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  The Chatter Box : Travel
Messages 1 2 

Michael's New Series in Eastern Europe by bagnall on 15 June 2006 1:48pm
I read today that Michael is planning a trip around Eastern Europe for his next travel series.

I don't know how to get a message to him via this website, but he really must visit the town of Sedlec in the Czech Republic to cover the macabre and bizarre Ossuary. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedlec_ossuary and http://www.ludd.luth.se/~silver_p/kutna.html

Oh, also the ice cave at Dobsinska (sp?) http://www.sazp.sk/slovak/periodika/enviromagazin/enviro1/dobsina.html

Michael is a great hero of mine since I grew up on Monty Python, Ripping Yarns etc. Michael, next time you're in Cambridge, let me buy you a pint and I promise I won't sit there expectantly waiting for you to be funny!

Have a good trip.

Richard Bagnall (palinstravels_03(at)bagnall.co.uk)

P.S. If you need to increase passpartout in number, I can carry bags and use cameras!

P.P.S. Ambition realised! See http://www.bagnall.co.uk/bagblog/2007/10/michael-palin-book-signing
Re: Michael's New Series in Eastern Europe by Anita_Petho on 15 June 2006 1:52pm
Michael already started to film his new series, check out the threads in "The series" section:
Re: Michael's New Series in Eastern Europe by intrepid on 16 June 2006 12:24pm
Funny, I was trying to think of what MP really should see in the Czech Rep. and the Sedlec chapel was the first thing I thought of. It's close enough to Prague (which I just assume he's going to) and you walk past it when you go from the Kutna Hora train station into Kutna Hora.
Re: Michael's New Series in Eastern Europe by Ginnyp on 17 June 2006 2:15am
Is there a salt cathedral near Krakow Poland that the miners created?
Re: Michael's New Series in Eastern Europe by intrepid on 17 June 2006 8:25pm
Well, that's really interesting Ginnyp, but that salt mine was also on my list of things MP could see. I haven't seen it though.
Before anybody else mentions them, here are the other MP-esque things I thought of: the scale model of Prague made of paper -it's in the Prague municipal museum, the product of a bored 19th century civil servant;
And possibly the site of the town of Lidice, too.
Re: Michael's New Series in Eastern Europe by Ginnyp on 17 June 2006 10:48pm
Oops! Sorry intrepid
What is it called and is it near Krakow? I would love to see it.
Re: Michael's New Series in Eastern Europe by Tauriel on 18 June 2006 8:36pm
intrepid: Well, I'll be damned. I didn't even know about the paper model of Prague! :-D Shows how little I know about Prague. LOL. I should be ashamed... :-P
Re: Michael's New Series in Eastern Europe by Ginnyp on 21 June 2006 2:15am
I cannot begin to know what happened at Lidice but I have seen some of the inhumanity on the internet. If you have the chance to see the results of the war in Oradour sur Glane in France I hope you can see that it was never specific to an area, more to those who put up some resistance. They were all incredibly brave and that we should all be grateful for.xxx
Re: Michael's New Series in Eastern Europe by intrepid on 3 July 2006 4:18pm
Alrighty, it took me a while, but the name of that salt mine in Poland is Wieliczka, near Krakow. Here's an article on the paper model of Prague I found at the Cesky Rozhlas radio station website at http://www.radio.cz/en/article/78712

