In Vinohrady

Friend O. calls, he will arrive later because of someone business to handle beforehand. In these days especially in Vinohrady,a district of Prague everyone seems to be very busy and beside of me, has some business to do. But I can walk along the streets, where new shops selling watches or clothes or cosmetics all advertising with the prefix „luxury“. At the market you won’t find vegetables and fruits anymore as you did for so many years,now replaced by smoothies, fresh pressed pomegranate or carrot- ginger juices and superfood stalls. The people on the street look extraordinary good. The women are slightly sun-tanned, they sit with their mobiles phones in one hand in front of the many new-openend cafés and bars, stretching out their legs, to be admired from the passengers, drinking prosecco with strawberries, smiling beyond their enormous sun-glasses and talking either into their phones or to their exactly as good-looking friends next to them, from time to time they open their handbags or just flip away an imagined crumb, because the women are all very slim and tall, not even thinking of ordering a cake . And probably they look at me, neither blond, nor tall nor super-slim, let alone beautiful, eating cake and now everyone of their good-looking friends around Vinohrady already is informed that there is someone around, who eats cake with chocolate. I better hurry, because I am afraid they might start taking pictures for the „Most horrorful street scene Vinorahdy awards 2014“ named the „The cake eating monster“, there are some glorious chapter in life I am very happy to miss,but if you are in Prague without some business to do,or just waiting for your old friend O. to come  as I did,  Vinohrady with its beautiful Hapsburg buildings and even more its inhabitants is worth a visit and I absolutely want to recommend the Prádelna Café, a former laundry, now a wonderful and friendly place to sit for hours and watch the street life. Their cake is excellent but you definitely should try the homemade herbal lemonade, the herbs coming from a basket placed next to the door. And you should directly order a second one, for your old friend O. who tries to park his SUV and arrives in a shape, where you can see that this was some kind of a hard business to do.

Prádelna Café

Slavíkova 21

100 20 Praha 2

 

 

Citius, Altius, Fortius!

In Dresden people seem to be very proud of everything. Their town is nothing more than splendid, their castle the most beautiful castle, outshining every other castle ever built, their museums are the most exclusive, especially the green vault has the most impressive, most precious and most impressive collection of royal treasuries ever seen before, of course the food is the most delicious ever tasted and especially a cake, called „Eierschecke“ is not only a cake made of egg, curd cheese and meringue but a specialty of highest popularity. The cafés in the town centre are, how could it be otherwise, delighting and full of saxonian charm, nearly every second visitor is over 65 years old, wearing either wearing khaki colored trousers, on khaki colored sweaters or preferring wild and ornamental floral designs in the colors, dark red, violet most of them sequined. Nearly everyone who gets off the buses, wears an outdoor jacket  ( khaki or grey ) and a belly bag. I can only guess, but looking at the garments of the tourists you can’t overcome the feeling that Dresden is after all a city, where you have to be prepared to get robbed off or a climate only to be found in Himalayan regions may occur at anytime. Of course, the walk along the riverbanks is the most joyful promenade ever to be found, the scenery is indeed picturesque and nearly everyone who passes by is a proud owner of a camera made to win every picture of the year award, and the most heard sound of any walk is the steady, click, click, click rhythm of the most amazing panorama ever seen before. And if you are walking along, as I did trying to escape the armada of buses, you should not be surprised if out of the blue a group of most racy bikers drives with the most extraordinary speed towards your direction, shouting „Out of the way!“ and you would as I did, jump into the slope, in the very comforting feeling, that you fell indeed into the most impressive and extraordinary bank you will never be able to find elsewhere than in the city of Dresden.

Sidonie

It is a silent afternoon. Here everything is far away, Prague, Berlin and Vienna are names but no places and at exact twelve a o‘ clock all the shops are closed for two hours, the butcher lowers the blinds, the baker closes the curtains and no more shops than these two are left in the middle of a small village, which goes to sleep for two long hours in the middle of a sunny and dusty day in early summer. For half an hour I sit on a bench, sleepy myself from the long drive and when I get up, the curtains are moving so slowly that I can only guess if it is the wind or the people behind the curtains. Half an hour later I reach Vrchotovy Janovice, the same Janovice, which for Karl Kraus became an arcadian dream. The castle inhabited by his great love, Sidonie Nádherny who drove down to the station to pick her lover up, who arrived three times a week with the night train Vienna-Trieste and wrote the most magnificent love-letters I ever read. And still today, the castle is there, even if the train station does not work even more. And still today, you can walk through the park, look at the tame ducks who follow you, you still can sit at the „Kraus-Table“ where he spent many long summer days looking up, into the tree tops that are all much older than any of us and forgot about Prague, Vienna and Berlin. You can buy ice cream, soda and in the former stables, you can sit and look at the craftsmen of the village, who eat meat, with potatoes and boiling hot red cabbage, while the radio plays czech pop music. At around one a clock, a bus full of very old women and a few old men arrives at the gate, you get a leaflet and follow the guide inside the castle, where maybe Sidonie and Karl slowly waltzed around the floor. But today the castle is a wild mixture full of heroes of the nationalist czech movement, garments and dusty foliage plants. The old women are amazed of the garments, the old men are bored, the leaflet explains the heroism of the czech nationalist movement and I look out of the window, where the garden overlooks the pond, where Sidonie swam early in the morning. Only two small rooms remind of this splendid, autonomous, sexy and very intelligent women, who drove with her car through North Africa, who loved her brother and even more her dogs, who wrote letters to Rilke and fell in love with Karl Kraus. But even in this silent and dusty regions, where the mountains look friendly and the meadows are wide and full of poppy, the war came and with the war came the German invasion, the SS troops threw Sidonie out of the castle, and when the SS was finished with the destruction and the devastation of a whole region, the communist party and the former neighbors of Sidonie came, taking away her belongings,and forbid her even to approach her castle and the park, she once created as her home. Sidonie von Nádherny left and died alone nearby London. But the tour through the castle is already finished, one of the old woman explains to the group that coffee and cake will be prepared nearby and this promise keeps the spirits up and as surprisingly as they arrived, they leave, leaving behind the dusty foliage plants, the faded garments, the nationalist heroes and the nearly forgotten Sidonie von Nádherny, who loved and was loved by Karl Kraus, in a very small village, in a castle surrounded by old trees, a deep pond, with tame ducks and a dog sleeping in the long and sunny hours of a long and sunny early summer day, where the world seemed so far away, where life felt so safe and love meant a promise for an endless, long summer, with a sun never leaving but the sun still today, even if the castle, the pond and the bench made of stone are still there, never came back to Vrchotovy Janovice and never will be as warming as in these days.