Before we left Agia Effimia – the coastal town where we were staying on Kefalonia in Greece – we walked the whole way to Myrtos Beach, over an uneven, sometimes flooded trail and some paved road, winding up on a swath full of switchbacks, to walk way, way down to the beach for a gorgeous vista. Overall, it was well worth the effort.
Loren decided that we would hitch a ride back, and the first car that came along stopped for us. A couple from Germany, though he is originally from Greece, were our friendly Samaritans, and we were back to our guesthouse in no time. For our last full day in Greece Loren and I took a private cooking class. We made a traditional meat pie, Greek salad and tzatziki, and together enjoyed our delicious meal, complete with wine and desert. That evening as Loren and I went out for our last walk, we spied our German friends at an outdoor table of a cafe. We joined them for coffee then beer and the evening quick passed in memorable conversation.
As we took our leave of Greece, I wrote my latest poem:
The Walk to Myrtos
Claire Adalyn Wright
An unusually muddy, rocky trail
intense sun bakes my face
prickly Live Oak leaves
tear at my hair. Ouch!
Thorns grab, pierce my
clothes, prick my skin, draw
droplets of blood. Oww!
Finally, a long, steep road down
finds the beach is not sand but stone.
A glorious, sunny, fall day calls us forth.
Trees line either side, on the path
through a fertile valley. Beautiful!
Side street proclaims, “The Olive Story,”
a sandwich, soft drinks, make good breaks.
The wide, winding road opens down to
aqua-turquoise water. Frothy white surf
caresses a bleached pebbled white beach.
Easier to walk here in sandals than sand!
We had a 4:30am taxi pickup for our flights – through Athens to Prague, Czech Republic, where our AirBnB host picked us up for the hour long drive to his place where we are staying. Prague is a city that represents what most large European cities would look like if not for the destruction during World War II. It is believed that Adolf Hitler was enamored of Prague so insisted on sparing it. The city is full of spires, statues and cobblestone streets from the Medieval to Baroque eras, and of course there are some more modern buildings too. One day we walked through one of the city gates of Staré Mesto – Old Town, which is one of the four quarters – or the four former separate towns – that make up Prague.
Prague is a lovely city where it is fine and easy to walk, so we have walked a lot this week. We were surprised to find an Apple museum here, mainly a tribute to Steve Jobs, from what we saw of the free first floor level.
We also walked part of the Royal Way, crossing over Karluv Most – Charles Bridge to arrive in Malá Strana – Lesser Town or Little Side, of the River where the King once lived. I recognized the familiar Slavic words “Old” and “Most” from Mostar’s Stari Most – Old Bridge, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The bridge here is named for King Charles. Both spans are reserved for pedestrians, who flock to them.
We sought out the John Lennon Wall down one of the side streets. I find it interesting how Steve Jobs somewhat resembles John Lennon, but perhaps it is just because they were contemporaries, wearing similar hair styles.
Then we walked the gentle uphill path toward Strahov Monastery. Along the way we found many of the crafted signs that at one time were used to identify houses – before numbering was introduced. We stopped to enjoy the view of Prague’s skyline over a bowl of soup and a beer at a cafe next to the Monastery on the hill.
In the evening we took in a Black Light Theater show. Traditional to Prague, this is fantasy and comedy, combined in silence. It was most entertaining! It also reminded me of an outstanding memorial service performance that we had attended some time ago in San Francisco. It honored a friend’s daughter, who was a professional clown. Another coincidence is that the theater building is named Palac Unitaria – Unitarian Palace…
Another day our plans were thwarted to take a bus to Cesky Krumlov as we were misinformed of the transport provider and where to pick the bus up. So, we make lemonade when life gives us lemons. I walked back down to Old Town to take a Bikram Yoga class – my first in nearly a year, since last November, and the first since I broke my pelvis, which was last December. Our delicious lemonade lasted well into the evening, as we were then free to attend a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake that we had thought we would have to pass on. I bought the tickets on my way back from the yoga class. It was delightful, and especially because this troop changed the plot that we had read beforehand to have a happy ending instead – the Evil Sorcerer was the one to die in this version, allowing the Prince and his lovely Swan to live happily ever after.
Last fall at the European Unitarian Universalist Retreat in Cologne, we had met an American who lives in Prague. This week we saw her and another local EUU member, over brunch at an ex-Pat cafe. We have so enjoy visiting with Unitarians on our journey, as it feels like a connection to home, and is wonderful to spend time with people who have similar values. We learned that the Black Light Theater is also where the Unitarian offices are located.
Unlike the former Yugoslavian states that we visited on the Balkan Peninsula who had kept up relations with both western and eastern regimes, what was Czechoslovakia – now the Czech Republic and Slovakia, was dominated by Soviet rule. Thanks to our friends’ suggestion, in the afternoon we visited the Museum of Communism. The caption on their flyer is “Dream, Reality, Nightmare.” Just outside the museum is the large square with a statue of the historic Good King Wenceslas and it is the site where the 1989 nonviolent Velvet Revolution took place. Wenceslas hails from the Czech Republic, as does composer Antonin Dvorak.
We finished our week in Prague by attending two classical music performances at St. Nicholas church, with a tasty traditional Czech pub dinner in between. The highlight of the music was Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in the second concert, which was played by an Historic Instruments orchestra that included a Baroque violinist. It is becoming noticeably wetter and colder during our short stay in Prague, with temperatures down to the 40’s and 50’s Fahrenheit. We are set to travel further north to Hamburg then Berlin this coming week… Brrr!
PLEASE NOTE: This week we have decent internet coverage, but may not have viable service over the next few weeks. Please check back here, I will share my weekly post when and as often as I can.