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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Our Hradcany Walk

As autumn fast approaches, this Sunday morning broke sunny. I had planned to write all morning, but days like today will soon be a memory. It seemed better to make this morning more notable than merely taking notes and writing four pages.

I asked Asia if she wanted to take the #22 tram up to the castle, walk through its courtyards and then down along the deer moat, finally escaping out well behind the Hradcany squares, and through Petrin Park. Asia’s a morning-walker, so she agreed. I announced we would leave in one hour! She said, “Oi!”

It’s best to do anything early on a weekend. The tourists are out after 11am. And so are the Czechs, awakened from their drunken slumbers after yesterday’s big wine festival. Anyway, we beat the rush, and only had to wend our way through islands of tourists in the castle courtyards. The sun is at a good angle this time of year, which reflects off the gilt facades.

When the gates to the gardens opened at 10, we walked along the Orangery and down the steep trail into the deer moat. It’s so peaceful in this moat valley, and cool in the shade; view up the escarpment to the castle walls are ancient, picturesque, and dramatic.

Few people anywhere; tourists trapped on the bridge high above us. In the cave between the north and south moats, we took ghoulish photos.

One of the minor Hapsburg palaces, well behind the castle, has now opened its gardens to the public, and we walked through this 10-acre site.

Lots of benches sit under shady trees; topiary hedges dot the grounds like a lot of tossed gumdrops. Then we went through Petrin Park, which has, arguably, the best views of the city along the river and all the church spires.

We walked down through the park and hopped on the #22 coming back across the river and up the hill to our neighborhood. By now many of the unwashed had come out (only their God knows why they can’t smell themselves; perhaps an idea would be to send another 40-day flood to wash out the filthy).

Our treat for the day shall be homemade cottage fries, half in the pan and half baked. With lots of salt and mayonnaise. And, there’s still plenty of time to fiddle with my novel, if’n a bout of sleepy-head doesn’t grab us for a lazy afternoon snooze.


What Beauty is my newest novel, a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

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