Czechs in History
Remarkable people and events in the history of the Czech Lands.
Antonin Langweil - a man who built his own Prague
[10-05-2006] By Jarka Halkova
Listen 16kb/s ~ 32kb/s In today's Czechs in History we are going to look at Antonin Langweil and his unique paper model of Prague. The model, on a scale of 1:480, takes up an area of two-by-two metres and shows the city as it looked 150 years ago.
Antonin Langweil was born in 1791 in Cesky Krumlov into a family that worked in the services of the Schwarzenberg noble dynasty. Luckily for Langweil the Schwarzenbergs believed in educating talented children of their employees. Over four years Langweil learned geometry, mathematics, drawing, bookkeeping, and also how to make scale models.
Langweil then left for Vienna where he studied lithography. Determined to fulfill his great dream he later started his own business in
Prague but business did not go well and he had to give up after a year.
He settled down in the capital and worked as a servant in the university library. He helped with books, delivering them to readers. The job required knowledge of Czech, Latin, German, calligraphy, and was probably not too taxing as Langweil had enough time for his hobbies, mainly painting miniatures of Prague. The crucial moment in this story is the year 1826 when Langweil visited an exhibition where he saw a model of Paris. He decided to create his own paper model of Prague. Katerina Beckova is a curator of the Museum of the Capital City Prague:
"I think the main reason to create such a model was his ambition to be successful in some kind of art. He did lithography and he liked painting but he wasn't so talented as to be successful in the field. He was looking for self-realization in art and he found it in model making. It required some talent, patience and skills. He had it all and therefore he decided to make a model of Prague.
"Many people think that one of the reasons is the fact that he was worried what would happen to Prague. That Prague would change and there wouldn't be any record of it. But it is not truth. There weren't any big changes in Prague. He lived in the 20s and 30s of the 19th century and construction was at a standstill. The main changes started in the second half of the 19th century when he was no longer alive."
Langweil's model of PragueLangweil started his lifelong work on the 13th July 1826 on his 35th birthday. From then on he would walk around the capital from four to five in the morning or in the evening from seven to half past eight, and makes sketches. It didn't take long before people started protesting.
"How dare you walk around and draw every building and window. Do you have permission?"
This was the kind of complaint Langweil had to put up with.
After three years of hard work Langweil presented the first completed section. The public showed quite an interested in the model, which at that time included some 600 houses in the Old Town, and so Langweil, encouraged by the response, continued with the Jewish Town.
"There were some articles praising the model in newspapers but it was more a curiosity. No one had an idea what kind of importance it was going to have, that it was going to be an important document of the city. It was a kind of public attraction more than anything else. A bit like a ship in bottle.
The model drained Langweil's financial resources the family struggled to get by. It seemed that the sacrifices he had to make to realize his big dream were appreciated neither by the public nor his family.
"Whether his wife and his five daughters were pleased about his hobby is not known. I just assume that the fact that he spent all his free time and money wouldn't be much appreciated. He tried to save as much money as possible. The model is made from cardboard which he made from waste paper from the library where he worked. He stuck it together. It was an advantage but he had to buy things like glue and paint and brushes anyway."
Ill and desperate, Langweil turned to none other than the emperor Frantisek I for help. In vain. The emperor didn't reply to Langweil's plea. He tried elsewhere hoping to sell the model but died too early, before it was eventually sold for a price that would hardly even have covered the costs of making it.
"There are all architectural details and also all details from life as the author saw it when he was drawing it. He made it authentic. You can see a ladder leaning against a wall, or broken windows or barrels on the ground."
Explains Katerina Beckova. Each piece of the model is as close to the original as possible. The houses are numbered, there are lanterns, front gardens; roofs are painted in their real colours. The importance of the model grew in the second half of the 19th century when Prague changed a great deal especially the old Jewish Town. The model has been used as a document during the renovation of the facades of old houses.
Old Town Hall"The model is a very detailed picture of Prague at the Baroque time. It is unique. Many experts say that Prague in the 18th century was more beautiful than any time before or after. We can assess that thanks to the model."
"I hope that the work and sacrifice I have made all through my life will be appreciated and approved of by experts. I hope I am leaving behind a respectable monument to my diligence"
This is what Langweil wrote about his life's work, and history has proved him right. Katerina Beckova:
"The model is the most popular exhibit in the museum. If you see it for the first time, you come closer, look at it lit in a good way you just go, 'Oh it is unbelievable that someone could have made it!' There are more than 2000 houses and it is quite amazing. When you think how difficult it is too make something simple for example for your child you realize how difficult it must have been even with great skill and talent. It is a giant work."
Re: Michael's New Series in Eastern Europe by DaveH on 7 July 2006 10:53pm
For something completely different, he and the team should try meeting up with some Napoleonic reenactors - two big events this year at Hollabrunn (near Vienna) and Austerlitz (Czech republic). Aside from the babble of languages, it is interesting to see how they get on over a few beers and reflect what is happening in central New Europe as the old components of the Austrian Empire start to move together again due to these former ties.

One question I would like answered - why is every rail station in Hungary painted in that awful dark green?

Production team: If you are interested in hte reenactment biot, I can put you in contact with the organisers - use my registration email.
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