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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Like a Walk in the Park: Svarak on the Go

Letenske Park observation

So I found Letenské Sady. From where I stood the other day, all I needed to do was cross the busy street and walk vertically. But on Sunday I took the tram at Hradcanska and got off halfway down the hill, on the western edge of Letenské. This park is a nice place for a walk: it’s flat (mostly), filled with trees and benches, has open spaces for play, and has three restaurants with outdoor seating. Letenské’s centerpiece is lookout “square” high above the Vltava River, giving just about the best view of Prague. From here you can look up the river and over several bridges, see the castle, and all the church spires of Old Town.photographerThis spot used to be dominated by a statue of Joseph Stalin, but after 1989’s Velvet Revolution, that was taken down. (I’m not sure if the people tore it down and broke it into pieces, or the new government took it away for the slag heap.) In Uncle Joe’s place stands a two-storey metronome, its red arm swinging back and forth over the city. This represents about the oddest art piece I’ve seen in Europe. Who the hell wants to be reminded of the passage of time?

This overlook square is a bit run down, but a perfect spot for skateboard fuckers because of all the smooth stone. They flock here on the weekends to practice their tricks and break their wrists. I also spotted several punk boys showing their otherness with mohawks and leather gear.


Prague PunksSunday was a semi-warm day, nearly 40 degrees, and no wind. Perfect for walking. I took the path east, away from skate-land, and soon found one of the park’s watering holes. In winter, the drink to have Svarak vinó, a hot spiced wine with sugary flavors. Yummie! As I got a cup, the sun came out and everything seemed to warm up. Lots of people walk their dogs in the park, and then there are the pram cavalcades.Far to the east you can take another steep path to get down to the river. This is the spot of the 1958 World Expo, which was an important expo because it was the first following WWII, and the first to include commie countries under direct influence of the USSR. There’s one pavilion remaining, an ultra modern glass building that must have looked pretty futuristic back then. For larger pics of the park and overlooking Prague, jump to my Flickr page.

Na shledanou!

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