Almost done sharing thoughts and pictures from the Czech Republic, alllllllmost done! With a host like Sandor Klapscik from the Technical University of Liberec, we could not go wrong (he invited Mark to work with students and give this awesome lecture: It’s About Time: Cinema, Science Fiction, Source Code). Far to the North of Prague, it is also beautiful. Only 60 years ago it was German speaking rather than Czech, which I found fascinating and yearned to speak either language so I could see how they had shifted and changed, or not. Being bilingual and from the Mexico/US border I love how I think differently in each language, the words that work in one that don’t exist in the other, the crazy mixing of the two that revels in wordplay and invention. Another thing that fascinates me about Kafka and I keep meaning to find out more (writing in German while living in Prague and speaking and surrounded by Czech also). Sadly, while I tried to learn some phrases, Czech is harder even than Russian I think, and the one person I practiced my greetings on turned out to be Hungarian and spoke neither Czech nor English. Language was definitely a barrier here in a way it wasn’t in Prague, and I was torn between frustration that there wasn’t more of a lingua franca and ability to communicate, and embarrassment that I was hoping such a language should be the imperial English that I lucked out on by speaking natively.
Anyway, Liberec in the morning light:
I thought it quite beautiful, and was so disappointed their castle was closed to the public:
From Sandor’s office the view was amazing — I was rather jealous I’m afraid. These are looking down onto the Opera House and the Town Hall on a most beautiful fall day:
The building needed a little renovation outside, but I loved this — Ještěd Tower I think?
And speaking of unnecessary awesomeness, this is their staircase:
A few more views of the city:
Like Prague, the details were all beautiful and I was just as fascinated by doors and ornamentation here as there:
Sadly, they also had a terror of cherubs, this must be one of the most frightening of all, because there’s no way holding its neck at that angle hasn’t killed it — if it wasn’t always dead:
This almost made up for it:
As well as the great street art:
The awesome handbills showing counterculture alive and well (a punk band called Rosa Parks? I am so there):
One of the loveliest street art installations I’ve seen about remembrance, focusing attention on the self and the soul in ending violence and accomplishing reconciliation (and that’s us there in the mirror!):
The birds painted on all of the glass:
The wonderful pub signs — and pubs. Their dumplings were most unexpected, but delicious. I also loved how often the most unpretentious strip-mall kind of exterior always contained a warm and unique recreation of a traditional village restaurant with wood paneling, old photos and flowers. I enjoyed every meal, particularly the soup.
Liberec, in a word, was wonderful to wander around. Of course there’s also Ještěd Tower, and its beautiful countryside, and we didn’t partake of the tour of the city hall or get to any museums. We did enjoy the sunsets however, a good way to say goodbye to the city.
Until I remembered the robot that greeted us our last morning as we grabbed a coffee before catching our bus back to Prague: