Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Prague Pictures 4

A slightly truncated set this time. We are also afield again, this time mostly in Cracow, Poland. Do not fear, however: we will return to Prague again in future editions.

View of Major Boulevard From Hotel Window, Cracow. There are ridiculously few pictures from this trip. If I remember correctly, Cracow is the only major city in Poland that was not completely leveled in World War II. These buildings look to me to date from the 1900-1920 period. There are a lot of similar edifices in Prague and other cities of the Austro-Hungarian empire--of which, again unlike all of the rest of present day Poland, Cracow was a part up to 1918--from that time, provided they escaped bombing.

2. Hotel Room, Approximately $6-$8 a Night. Does one really need anything more? I know the Economy does, but I am not asking about it right now.

3. Main Square and Cloth Hall, I Think. The Cloth Hall is one of the major landmarks in this city. Cracow is hyped a lot in the tourist books and consequently some people assume it must be both overcrowded with tourists and have something essentially wrong with it, but I don't think a ton of people actually go there, or Poland generally. Unlike Prague, it is quite a bit out of the way from Germany or anywhere with similarly established popularity. The crowds don't look too overwhelming in these pictures compared with pretty much anywhere in Western Europe.

4. Bread Cart. There was also a corn on the cob cart, though unfortunately we did not get a picture of that. Poland probably has the gloomiest ambience of any place I have ever been, though I felt strangely comfortable and calm there. It was often like being in one of those black and white movies from the 50s and early 60s of a Europe that is largely lost now--slow moving, minimal action, elegant--lots of high-ceilinged, enormous, near-empty cafes, train stations and the like. Of course I have remarked often of the beauty of the young women in Poland, who were largely unconscious of the true enormity of it and how much power it would have stood them in other circumstances. In their mannerisms and moods and apparent thought processes they were very like ordinary (ugly) people, which phenomenom one almost never sees among women of comparable attractiveness in Western countries, and as such is mesmerizing to look upon.

5. Pigly Wigly Market. I have never even seen one of these stores in the United States. We do not have them in the northeast, though their fame has reached us, and evidently Poland as well.

6. Back in the Bohemian Countryside. A weekend trip. This landscape is emblematic to me of youth and time, as in the possession of vast amounts of it. Other landscapes, often of comparable beauty, are emblematic to me of other not unhappy aspects of existence, lest anyone thinks I have allowed my engagement with life to cease all together. But these scenes will always call up certain feelings and remembrances that nothing else can generate.

7. Standard Bohemian Church, Apparently Recently Restored. To complete the set.

I have more general topics to rail against, but I haven't got a lot of time presently and I have decided to let them pass. If they are still on my mind in two weeks, maybe I will take them up then.

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