the dolls we brought home from Eastern Europe

I’m a doll collector. Wanted to be one ever since I was six when my parents (or was it my grandmother?) bought me a very pretty and dainty Filipina porcelain doll wearing the Philippine national costume. Wanted to be one ever since I was six when I played with my cheap but really cute United Nations dolls – they were dolls wearing different national costumes (I wonder what happened to them….). And as it happens, when you grow old, you forget about your childhood dreams. Until something reminds you of them.

I worked in a Japanese company hence it was but natural that we have displays of Japanese dolls in the visitors lounge in the office. Seeing the dolls, there came remembrance. One of my best friends, Dhonna gave me my first doll, an omiyage (present) after her first assignment from Japan. And it went rolling from then on. Whenever I travel, I buy the doll of that country. Friends have been very generous as well with their gifts in that whenever they travel to some countries, they also think of me and my collection and buy me a doll. Most of my collection are in my parents’ home in Davao now. With the exception of this exquisite Belgian porcelain lady which my manager in my previous company thoughtfully asked her brother to buy for me. I had it with me because it was the latest doll that was given to me and I wasn’t able to bring her to Davao before I moved to Japan. Customs check ruined her hair and hat and necklace though. 😦 Seeing her not in her perfect state just breaks my heart. 😦 Sorry, she’s surrounded by neighbors who can’t be posted here hence I can only share her bust. 🙂

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It was but natural therefore for us to buy dolls during our recent trip to Eastern Europe. I’m having regrets now though that I didn’t buy a porcelain one. Albeit I’m still mighty happy with these new addition to our collection.

Magnet couple dolls we bought in Vienna.

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Rustic mother and daughter doll we bought in Cesky Krumlov. Rustic – very Bohemian.

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And of course, a marionette that we bought in Prague. It was only during this travel that I learned marionettes originated in Czechoslovakia. It took me a long time to decide which marionette to buy though because most of the original design ones are scary looking and reminds me of witches. Hence I ended up buying this wooden Czech boy.

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Friends, hope you remember me during your travels. 🙂

Campanulla

Our search for the John and George Cafe led us to Campanulla – a Tonino Lamborghini restaurant. Goodness, the food in this place is just soooooo good.

Do click and check —> Campanulla in goodfoodhunt

Charles Bridge and the search for John and George Café

Atsushi and I tried as much as possible to have our lunch and dinner (and sometimes snacks besides) in the restaurants which were highly recommended by Rick Steves in his “Best of Europe 2010” guidebook. Hence whenever lunchtime or dinnertime found us in a particular area, I immediately leaf through the book and check for a recommended restaurant near the area.

Dinner time on our first full day in Praha found us in the famous Charles Bridge (Karlûv most), erected back in 1357. Yep, back in the 14th century. The bridge was named after Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV who was crowned King of Bohemia and Count of Luxemburg on the same year the bridge was constructed.

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One of our takes on Charles Bridge albeit it didn’t do justice on the bridge’s beauty. Took this photo of the Charles Bridge the following morning, on the bridge running parallel with Charles Bridge which is much less grander than Charles.

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We crossed the bridge from the Old Town side on to the Little or Lesser Quarter which I presume was named “lesser” because it was right below the much grander Castle Quarter. The square right beneath Karluv Most which is part of the Lesser Quarter was pretty nice though. I wouldn’t call it “lesser” at all.

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Since we were in the Little Quarter area, there was only one restaurant I was so intent on eating in – The John and George Café which was (as described in the book) in a little alley right beside the Lennon Wall. So off we went a-hunting for the Lennon Wall.

Of course, when on a trip, even when you have a destination in mind, you should take some time to “smell the flowers” as they say. After all, you went on a trip for sightseeing, right?

This here is the Charles Bridge’ tower on the Little Quarter side.

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Charming. That’s the best word that would describe Bohemia.

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Took one of our numerous A&M feet shots.

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It took longer than expected to find the John Lennon Wall. Lost. And we were brave enough to go to where nobody else wanted to go.

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A word to fellow tourist. When you see this poster, you’ll know you’re on the right track.

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It’s a harbinger yes for we found ze wall.

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This graffiti wall came to be the day John Lennon died. Fans comforted each other in this quiet side of the town and expressed their grief by writing on the wall. Remember, this was 1980 when Czechoslovakia was still under Communist Regime. The authorities would paint the wall clean only to be repainted with new graffiti the following day. It’s still there now so One can easily guess who won. Nowadays though it’s more for the younger generation’s expression for love and peace.

Whew! This came in longer than expected!
Up in next post, the John and George Café filler.

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