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Karel Čapek was a great Czech writer, journalist and playwright of the interwar period. Learn more about him at the exhibition hosted in his former summer house at “Strž” near Stará Huť, now known as The Karel Capek Memorial. You will see the house as he left it and I will translate the exhibition for you.
Then we will go on an easy walk through the park around Chateau Dobříš.
MEETING TIME & LOCATION: 8:30 AM, Prague Main Train Station
Back in Prague by 5:00 pm
More info in the event description
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I would like to invite you to a walk dedicated to Karel Čapek. During this trip we will visit the Karel Čapek Memorial at Strž near Stará Huť.
There is a wonderful exhibition about Čapek’s life and work, plus a smaller display about his wife actress Olga Scheinplugova and his friend journalist Ferdinand Peroutka.
The exhibition inside of the house is almost exclusively in Czech but don’t worry, I will be translating it for you.
Karel Čapek is widely known for introducing the word ‘robot’ to the international lexicon in his play R.U.R. But he did so much more!
He was a journalist, writer, playwright, translator, influential intellectual and unofficial spokesman of the first Czechoslovak president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, amateur photographer, enthusiastic gardener and DIY guy etc., etc. It is unbelievable what this man accomplished in his short life (1890-1938)! Perhaps a quote of his can explain it to us:
“Když nemám co dělat, pracuji.”
(When I have nothing to do, I work.)
What very much resonates with me is his world view. He saw the reality as multifaceted and nuanced rather than simple with one “ultimate truth”. For this he was hated by both communists and fascist as well as by a mob of all kinds.
Nevertheless, he was a great believer in the natural good in people and had an eye for seeing greatness in little things of life.
For my tips on what to read from Čapek, scroll to the end of this page.
In the current political climate of the resurgence of populism and its easy “solutions”, I find Čapek’s legacy of humanism, tolerance and moderation very relevant.
Join me on this trip and learn about the genius of the literature of 20th century, Czech author Karel Čapek!
We will meet at 8:30 am at our usual spot at the Prague Main Train Station.
First, you will enjoy a scenic train ride along the valley of Vltava and Kocaba rivers. From the train stop in Stará Huť, we will walk about 2 km on a paved road to Strž (meaning ‘ravine’) as Čapek named his summer house. It was here where he wrote his novel War with the Newts and plays White Disease and Mother.
The house was later converted into a museum dedicated to the Čapek’s life and work (The Karel Čapek Memorial).
I expect going through the exhibition will take us about an hour or so.
After the excursion we will go on a walk in the surrounding countryside, about 6 km to Chateau Dobříš which is surrounded by a beautiful English Park and French Garden. If the weather is not so good, we will do a shorter walk of about 4 km.
Around 2:00 pm we will top-off the trip with lunch in a nice local restaurant. There is a frequent bus connection between Dobříš and Prague and you can expect to be back in Prague by 5:00 pm.
About 8 km of walking, mostly on paved paths but there are going to be some potentially muddy country lanes as well!
Waterproof shoes and pants you don’t mind getting muddy. Umbrella or a rain coat if rain is expected. Lunch is reserved from 2:00 pm, so you will need to bring a snack/sandwich and a bottle of water.
350Kč or 150Kč with Discovery Pass
Includes train/bus fare both ways, route pre-walking, guiding, organization, entry fee to the Memorial of Karel Čapek and translation of the exhibition.
Use your employee benefit card or vouchers to pay for this trip! We accept Sodexo Flexi Pass Card and vouchers, Edenred Card and vouchers and Benefity.cz card!
To learn how to pay for Discovering Prague & CZ events with your Employee benefit card and vouchers go to this page.
I look forward to walking and learning about Karel Čapek with you!
Karel Čapek’s work has been translated to English and many other languages including Japanese. There is a good selection of his works in English available on Amazon Kindle. You can buy a paperback edition of R.U.R and The War with Newts in the Academia bookshop on the corner of Wenceslas Square and Vodickova street.
One of his easiest reads is Tales from Two Pockets which is a collection of short detective stories.
If you’re from the UK, Scandinavia, Spain, Italy or Netherlands, I really recommend his travel diaries! You will see your country through the eyes of an intelligent, attentive and thoughtful traveler. You will surely find an edition in your mother tongue too!
And if you like gardening, you will enjoy The Gardener’s Year.
If you have children, read to them from Nine Fairy Tales: And One More Thrown in for Good Measure (Devatero Pohádek a ještě jedna od Josefa Čapka jako přívažek) and Dashenka, or the Life of a Puppy (Dášeňka čili Život štěněte).
My personal favourite is his novel An Ordinary Life (Obyčejný život) about a railway official who recollects his life and the complexity of his many identities. It is part of the trilogy “Three Novels” and I yet have to read the two other parts – “Hordubal” and “Meteor” (Povětroň).
For Čapek’s centenary in 1990, a nice article was published in the New York Times about a new English translation of some of Čapek’s work. You can read it here.