Itinerary 6 . Prague / Budapest . [In Edit]

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic (Photo editing by Alicia Hall)

Saturday, December 04, 2010
9:42 pm

Sitting in Terminal 2 at Prague Airport waiting on a delayed EasyJet departure back to Paris. EasyJet seems notorious for leaving its passengers stranded at unattended gates with no information about delayed flights. Can’t help but wonder also if the location of the airline’s ticketing and information stations -- typically remote from their gate concourses and sometimes in separate buildings – is part of a strategy of ‘hiding’ from their customers when trouble presents. In their defense, at least for this flight, Prague got dumped on with at least a foot of snow the day before we arrived, although that didn’t prevent the arriving flight from getting here in the first place.  'Snakes on a plane', man.

Streets off the Charles Bridge


Prague was on the itinerary as the lone remaining city of heavy Russian cultural and Soviet-era political influence other than St. Petersburg, which dropped off some time ago. The intent here was to observe how and whether traditional Russian-influenced architecture, Russian constructivism, Soviet-era styles, and contemporary architecture of our time has or has not contributed to the idea of timelessness in architecture. In particular, the goal was to observe Prague’s modern architectural contributions, including Frank Gehry’s ‘Dancing House’and the Prague Telecommunications Tower.

Dancing House by Architect Frank Gehry

Zizkov Television Tower

A strategic jewel in the former Soviet bloc collection of states until the USSR’s collapse in 1987, this city of 1.3M/1.9M metro (known locally as Praha), sprung to life as one of Europe’s hot new party capitals after the fall of the Berlin wall, welcoming in all the top fashion retailers and opening up it’s capitalist doors to all citizens. Wenceslas Square, the dividing point between old and new Prague (actually a long boulevard with a wide public space down the center) is ground zero for everything from public exhibitions and shops/restaurants to hotels and seedy cabarets, and is terminated at one end by the Czech National Museum. Unlike the politically-driven family values police in the U.S., Prague, like many large European cities, seems to have no issue with the proliferate ‘dens of iniquity’ shadowing its historic landmarks.

Even in winter, with its cobblestones and mosaic-tiled hardscapes hidden by snow, the city exudes an astonishing beauty, save for the drive in from the airport, which could be mistaken for the West side of Chicago.

Budapest, Hungary

Danube River with the Citadel on left and Chain Bridge ahead

Modern commercial office building on the Buda Hills side of the city

New vs Old Construction, Budapest City Center

Parliament Building

Memorial Sculpture

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