Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Post Prague

Sometimes there is nothing noteworthy to write about. I have the feeling this has nothing to do with the world and its events, these turn and churn at the same speed as always, but everything to do with the atmosphere accompanying summer – a sweet laziness stemming from a feeling everything is going to be fine no matter what.

But of course it won‘t. There are too many ways of messing life up floating around out there, that it is next to impossible to steer free of all of them. Unfortunately.

I have just come from Prague in the Czech Republic. It is a city showcasing so many beautiful buildings that it has got to be Europe‘s most impressive city eye-wise. The streets are quite simply lined with old well maintained buildings; everywhere you look there is a row of houses that takes your breath away. Some appear almost candy-coated and most are impossibly detailed.

I do not know precisely what some of the major European cities looked like before the Second World War ravaged the continent. But if they looked anything like Prague I must say that humans are certifiable to bring ruin to these age old efforts. Please do not read callousness into this regarding the human sacrifice that took place, this was of course beyond despicable. Despite looking as if no-one ever even breathed roughly in its direction, Prague was bombed in WWII. It was however to a lesser degree than many other cities, with about 2000 people dead or injured and 300 buildings destroyed or heavily damaged. The bombing of Prague is actually believed to have been carried out by mistake. High winds and a faulty radar lead the fighter planes off route and they bombed Prague instead of contributing to the horrifying carpet bombing of Dresden, around 120 km away. The top gun leading the formation of the allied air force was a man named Harold Van Opdorp, a Czech citizen that had joined the allies in order to help free his country from the Nazi rule. It was cloudy and he mistook the bend in the river Vltava for a similar bend in the Elba that runs through Dresden. He gave the orders to drop the 150 tons of bombs, not realizing he was bombing his own hometown and that on the receiving end were, amongst others, his parents that died in the attack. Only fate is known to be crueler than man.

In Iceland we do not have many old buildings. The country was dirt poor until it was occupied in exactly the same disgusting war mentioned above and our historical architecture bears this witness. The old buildings we do have we much admire and I think coming from a place of little historical wealth one is readily impressed by the grandeur of the major cities of the old world or antiquity. 

But much like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s little prince – when in the presence of endless beauty one thinks fondly back home to the charm of the diminutive. That little conceited rose used to be amongst my favorite fictional characters as a child. Unique in all the world.

Yrsa - Wednesday  


  1. Those old buildings are breathtaking. Much too expensive to build today. Things are much more practical today. The ravages of war continue to infuriate me. Too much human cost due to so many human errors.

  2. Conceited or not, your rose by any other name...

  3. Thanks a lot for dedication: "pro maminku" and "pro tatínka" :-) Lenka Maxova