Postcards from Prague – part one


The views of a trip are always curious and personal. Why something strikes our attention excluding others, it remains a mystery and resorts to our vision of the world or perhaps recalls deepest needs.

“I am the passenger and I ride and I ride, I ride through the city ‘s backsides, I see the stars come out of the sky” –  to put it as a famous song of a rocker of pure breed, Iggy Pop.
For this reason my travel story in Prague, not just a set of guidelines on “what to do and what to visit in Prague”, rather it is an “emotional story” that wants to tell you about the city and taking in new details that combine music and images.
Every impression will have its musical background dedicated because in this particular trip, the music is the soundtrack that allows us to understand as best as possible the essence of the city, the landscapes and the people who live beyond the destinations and places to visit.

I start from Stranglers, a British punk rock group of the Seventies and in particular I choose the song Golden brown, very famous song, that means lighting.
This song is a perfect introduction to my story because in the apparent brightness of the text and the melody, lurks a complexity that attracts attention. The candenced rhythm, the captivating advance of the music by way of waltz seem an invitation to dance but there is something, that thirteenth eighth, that seems to send out of time…
Out of time and out of space. And so I find myself chasing the many faces of Prague, beyond any imagination, especially those outside the “slogans” in order that they would like to harness it and define it as the Magic Prague, Prague of the legends, the esoteric Prague, Kafka’s Prague and also Prague the less politically correct of brothels and casinos. But Prague is really indefinable, cloaked by the mist as mysterious as seemingly unreal.

The “enlightenment” of the Prague when I take the first breath, accomplices temperatures below zero for the first day of the year, the air mixed with echoes of snow and moss, rust and pollen that becomes a second skin and stays anchored on even after many days, in a kind of perfume and sensations changing and alienating for people like me who lives at sea level. You can literally breathe the history of this place? You can breathe his melancholy waltz? It would seem strange to say, but the answer is yes!
Prague moves between a millenary history and modernity that is projected into the future where the value of the memory and history is visible and strong in the streets, in the monuments, especially in the faces of Prague Doc. If the globalized world slowly along the road through the younger generation, confirming their attitudes, known that in these places there is a strong link with the more recent past to outline the features of those who lived through the war years of division, occupation and protests, whose word Spring has not mitigated the meaning of violence and death. A recent past claimed to be unaware that look fair and waiting for those who have lived in no time internal and external revolutions in these places and in these streets still echo.
Antiwar songs: Francesco Guccini – Prague Spring

Who will accompany me to the airport to return home at five in the morning, will be a man almost two meters tall in his fifties, very blond, despite his age, the powerfully built and elegant bearing, dressed in a leather and black wool jacket worn by time, I read where faded label on one arm that seems to recall in my mind, the air force or the army.

The Kaprova is one of the city’s main arteries linking the “riverfront” at the entrance of Staroměstské náměstí  (Old Town Square) where the Vltava River is shown in all its full glory.
It’s here where the smell of ancient history becomes more intense while I am struck by the first snowfall of the season that in a few minutes lies down the road in a snowy mantle falling heavily on the stone. I skirt the river while the snow is laying heavy on my duvet and I head for the famous Charles Bridge (Karluv Most). The stone bridge in the Gothic style, connecting the Old Town to Mala Strana (Lesser Town) and covers the ends of the two areas with its two massive towers on which it is possible, in the warmer months, pick up and enjoy a spectacular view of the bridge from above.
I understand the weight of history when I listen to the story of its construction that moves between numbers and legends. The bridge was commissioned by Charles IV in 1357 (“the numbers of Prague”) and is said to be built by mixing the stone in the egg yolks to strengthen the structure. In fact, the Charles Bridge unlike its predecessor (Judith Bridge) has survived many floods which Prague is subject to the most recent in August 2002 and should, according to legend, his “magic numbers”, and odd in succession. Charles Bridge really is not very long, about 516 meters but has in it a lot of charm and superstition. As a good tourist “touch with hand” the traditions they want to devote their time to the most famous statue kept on deck, that of St. John of Nepomuk, a Czech martyr saint who was executed during the reign of Wenceslas IV by being thrown from the bridge. St. John of Nepomuk is represented with a crown with five stars and legend has it that touches the statue commemorating the martyrdom, because it brings luck and ensure your return to Prague. I can not exempt. The legends and the stories slowly start to become part of me.

(Text and photo by Alessia Vanìa)