The Vltava flows through the Czech capital Prague, easily the most beautiful city in Europe. I was privileged to visit this remarkable place in 1976 and thus saw for myself the river celebrated in Smetana's piece. From Prague it flows into the Elbe and eventually into the Baltic Sea.
According to a humorous Czech television advertisement, Smetana may have been inspired to write Vltava by the bubbles in a glass of the country's most famous beer, Pilsner Urquell. If only Canadian beer commercials featured such fine music!