We had a glitch in our day getting to Prague. When we got to the airport, our scheduled flight on Czech Airlines was not on the board, and there was no representative at the Czech Airlines office. Apparently, the flight no longer existed. Fortunately, our travel agent was able to rebook us through Moscow, but it was a long slog and Moscow was the dirtiest and rudest airport I’ve ever been in–I’m sure there are worse, but this was a low for us. We got to Prague after midnight, tired and cranky.
Prague itself is a wonderful city, definitely more upbeat than Russia! Sadly, it’s horribly clogged with other tourists, mostly in huge groups. Our first days here were weekend days. I’m hoping it will be a little better during the week. Even so, as soon as you leave the main streets, things get back to normal. And early in the morning, even the main streets are clear. This was about 9 am.
A visit to the Jewish Museum put our small travel problems in perspective–a harrowing series of exhibits of the fate of the large, integrated Czech Jewish population after the Nazis invaded in 1941. Many were shipped to Teresienstadt, then to Auschwitz. Only a tiny fraction survived. The entire Pinkas Synagog is covered with carefully calligraphed names of those who died–like the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, only infinitely more so.
Then there are exhibits of chidren’s drawings from Teresienstadt, which was used as a sort of show camp by the Nazis, so children weren’t immediately gassed. Row after row of pictures by children from age six to about twelve, all with death dates of 1943 or 1944. I was very glad they didn’t allow photos. It made it all the more immediate.
A graffiti I saw after spending the morning at the museum echoed my thoughts.
On a lighter note, walking back I saw a huge, inflated soup can. I looked at it and immediately thought, “Are they having a Wharhol exhibit?” And of course, they are.
My favorite Warhol quote (via Larry, of course), when asked to define art, Warhol said “Art is what sells as art.” The interviewer said, “What about Van Gogh, who couldn’t sell his art?” Warhol: “It wasn’t art.” Interviewer: “But after he died, it sold for millions of dollars.” Warhol, “Then it was art.”