I set out next week for a month – my first trip in 2014.A fter a stop in Hong Kong where I lived for four years in the 80’s, I fly on to Warsaw for ten days in Poland, where Edmundo and I have never been. Pam and Ken join us in Wroclaw where we tour Lower Silesia before driving to Prague. On the way, we cross the German border and make a lunch stop in Görlitz to meet up with good friend Frank who is coming from Berlin to see us.
This will be a return visit to Prague for me, and an opportunity to experience the changes in this Bohemian city since its emergence from under the yoke of Communism twenty five years ago.
After a day in the heart of Bohemia in Český Krumlov, we catch a train for ride through the countryside to Budapest for a five night stay at one of the romantic old Palace hotels right on the Danube . Again, I haven’t been there for more than twenty years and I really look forward to it. Time to take it a bit easy.I n my collection of Retrospectives, I have a story of my 1993 visit to Prague. Perhaps in coming days, I will proof it and publish here as an interesting reference. Unfortunately, photos from that ‘era’ were not digital, and the only two prints I have I’ll use here.
Here’s the opening paragraph of what looks to be a long (of course, interesting!) story.
A Wet Weekend in Bohemia – September 1993
Unless you are made of sterner stuff than I, you too would have been disappointed.F lying in to an unknown country for a weekend of sightseeing, the ominously grey clouds swirling over farms and little country roads below confirm this morning’s depressing CNN weather forecast. You know the feeling. Sigh!
In this, my first visit to what is now the Czech Republic (since I was here on a tour bus for one night seventeen years ago), the weather only gets worse. On occasion, when sunlight did filter through, I didn’t have my camera with me. I missed such wonderful shots as the sun glinting off gold balls on fairytale spires on the church in the main square that typify this medieval city.
I was with a good Australian friend, the late David Michôd, and we were never ones to let a bit of rain get in the way of a good time.M y first impression of the Old City with its narrow winding streets where Mozart once walked with his soprano mistress, was somewhat spoiled by the over-abundance of red and yellow western commercialism. I wanted to burn down the Marlboro and Coca Cola umbrellas and Camel fences which seemed to adorn every café and newsstand along the cobbled ways. Unfortunately, according to Maria, the locals like them – “our people are very international and they’ve never seen such umbrellas before”. My ‘cigarette’ friend of thirty years, David Michôd, was quick to point out that they were a sign of the stimulus needed to create a market economy, which is so necessary to eventually bring living standards to an acceptable level. I soon contained my ire and went on to debate retailing and marketing opportunities in these emerging economies. I had known David since we were both 21 and living in Queensland, and we were both working overseas at the time we visited Prague. We went to an Organ and Trumpet Concert in the Church of St Nicholas in the Old Town one evening, and I daresay that it was this closeness that permitted him to whisper back to my comment on the piercing clarity of the trumpeted notes, and tell me that I had bad breath. Only a friend would do that! Oh God!