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martedì 3 gennaio 2012

More Prague for all

I chose this video because it is set in Prague and it's from Subsonica one of my favourite bands. I probably already mentioned that in one of my previous posts. I also mentioned that I have the hots for the lead singer and I have had them for years but that's another story.( By the way Samuel what do I have to do to meet you?) I spent just a couple of days in Prague but it was enough to agree with all the people who told me it is a real beauty. In fact I think I have seen it only partially and it would be time to go back again. I basically went to meet my sister who was there for a set and costume international exhibition festival or something like that and I joined in . What's there to say? All of you who have already been there (and I know that there's many of you)know that it's one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It's also one of those cities always full of tourists like Florence where you can hardly walk around and you have to push thorugh the crowd to get somewhere. In Saint Wenceslaus square for example you have to slalom through crowds in order not to be photograped with all those posing on it.
The nicest portion of the city is definitely the Stare Mesto or Old city where you can walk to Mala Strana or Little Quarter and the surroundings of Charles bridge with the park beneath the center. A lovely oasis of peace and tranquillity where to walk away from the crowds drinking Pilsener on the terraces close to the bridge. Speaking of which I have to say that even if I am not a beer lover Czech beer is another thing. Espeacially in summer when it's hot, you want to spend all afternoon walking around the park or in the shade by the bars near the bridges and drink Pilsner Urquell. There are quite a few breweries to visit and one of the oldest ones U Fleku is probably the most popular.
Vltava river
Pilsener
U fleku brewery
Charles bridge
Apart from walking in the old part of the city there are quite a few other things to see including the Astronomical clock which is one of the oldest in world with all the moving figures around it coming out when it strikes upon the hour. There are actually four of them : a skeleton impersonating Death, a Turk impersonating lust (!), a man with a mirror for vanity and a man with a bag for greed. There is also a presentation of statues of the Apostles at the doorways above the clock, with all twelve presented every hour. Then there is the Dancing House. This one is very interesting, even because apart from its beautiful even though controversial architecture, it was very much appreciated and supported by Vaclàv Havel one of my favorite Presidents of all times, who unfortunately recently passed away. He was the actual evidence that being creative is a plus even when working in politics. Well, he wasn't only that really . If you see the definition of him of the link with Wikipedia it says playwright, essayist, poet, dissident and politician. He was a passionate intellectual who spent years in prison in order to defend his beliefs and was the one to establish the European day of remembrance for the victims of Stalinism and Nazism or International Black Ribbon Day. Summing up : a great man , one of those who happen only once every so many years.
The Dancing House
Moving figures around the astronomical clock
Vaclàv Havel
In terms of food I have to say that Eastern European is not in general one of my favourites even because it consists mainly in meat dishes and even when it doesn't the food can be quite heavy. Not my taste but many people like it. the most popular dish is Gulas se knedlykem i.e. Goulash with bread dumplings (see what I mean?).
Another thing one should definitely do when in Prague is to visit the Jewish neighboroughood where you can see the Jubilee synagogue and the Old Jewish cemetery. If you've never been to a Jewish cemetery this is certainly an experience. In the one in Prague you will see a high number of tombstones all close to each other and almost piled up one on top of the other. The number of graves is actually not known since according to the Jewish tradition there are layers of tombs. As a matter of fact, as the relevant Wikipedia section describes "According to halakhah, Jews must not destroy Jewish graves and in particular it is not allowed to remove the tombstone. This meant that when the cemetery ran out of space and purchasing extra land was impossible, more layers of soil were placed on the existing graves, the old tombstones taken out and placed upon the new layer of soil. This explains why the tombstones in the cemetery are placed so closely to each other. This resulted in the cemetery having 12 layers of graves". The result is somewhat intriguing and fascinating ( at least it was for me).
Jubilee Sinagogue
Old Jewish cemetery
Anyway I believe that this city deserves a little more time to be explored and appreciated even more. And I surely would like to do that as I was thinking sitting at a cafè which could only be named after one of the best authors of all times, born here while looking at a peculiar shoe sculpture just in front of me. Maybe I should read the "Metamorphosis" again but only if I got to do it sitting at Franz Kafka's cafè in this very splendid immortal city. And for a moment I saw Gregor Samsa looking at me from a corner or maybe just a cockroach but who knows? I'm sure all extraordinary things can happen in Prague.
Franz the one and only
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