Saturday, February 9, 2013

An Assortment of Unrelated Things

I've been doing a lot of wandering around the city, which I think is my favorite thing to do anywhere. There's so much more that you get to see when you just go walking around with no plans--you can go at your own pace, and duck into any building or side alley that seems promising. The other day, I stumbled upon an old (11th century) rotunda church, one of three in Prague--I'm going to try to figure out when they hold services, because I think it would be so cool! I've gotten to check out a lot of antique shops and bookstores with books to rival Princeton's rare books collection. The best part is turning down side streets that look straight but then I come out somewhere completely differently from where I expected and have to find my way home from there. Below are some pictures from some of the less obscure wanderings. 

As I mentioned in a previous post, the masopust celebrations of the Bohemian Carnevale are currently taking place in preparation for Mardi Gras and Easter, despite the fact that the country is pretty atheist. But I guess by this point it's sort of like Christmas in America: they've been doing it so long that they forgot the origins, and now it's so ingrained in society. I passed this pig hanging near one of the outdoor tchochke (spell check?) markets, and only realized later that it must be related to the masopust celebrations. Pig slaughters are a thing here.

In case you really wanted to see the other side of the pig....

According to the sign, this is the house where Kafka was born--it's right off the corner of the St. Nicholas Church on Old Town Square. Still can't figure out why the only indication of Kafka's birthplace is written in Hebrew; maybe they don't want non-Jews to know? It also doesn't seem to be very well marked or publicized in other places on the building. 

Sign outside some pub--that dude with a beer belly really makes you want to go there, right?

Walked past this 20-foot high door and did a double-take. Yes, those are fist-sized heads going all the way up. Some of them are turned at awkward angles, and it's really creepy. 

One night last week I passed a sign that said "Jazz Republic; free entry" and pointed to the subway entrance. I followed it and, low and behold, in the subway station, there's a great jazz club with live music and no cover every night! It's a funny place--mostly local Czech jazz musicians play there, but there's an American flag on the wall. The drinks are way overpriced, and it can get a bit smoky, but I've already been there twice and plan on going back soon.

The first REAL street art I've seen in Prague! The Lennon wall is an exception, because it's basically designated as an area for street art. Other than that, the graffiti is pretty uninspired--mostly just words spray-painted haphazardly and without any artistic motivation. This was great, though. I found it on my wanderings near the river, a 4 minute walk from my apartment. 
Two good street art finds within 10 minutes of each other? Good day! This one is kind of funny--on the left it's a cow, the middle is an owl (I think? Maybe a fish?) and the right is a chicken.

And I finally made it to the Dancing House, which is also only a 9-minute walk from my apartment.   It was designed by a Croatian-Czech architect in collaboration with Frank Gehry, which brings me to my latest theory: Frank Gehry is going to dictate everywhere I ever live for an extended period of time: Chicago's Millenium Park bandshell is Gehry, as is the Lewis Library at Princeton, and now here in Prague! Gehry, tell me where to go next! (I guess he has to get something up in Israel, ex-post-facto?)

Some more of the Dancing House. 

I just think it's so funny next to all the beautiful old baroque buildings.

And one with the Vltava River--the Dancing House is on the end.

Tomorrow we're going on an overnight trip to a medieval-era town called Český Krumlov, which was described to me by one of my professors here as "the Disnleyland of small-town Bohemia," because its promoted by UNESCO and has thus made a point of catering to tourists. Still, I'm always up for castles and moats, and it should be a lot of fun!

1 comment:

  1. I think that's a pig in between the cow and chicken in the second street art pic. It's wearing sunglasses.