My father was born in Prague. Today, he and my mother again live there and the pictures here were taken on my visit to Prague in October last year.
I never lived in the city, but I did spend many of my childhood summers there with my grandparents. Every summer until the beginning of the 80's. I remember moments in time, fragments of experiences that still linger in my memory. Anyone who ever visited that city falls in love with it.
Positioned in the heart of Europe, it played important roles in its history. And history is what can be found on every street corner. Every building is an architectural treasure and behind every street name there is story to be told. Already as a child I was intrigued by "the city of a hundred spires", as it is called in the fables. I read with great fascination the tales of the city and took often long walks through the picturesque center with my grandparents, while they were pointing out to me all the places depicted in my favorite book. This was when Prague was dusty grey, some of its historical buildings in decay, with only a handful of tourists around. But at that time it held a particular magic that is since long gone, never to return. Historical places were easily accessible, one could walk undisturbed back into history, in an atmosphere of romantic melancholy in an almost "film noir" setting. To those familiar with the renewed Prague and its beautiful old town, which looks almost like a theater settings at times, the "Charles Bridge" comes to mind. A beautiful, pedestrian only bridge connecting the "Lesser Quater" with the "Old Town". The bridge is usually packed with tourist and street performers to the bursting point, almost at all times of the day, except for very early in the morning or very late at night. Although beautifully restored and an experience to cross, it is at times almost claustrophobic.
Well, I recall seeing a black and white photograph taken in the mid seventies. It was taken by my grandfather, as we were strolling across the bridge, me and my sister and my cousin, as children, on a Sunday afternoon. The striking part of this memory is the fact that we were the ONLY people on it. Such a solitary moment in this romantic city can most likely never ever come to pass again.
The Charles Bridge today.