"I am trying to check my habits of seeing, to counter them for the sake of greater freshness. I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I'm doing." - John Cage

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Prague - day 1

Yesterday was day one of my trip through Eastern Europe this summer. I awoke in the dorm after 11 hours sleep to beautiful rain. Birds chirping. Not as much English spoken here as I'd thought but a smile is all you need. I somehow found my way via the tram to a Starbuck's - I know, pathetic. But I hadn't had coffee yet.

There I discovered the incredible convenience of my new iphone gps system. I walked 215 steps up to the top of the St. Nicholas bell tower for a view of the city. Bells are forged in the ground, with casts, at the spot they will be installed. It is bad luck to transport a bell by animal or to let anyone dirty (women) touch them. If they must be transported, hundreds of boys would pull them, and were paid in a drop of mead. Bell makers were wandering artisans. It was believed that the sunday before Easter, the bells flew to Rome for a blessing - and after WW1 and 2, the bells that had been melted down into cannonballs also flew away from the battlegrounds.

I wandered across the Charles' Bridge, lined with dark religious statues leering over the artists selling earrings, paintings, photos, and fridge magnets. It began to gently rain again. In Old Town, I walked with my head craning upwards to see the architecture -

Seven hours later I found my way by tram back to the dorm where I thought I'd sleep again. But unexpected jet lag? hit me and I lay awake until finally I read some Kafka. It put me right to sleep.

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