Photo Tour: Jerry's walk to work (one of many ways)

Prague is a beautiful city, no question. My work could take over my life and devour it in one big gulp, no question. Last month, while I was home in peaceful Tucson, I decided to try walking to work -- both as a way to get to know more about Prague, and as a way to get more exercise than I (haven't) been getting. Some days I'll walk directly; other days I'll take a tram or the metro (subway) to someplace completely different, then walk from there. I've had such good luck with the cheap digital camera I used to have that I decided to spend actual money (!) to buy a nicer digital camera.

Today -- Sunday, June 9, a cloudy day threatening rain -- I started my plan. I left my flat at 6:30 a.m. and headed east. Not far from home is a narrow cobblestone street named Apolinarska. The start isn't too promising (and even a little eerie): an abandoned building, covered with graffiti, its doors and windows half-boarded up:

Start of Apolinarska

Soon, though, as the street winds up the hill, between walls on either side, it feels cozy and (somehow) historic:

Halfway up

Looking back where I came from, I'm glad I came:

Looking down

At the top of the hill, I'm back to the 21st century. There's a national election soon, and the signs are everywhere:

Campaign posters

This part of Prague is called Vinohradska, a leafy and cool part of town with mostly well-to-do residents... and plenty of businesses. It's all Czech to me, folks:

Stores with Czech-language signs

Before the Communists left peacefully, 13 years ago, I'm not sure that a restaurant like the one in the photo below could have survived. In those days, I've heard, the government had a list of approved recipes that restaurants could offer. People who lived here then have told me that restaurants were boring and the service was worse. I get the feeling that this restaurant (which is closed now, at 7 a.m.) wouldn't have been here:

Pizzeria la Romantica

Speaking of food: Even here in the Czech Republic (with its impenetrable language full of consonants), there are signs of America... like the familiar Cola-Cola sign below, starting with a Czech word that means "always":

Czech Coca-Cola sign

The Czech language almost died out in the 1800's, to be replaced by German, but that never quite happened. After two months in Prague, I can pronounce the words, but I only know a few of them -- and I sure can't put a sentence together! During the big problems in Bosnia, do you remember Click & Clack (the "Car Talk" guys on National Public Radio in the US) and their "Donate a vowel to Bosnia" campaign? They encouraged their listeners to give up one of the vowels in their names -- my name would have gone from Peek to Pek, for instance -- and the vowels would be air-dropped over Bosnia to help poor families with unpronounceable names. It would have taken a lot of vowels to help a vowel-starved Czech phrase like strc prst skrz krk ("stick your finger down your neck"... and no, I can't pronounce that!).

My walk ended on the quiet streets near my office, like this residential street that's dotted with embassies. The Latvian embassy is huge; the Polish embassy is modest; that house over there is falling down. This place feels so peaceful that it's hard to imagine life under Communism being as difficult as people say it was. Hmmm:

Neighborhood street

If you haven't seen my previous set of photos, click here. Otherwise, the next page is a tour outside of Prague to Cesky Krumlov, Pardubice, Hradec Kralove, and Telc. Or return to the tour beginning, or the other tours.

(These photographs are Copyright © 2002 by Jerry Peek. Much higher-resolution versions of most images, and many other images too, are available at Jerry Peek Photography. Photos are available at reduced prices, or free, for non-commercial use.)

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