Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Something about Prague
The Posners lived in Prague for four years in he 1990s but keep coming back to the city once or twice a year. They feel connected to the place the way I do to Sarajevo and I asked Ann why.
There's something about the people, she says, an energy, the Bohemian spirit maybe. She likes that there is a Fringe Festival going on while we are there -- no real festival around which odd acts and vendors congregate just the Fringe party like it's the odd and quirky that IS the attraction.
She likes the pretty Czech money and that the 500 Crown note ($25) pictures Bozena Nemcova, the author of a novel called The Grandmother, who was liberated, talented and immensely unhappy because of a bad marriage and the death of her teen-age son from TB.
Ann likes that she sees different things every time she comes back, or maybe things that were there but she didn't see before. She likes the way spoken Czech sounds like people walking on tiptoe.
She likes that at certain times in some places in the city you can squint and close out the cars and the tourists and go back in time several centuries.
I like that the city inspire such images from her. And she's right. Walk around, which we did constantly, and you run into a blind man playing the accordion and beggars supine on the pavement holding out their hates and police guarding a stranded swan and couples kissing ad people drinking beer everywhere and artists doing caricatures and oil paintings and tourists with all kinds of cameras and tripods. Not to mention a herd of nerdy-looking guys in pink T-shirts that proclaimed, "Beaver Patrol."
While we were in town, a local magazine ran a story that included this quote from Clare Wigfall, an English writer who lives in Prague about her favorite place in the city: The tiny winding streets of Hradcany when night has fallen on a winter's evening. They still have the old street lamps up there and these throw an orange glow against the cobblestones. You can almost imagine you've stepped back in time."