At a cafe in Český Krumlov

• November 3, 2006 • Comments (0)

I trace the ceramic leaves with my fingers
hang on to the edge of the table
sway with the Christmas tune playing in harmony with the snow outside
though not with the month
piano keys hit lightly like feet dancing on a stone floor
accompanied by dishes being put away
terracotta notes in a room with black-and-white photographs
this could be Paris – there’s even an Eiffel tower –
apart from the Budvar placemats
and the soft sound of Czech spoken in the other room
I crawl the walls with my gaze
seek out the crevices, smell the paint
dig into the wall-to-wall carpet to find its secrets left by previous guests

The persistant noice from a coca-cola fridge
is invading my sound-space
and just as I think that, it quiets down
they have 2 dl bottles here
in glass with white print
I want to bring some home
as decoration

These streets are mine to explore in the afternoon
my feet long for them but dread the cold
my mind paints pictures of web photo galleries
being a photographer, though engulfed in the here and now of every shoot, sometimes means looking ahead and having a shield instead of experiencing things face on
it also means being able to experience them again months, years later
there is a balance there

There are stairs going up and down
downstairs is a restaurant
upstairs is darkness
upstairs intrigues me more
but there’s an iron gate stopping me
but not my mind
it is free to wander up the stairs hoping they won’t creak and give me away
at the top of the staircase is a wooden door
and as I sneak through the keyhole
I see a man at a desk
fallen asleep
leaning over bills and notes
he’s wearing a flanel shirt
half-open
and his dark curls hide his face
he reminds me of the guide at Staropramen brewery
smiling teasingly, happy to talk about his favourite subject
everyone who works there taste the beer from the taps, he said, not just the ones being beer tasters by profession
it’s one of the perks
the granát beer was ruby and cold, a special brew that doesn’t reach Sweden
we enjoyed it, as did the 13 Finns who took the tour with us
13 Finns wasn’t among our top guesses when we wondered who our company might be
they were from Lahti
Finns like beer
so it did make sense

You don’t hear much Czech music here
in the Czech republic
it’s mostly international hits
which is a bit of a shame
the Czech language is phonetic
once you figure out how to pronounce the most common letter combinations you can read it correctly
I haven’t, yet
they have a U with a ring on top
like in Můstek
I find myself wondering what keeps it there in mid-air
Swedish also has a vowel with a ring
but the top of the A supports it
when I look at the Ů I see the ring falling down
like magnesium into a test tube
like blood poured in test-tubes at the Krumlov Horor bar
where I need to go tonight

I want to return here
in spring
sit outdoors and write
drink absinth on crazy evenings
face myself in dark cafes
travelling alone can be rewarding
it can also be done at any time
travelling with a group of fellow writers is unique
these days in the Czech republic have been magic
going back would be a different trip

Category: Photo, Travels, Writing

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