Saturday, June 30, 2012

Private opera performance tonight in Prague



Even we at Travelife are entitled to a little time off from a never-ending Travelife every now and then. So today, I took it easy in the morning, having a very leisurely breakfast at the Four Seasons Prague while typing out a blog entry on the terrace of the hotel, with a beautiful view of Prague Castle and the river in front of me.



Then I met my friends for lunch in Prague's Old Town, just a few minutes from my hotel, at Cafe-Cafe, a very cool cafe-restaurant that is apparently very popular with the fashionable set. It was decorated in a very eclectic manner and staffed by good-looking young people in green shirts. When I saw what kind of a design-vibe it had, I lowered my expectations about the food immediately; I've seen few cool restaurants that have served truly delicious food.

Salad Nicoise

I'd also been eating a lot lately, and I'd had a very big breakfast. So everything fell into place and I ordered a very simple lunch: salad nicoise and a pot of tea, with a caramel cake for dessert. Wow. What a surprise it was to find that everything was good. The salad nicoise was excellent, as was the caramel cake, which was soft, moist and really tasted of caramel.

Delicious caramel cake


TIME ALONE WITH THE FT WEEKEND

In the afternoon, my friends went shopping while I decided to walk back to the Four Seasons for some truly relaxing time, especially as I'm flying back to Manila tomorrow after a massage and lunch. I returned to my suite, ran a bath, and spent a good part of the afternoon in it reading the rest of the FT Weekend.

If you read this blog, you'll know that the FT Weekend paper is the only paper I really read every page of. It's got all of the hard news plus the weekend specials are excellent.

I like all the sections in the weekend special, but my favorites are the Lunch with FT, which is always interesting and so well-written, and Mrs. Moneypenny. I don't know why, but I can understand what she writes and how she thinks very well -- whoever she is.

I also read the travel and real estate sections with avid interest, although the real estate section always inspires me to think about having my own farmhouse in Umbria or stone house in one of the lavender-filled villages of Provence.

VERY SPECIAL CONCERT

Tonight is our last night in Prague, and it was most fitting that we spent it having a most enjoyable evening in the company of the Philippine ambassador to the Czech Republic and some of her other ambassador colleagues from Asia and Europe, enjoying a very private performance of top Czech artists in the comfort of her living room.

That's Team Travelife with the artists 
behind tonight's special performance


I sat next to the Ambassador of Romania to the Czech Republic and we talked about the parliament building of Bucharest, which is the second largest in the world next to the Pentagon. She told me: "But Bucharest isn't as nice for a visit compared to some of the truly beautiful parts of Romania. When you go, I suggest you head straight for Transylvania."

This mini-concert and dinner were organized in honor of Travelife Magazine, and I can't thank the Philippine Ambassador and her staff, Dan Hostettler and Noema Erba for truly making our last evening in the Czech Republic very special.

Noema and her colleague, a tenor of the Czech National Opera, sang some of my favorite opera pieces, and it just so happened that the ambassador's living room had the perfect accoustics for their voices.

The result was a beautiful, intimate and almost spine-tingling performance that really gave us a feel of the depth of Czech talent.

"How do you like Prague?" Everyone asked us. We're so in love with it. And one of these days -- sooner rather than later, I hope -- we'll be back.

Good night from the Czech Republic for the last time. The next blog entry will be from Asia unless I find something interesting to blog about at breakfast.

An Evening of Classical Music
6 PM, 30 June 2012
Residence of the Philippine Ambassador to the Czech Republic

Performed by Noema Erba
and Miguel Cavalcanti
Soloist of the Czech National Opera

"Quand me'n vo'"
La Boheme

"La ci darem la mano"
Don Giovanni

"Mesicku na nebi hlubokem"
Rusalka

"Madamigella Valery"
La Traviata

"Meine Lippen, sie kussen so heiss"
Giuditta

"Heia in den Bergen"
Die Csardasfurstin

Thank you for making our last evening in the Czech Republic
so very special.



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