Monday, September 29, 2008

Prague - Charles Bridge. Meet the saints.

 Petr Ginz and the Charles Bridge, The Vltava River, The Saints

As would anyone in Prague, Petr crossed the Charles Bridge. Page 46.

Charles Bridge, Prague

This old bridge was begun in 1357, and finished in 1402. Floods had damaged the earlier Judith Bridge, in 1342.

See the history of the bridge at Scroll down to the Bridge section. Also see

On both sides of the bridge, you will meet the saints, including Wenceslas.

Saint, Charles Bridge, Prague

See them all at YouTube also has videos of the bridge and what happens there.

It is a pedestrian bridge now (was it then?) and that leads to creative use of space by musicians and artists and caricature sketchers.*

This fellow is a one-man-band with an umbrella over his head to keep his instrumentation dry, and may or may not be a saint.

Charles Bridge, Prague, musician

From the Charles Bridge, looking toward Petrin Hill. 

Petrin Hill, from Charles Bridge, Prague

Then, there is a view from one of the tourist boats that scoots around the bulwarks, and cruises down the river.

Charles Bridge, Prague, from river

The most spectacular views of the city, either side, are from the bridge.
* Panhandling. Some on the bridge creatively handle pans. See

I set some change in the pavement cap of an individual looking in particular misery crumpled on a dirty blanket. He suddenly revived, with a friendly grin and a distinctly American thank you. And, even more suddenly, the ragged, mittened stump at the end of his forearm showed distinct finger wriggling inside the mitten. Free enterprise worldwide. Gotta love it.

However, on another occasion, with a bona fide person in need elsewhere in the city, not a trafficked tourist area, his eyes and his gratitude and disbelief that anyone would actually offer to get him through the day, are with me still. Nobody's govt, that leaves healthcare up to the profit-makers, is doing the job broad-based.

1 comment:

Celia said...

So that is what Petrin Hill looks like! Petr's Prague poem is so descriptive about it!
If you read The Diary of Petr Ginz and then Vedem you will notice that they both have the same poem, but the versions of the translation are different so they sound very different. It bothered me that Petr's meaning was lost in translation. And I was thinking about how many people's real meanings, the spirit of who they are, are lost in translation. It made me think that we should have some sort of universal form of communication...

And then I remembered the forward, by Jonathan Safran Foer, to Petr Ginz's diary: "When I read the introduction to this book it one fact immediately jumped out at me: Petr's parents met at an Esperanto conference. A failed intent for a universal form of communication... Petr was literally the result of that dream."*
And then I understood.

*pardon me if I have mangled the words, I do not have the book in front of me...