Tuesday, January 13, 2009

#13










#13, Zlat√° Ulicka, Hradcany, Prague


They call this section of Prague Zlat√° Ulicka, or the Golden Lane. These cramped and charming row houses on the grounds of Prague Castle (where this 13 originates) were built in the 16th century in the Mannerism style, each painted a different bright shade. While reading up on the etymology of the place name, I came across this (allegedly dodgy) fact (bold print not mine):

Golden Lane got its name from the story of alchymists living in the street during the reign of Rudolf II who tried to make not only the philosopher stone or the elixir of youth, but also to transform metals into gold.

So ensued a stroll down Tangent Lane. Misreading the bold print (and why the y in alchemists?), I delightfully thought I'd stumbled upon the collective noun for alchemist. A murder of crows, a gaggle of geese, and now -- a story of alchemists! Further research proved inconclusive, though I did find this diverting exhaustive list of unauthorized collective nouns. An absence of waiters, a billow of smokers, an obscurity of poets.) And if you fancy adding your own suggestion, you're welcome to do so.

5 comments:

Jackie said...

mmmmmm. the idea of that phrase being the collective for alchemists is quite, quite appealing. Great link, as well.

Ray Gunn said...

This reminds me! Have you ever read An Exaltation of Larks by James Lipton? He of the Actors Studio fame/infamy?

I have a copy somewhere if you want to borrow it. It's a laugh and a half.

Therese Cox said...

Jackie -- Yes, good stuff, isn't it? An English professor of mine once uttered the phrase "a nest of anarchists" and I still haven't quite gotten over it.

Ray -- I haven't come across the Exaltation of Larks (though that reminds me, A Confederacy of Dunces has been on my to-read list for quite some time). I love laughs and a half! Or would that be "laugh and a halves"?

The Hangar Queen said...

An anorak of bloggers?

Suddenly I look at the clock and am shocked to see how much time I've spent skulking through your blog.

Need...more time...to while..away here!

Nice one.

Julie said...

This number looks quite Parisian.