Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Who? Moi?


"'Know thyself?’ If I knew myself, I’d run away.” 
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you know me or have read about our trip to Prague (above) last year, you probably remember that I wasn't too thrilled with the place.  A lot of people have mentioned to me that they think I didn't like it because it was so old because I prefer modern hotels, inns, cafes, buildings.  Au contraire.  

Actually, part of it's true. As I wrote in my last post, I love all things modern, convenient, and techie. Also, I'm pretty much phobic about germs, dirt, and the like, so in my sometimes crazy mind, modern equals CLEAN. . . usually. . . (except for a few hotels near Disneyland or Mission Beach or . . . ).  

My less-than-stellar opinion of Prague, in all honesty, had more to do with both the crappy workshop experience I had as well as the very negative personal memories the sounds and smells brought back. Neither of those is a story for this blog, but suffice to say that they had a more detrimental affect on me than even the robbery did, and poor Praha (Prague) suffers in my mind because of them.

What I liked about Prague, was its ancient charm.  Towers, red-tile roofs, spires, cobblestone streets, plazas.  I loved leaning out of the window of our flat and watching the sun set over the river and the sound of the 600-year old astronomical clock as it rang hourly.  The most enjoyable days I had there were the ones Mike and I spent walking through the streets of different parts of town, particularly the Havelske Trziste (the old market), Old Town Square, the Jewish Ghetto and Vysherad.  I didn't like Wenceslas Square because it was home to McDonald's, KFC, and almost any specialty clothing store I could find in Fashion Show Mall here in Las Vegas.

What confuses me about myself (at times) is the very fact that the two worlds – the very old and the very modern – tug at me.  I was never particularly interested in history while in school.  To tell the truth, I hated it and saw no use to memorizing dates and events and dates and names and all. I did, however, enjoy reading historical fiction and non-fiction. I think I learned more about the history of places by reading the stories rather than the data.  Moreover, I loved transporting myself to Paris or Alaska, to an Indian pueblo or London, to New York City or Amsterdam simply by opening a book.  I remember daydreaming of being in those places, in those books, in the middle of the history.

The daydreams, I think, draw me to those wonderfully old places today. I can sit on a bench or in a cafe or by the window and imagine being in a different era. I like to see the people that walked the streets ages ago. I wonder how much of their DNA is still in the dust that swirls around us and how much of our own DNA we leave behind.  Sometimes I think that maybe I lived in Europe in another life. (Yep. I do believe in reincarnation.)  Perhaps I'm just looking for the part of me that I left behind.  

Next time: "In an old house in Paris, covered with vines. . . ."

1 comment:

  1. Hi Chris! We are considering whether to go to Prague when we visit the "kids" in Germany. I liked your sentence referencing the DNA in the dust, and reincarnation. My ancestors' home area is now in Slovakia(no longer Hungary)and it would be difficult to get there. On the other hand I would love to go to the tiny Haute Saone villages in France, home of my hubby's family. I wonder if they still have that vinyard. I enjoy your blog, to say the least! kathy g