Sunday, July 31, 2011

Prague sidewalks, or: When I go walking, I strut my stuff and I fall in holes

Prague is a beautiful, medieval city, mostly spared of the bombing during World War II. Being as old as it is, it shows some wear though, especially with settling roads and sidewalks. During my first visit to Prague in March 2010, I was surprised at how uneven the sidewalks were. The sidewalks are composed of small pavers/stones in patterns and some patterns bulged oddly from the settling. It was almost like one of those carnival funhouses to watch one walk down the street; the person appears to grow taller and shrink as she hits high and low spots in the sidewalk. The thing is, though, is that it's not so fun to trip in the holes.

Seriously, many of these sinkholes could take a person out. Granted, their sides were often sloped, but they could often still be six inches deep. I was so taken by the sinkholes that I made an impromptu music video (with singing done by moi) on a deserted street at night about the sinkholes. I took the Violent Femmes' Blister in the Sun and just tailored it to the Prague experience: "When I go walking, I strut my stuff, then I fall in holes." It was great stuff, I tell you.

About a year later, I returned to Prague, but this time a little later in the spring. I found the sinkholes less prevelant, making me wonder if the sinkholes were from winter thawing and freezing and municipal workers had repaired them. My travel companions and I actually witnessed the workers repairing the holes. Apparently it was as enthralling for others as it was for us because a crowd of slack-jawed tourists gathered around the workers, snapping pictures and chattering in various languages. I don't think that the workers were amused by their new-found celebrity but I have to say that I was very grateful to them because they helped me to avoid a twisted ankle.