It is March, but the wind stings my face like millions of tiny needles recreating an embroidery masterpiece. I raise it to absorb the splendor of the statue overlooking one of the most impressive and historically important squares in the world. In the middle of magnificent Wenceslas Square, mounted on a pedestal is a huge statue of Saint Wenceslas riding a Horse.
After absorbing the glory of the statue, we dart into a by lane to escape the chill and enter Lucerna Palace…
As we look around for a place to sit down and grab a cuppa, my astonished eyes land on another incredible sculpture hanging from the ceiling. St Wenceslas again. This time mounted on an unmistakably dead horse strung upside down. A mocking replica mere yards from the original.
And that in my opinion is the summary of Prague.
Cheeky as Hell.
A city that oozes culture and tradition and balances all that with modernism of a wacky genre.
The insolence of David Cerny is not just tolerated. It is celebrated.
As is with every city that imprints itself onto your consciousness – prague has a character.
Prague is that 47 year old dude having the customary mid life crisis. But instead of just getting a punk haircut and a tight T-shirt that would sit snugly around his paunch, Prague went out and bought a Motorcycle. And then spray painted it Pink. And now drives around heritage buildings with a sexy leather clad chick riding pillion at break neck speed sticking out his middle finger at hapless tourists.
He is a cheeky one. This fellow. He lines the streets with spurious absinthe selling shops and sniggers at gullible tourists who drink the stuff. For himself he reserves the best Beer. And drinks it by the barrel.
The woman at the local chocolaterie is his accomplice. She will turn up her nose when you ask her about her wares…. but you will forgive her every look of scorn when you put those pralines in your mouth and they burst into liquid sin.
He has a wicked sense of humor. He invites tourists and then ensures that all the signage is in Czech. And then enjoys his own private joke as the idiots look from one pillar to the other and then to their maps and then back up again, till they give up with frustration and enter the nearest pub and order a beer to calm their frayed nerves. Then they head out again and stumble from one incredible sight to another – all by serendipity – never by plan.
He sniggers as they go looking for the Jewish quarter and reach Old town square and as they go walking to St Wenceslas and find the Franz Kafka sculpture. Somewhere in the middle of looking for Narodini Divaldo they find a humongous naked woman ( IT IS a sculpture .. tsk tsk … dirty minds) sticking her glistening breasts out in the middle of the street.
Prague takes ‘wearing your heart on your sleeve’ to a whole new level. He thrusts his scorn and his desire and his lust and his love in your face. Hell.. he even thrusts out his bronze penis out at you as he pisses in front of the Franz Kafka museum.
If it is too much for you – well – clearly that is your problem alone. He isn’t going to tone it down. Deal with it.