(Prague, Bohemia, CZ)- Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen…as the song goes. Today is the feast of Steven and although I wasn’t able to see Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia’s head at St. Vitus, it was a good visit to this capital city. I head back to Moravia and Vsetin with it’s peace and quiet today. I love the energy of this town and will miss it. When Kathy comes over in June to escort me back to the states we will have to spend some time here maybe even see the head of a saint. I miss the hustle and bustle of a big city and these three days fit the bill. I actually walked more here than I have in the last few months in Vsetin visiting almost everything on my list. I didn’t visit the U.S. Embassy so I’ll leave that for early summer or if I come back here at Easter time. I did see an American flag flying on a building I saw from the park across the street, but wasn’t in the mood to trek up another hill to find out what it was all about.
I love to get lost in cities because that is when I get to see stuff I don’t usually see. Just by turning a corner or taking a “wrong” alley I discover very cool things. I decided I didn’t want to go back to the hotel the same way I came yesterday after finding the Gestapo headquarters I thought I’d take a little “short cut” back to my hotel. So off I went headed for Malá Strana or so I thought. Wrapped up in my thoughts I didn’t recognize any land marks nor could I find the river, my main landmark. Yes I know it’s a big river and it runs through the city and you can’t miss it. But I did. I was moving more and more away from the river rather than towards it. OK, you get the idea. Anyway I turned down a street and passed an old church (I believe “old” is a relative term in this town). I discovered was St Cyril & Methodius Church, the principal church in the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia. So just another church, right? Wrong. Just that morning I was reading about Operation Anthropoid and the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich (SS) in Prague. Seems the parachutists who organized the grenade attack were hold up in the crypt underneath the church after the attack. Needless to say, for weeks the Nazi’s went ballistic trying to find the partisans responsible and Hitler himself ordered the whole town of Lidice wiped off the map because of Heydrich’s death. The Nazi’s had no idea who pulled off the hit until as the story goes one of the support team cracked and told the Gestapo everything including where the men where hiding in the church. They surrounded it and the siege began. Since the fighters were hold up in the crypt the Germans used a ventilation shaft in the wall from the outside and shoved a large hose down into it and began pumping in water hoping to drown them. Long-story short, the ventilation window is still there and there is also a memorial built around it with candles and stuff at the base of the building. If I hadn’t read the story in the morning and then got lost in the afternoon, I would never have found it. So often I have been in these situations when I seemingly cannot find my way and bingo, I find something even better. Oh, by the way I did find the river. It was at the bottom of the street the church was on but I was a mile or so off course. Worth it though.
Writing this on the train I still get to sample the various languages I heard in Prague. Even the crying baby in the seat across from me doesn’t bother me tonight sounds like it was crying in Chinese but I’m not sure. I can’t see a darn thing out the window because it is, well, night. (After arrival) I was greeted last night (I am writing this early on the 27th) by a box of cookies from one of the American teachers, a notice from the post office that a package had arrived and some Christmas sweet bread from the lady across the street. My blue mood was raised a bunch. I feel energized.
Vsetin is waking up and I’ll publish this now or it will be Monday before I know it.
and so it goes…