet (Portrait of Antonio Proust)
Bottom Left: Gardens at Le Valhermeil by Pissarro, Center: Gauguin, Right Gauguin
But we were enjoying the museum so decided to continue looking and then we stumbled into more Impressionists and other artists that we like. Yay, I was so happy! Mostly I was seeking my favorite, Claude Monet and also hoping for Renoir. I do really enjoy Pisarro as well. It was wonderful to hit ‘pay dirt.’
The lone Dega wasn’t a painting but a very lovely dancer
Some more of our personal favorites are Edward Munch and Gustav Klimt so that was just added bonus to see their art.
The museum houses a fair number of Picasso’s which we find fascinating and also sometimes too weird for our tastes.
The only van Gogh, but we liked it!
But what I really, really was after was Claude Monet!
Orchard in Bloom, 1787 by Claude Monet
Lady in Flowers, Claude Monet, 1875
As our need for Impressionists and other fine artists is satiated, I discovered the very special ‘measuring stick’ in the museum…..
Lorretta Sinclair, you are ‘this’ tall!
With art satisfaction at a 10, it was time to relax some more! There are 308 wine growing villages in Czech Republic with a total of 1142 vineyards. The primary wines are white from the Moravian region. For me, the white wines are sharp and acidic, while I prefer a good buttery, sometimes oaky Chardonnay. Red wines are not as common.
We started out by driving through an upscale neighborhood that reminded us of Beverly Hills, winding through the streets to the Vineyards of St. Clary winery and botanical gardens.
Our guide for this tour, initially asked us if we were ‘wine snobs’ to which we said no not snobs but we did know about wine. It turned out he knew absolutely nothing about wine, didn’t drink wine, and was actually asked to ‘substitute’ because the ‘real’ guide was sick. We had booked this last minute tour via the hotel concierge and could’ve done better on our own. We didn’t even get to taste any wine at St. Clary because the guy hadn’t set up a tasting and the bar was jam packed with locals!
When Bob told him, in specific terms what we had expected, he did make a few phone calls, pack us back into the car and told the driver the address of a wine tasting bar. When we arrived there, we were able to ask if we could do a wine tasting and the gal was more than happy to oblige. She also was very informative about wineries and wines in Czech Republic, even pulling out a map to show us the different growing areas. Shipping home a crate of 12 white and red wines was a breeze in Prague.
The exact origin of the Frankovka grape is unknown though there are countries who claim the grape including Austria, Germany, Slovenia, and France. What is know is that it is a very old grape that has a full body flavor.
The Palava grape was developed in 1953 by Josef Veverka in Moravia and is primarily grown in the Czech Repblic. It is a lighter wine as the grape has Gewurztraminer origins but we didn’t think, gratefully, that it was as sweet as the German Gewurztraminer.
Next stop was Bokovka wine bar. We first tried some organic unfiltered wine and wished for a spit bucket! We were able to taste a few more wines that were more mainstream and ended up buying a few bottles to pack away as they didn’t ship to USA. We especially enjoyed the merlot.
While it wasn’t a total bust, it came close and truth is, the next day we did better on our own but we still managed to enjoy our time.
This is how I felt about our wine tour guide though…..