Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Grébovka Villa at sunset

Last time we visited the Grébovka, it was a bright November day and we were looking out over its magnificent vineyard, to the huddled red roofs of Vršovické Náměstí beyond. This is an entirely different aspect, looking up at the villa from the corner of Rybalkova and Charkovská, as it looms out of the darkness like some forbidding mansion from the imagination of the Brontës.

Throughout the countryside, particularly in Moravia (that's the bit of the Czech Republic to the east of Bohemia, and the main wine-growing region) they have a centuries-old tradition called Vinobraní - the celebration of the wine harvest, and I'm pleased to say this excellent festival is also commemorated here around the park and gardens. A word of warning though: last September as my car rattled the last few yards of its 1000-mile journey from England down these peaceful cobbled streets I suddenly found my way blocked by drunken yahoos and more cars than I'd ever seen, parked at all angles, jammed together, including across the right of way. Memo: in future, do not return to Prague by car on Vinobraní weekend.

If this photo had been taken in daytime, you would have been able to catch a glimpse of the new café which has just opened in the grounds of the villa, incorporated into a reconstruction of a historic indoor bowling alley, to which we shall pay a visit next week. For now, though, my work has taken me to the Côte d'Azur for a few days - lucky me - so from a comparatively warm Nice, farewell until tomorrow.

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