Saturday, 23 March 2013

Praha - liminal city of Alchemists

What else did I see in Prague, Frances asked?  Truly, it was a whistle stop tour. We arrived late, very late, in a snowstorm, to our hotel in the Old Town Square which was gearing up for Easter with streamers in the trees.  A man stood chopping wood for one of the many open fires and that was the first indication that Prague is a city of the elements, an alembic.

It’s interesting, you know (or maybe you don't), that although the name Prague comes from the Slavic for ‘ford’, the city’s native name is Praha and its etymology suggests the word práh  - threshold.  So, a liminal place, then?  My kind of town. 

‘The Astronomical Clock is just around the corner,’ said Adrian.  And, with only a few minutes before the hour, we waited with the throng of tourists to watch the little figures come out and do their thing.

I wanted to go in hunt of alchemists, of golems and astrologers, of spells and sorcery. I yearned to see the Prague of Dee and Kelley, of Kepler and of Maharal Rabbi Loew.  Adrian, meanwhile, mused on defenestration and protectorates, Hussites and, of course, beer. 
But he dutifully took me to see the old Jewish Cemetery (100,000 burials, 12 layers of tombs) and pointed out the wall and window where the golem supposedly waited.  We walked over the Charles Bridge, climbed up to the castle, wandered up and down steps and into backways and byways. 
I’m not good at being a tourist. I don’t really go for ticking off museums and sights. I love just meandering around, stopping every so often to sit at some café or bar and watch a new city at work and play. And Praha is the perfect city for that…
Huge thanks to the Czech Tourist Board for their generous hospitality.  I love your city, I truly do…and I hope to return...I really do.  So much more to see. So much more to love. 

Yes, I take crap photographs.  Apologies. :-) 


Anne said...

Loved the pictures. I have no likelihood of seeing Prague any time soon, and this was like being there for just a bit.

Frances said...

Jane, thank you for these photographs! Seems to me that they show quite a bit about Prague / Praha. It must have been difficult to have been there for such a short time. Surely you will return.


Unknown said...

They aren't crap, they just need a bit of sprucing up. You know you can always ask me to edit, or I can give you some simple tips ;)

Prague is soooo lovely!