Saturday, June 8, 2013

Praha: History, Antiques, and Other Old Things (and People)

 I used to be immensely skeptical of walking tours. My thought was that I can walk, and tour, and that I do those things of my own accord. So why do I need to do it with a loud group of people wearing outlandish baseball caps/capris/city-themed fanny packs? But ever since last summer, I have been 110% pro-walking tour. The guides almost always know what they are talking about, can provide you with a fantastic understanding of a city's layout, and have cute Australian accents (yes, they are usually Australian. I don't think I have ever had a guide who was not Australian.) So, I did that today. Yesterday, I slept in and explored a random northern portion of the city and ate an enormous seaweed salad, but today was serious Czech business. Post-tour, I conquered Old Town on the map, went to a Czech beer tasting (should I be embarrassed that my favorite was grapefruit flavored?), and saw a selection of Mozart's best operatic arias performed at the last surviving theater in which he ever performed--the Narodni Divadlo. For only about thirty dollars, I had an entire row of the theater (about 10 rows from the stage) to myself. The below is a portion of the ceiling of the theatre--the boxes were just gorgeous. I couldn't capture them in a photo. It was like sitting inside of a hollow birthday cake. But a gilded, classy cake (not a stripper cake.)

Unrelated: the below are drink markers from the 1920s. I could not resist them. They can (and will) also be used as earrings. I particularly enjoy the chimney sweep.


At the Museum of Communism earlier today, the description of Karl Marx read, "the bohemian and an intellectual adventurer, who started his life career as a romantic poet with an inclination towards apocalyptic titanism." Somehow, that makes me feel like my proclivities are almost... immature in comparison?

Tomorrow, I am going to my favorite Czech coffee shop (among other places.) It is my favorite because the below woman lives across the street, and her face is excellent.

I sat in "the most haunted place in Prague" this afternoon for about 30 minutes--the Church of Saint James. I was the only one in the entire building, as far as I could tell. Well, except for the shriveled 400 year old human arm that was hanging above me, but that is really only about 1/15 of a person. Eventually, this absolutely ancient looking woman ran in, prayed, and then started to urgently try to tell me something. Not in a "Timmy has fallen in the well" sort of way, but rather of the "I have this piece of brilliant life advice based on about 100 years of experience and I would like to impart it upon you " variety. She could only speak Czech and German, and it was just about the most tragic moment you can imagine. Being in that solemn, quiet place and having this intense moment of complete inability to connect. I guess what I'm saying is that my next language (after Arabic and Russian) will be German.

And it will begin at the Franz Kafka Museum. Tomorrow. Hopefully I will not turn into a cockroach between now and then.

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