After the long silence of roughly two months, I am back with another retrospective entry. Sorry for the delay, if there is anyone to apologize to, that is.
In early July, my friend, Daniel, visited me for a week or so. He had done so a few times in the past, but this was the first time he decided to see me in Liberec, and not in Brno. Therefore, it was not only a possibility to spend some time, after not seeing each other for such a long time, but also a challenge in trying to show him as many aspects of the town and its surroundings as possible, obviously trying to concentrate only on the positive ones.
The situation was made slightly more complicated due to the fact that I had to simultaneously work on a manuscript, and its deadline for handing in was already slightly over. That is, I had to work and be a flexible, friendly and cheerful host at the same time. And I haven't even mentioned the personal problems looming in the background.
With all that, I think we spent a very nice week together, and indeed had a lot of fun.
The most "nationalistic" endeavor on our behalf was a pilgrimage to the building of the Střední průmyslová škola textilní v Liberci
, where once the 20th century Hungarian poet, Miklós Radnóti
studied for an academic year. We had no idea whether we would find any sign or plaque there, but the building was surely the one, as the school was using the building already in 1927/8, the year of Radnóti's studies. We did find a sign, although one only in Czech, which makes it quite likely that it wasn't installed by Hungarian organizations in the region, but probably by the authorities of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, as Radnóti was killed by the Nazis, much hated enemy, and sometimes scapegoat of state socialist régimes all over the Eastern Block. This, of course, is only my personal theory of the origins of the sign, as I don't have any official evidence. However, the fact that the text rather emphasizes his being killed by the Nazis
seems to support this interpretation.
We also visited Jablonec nad Nisou
, so he could experience traveling between two towns by tram, an experience not easily gotten anywhere else. Not to mention that Jablonec is a charming and beautiful town in itself. We even walked around the town's reservoir, and took some night photos.
We had some light hiking trips, as well. One was just in the neighborhood of the zoo, the other from the train station of Jesenný to the Bozkov caves, and the third the way up to the top of Ještěd. The caves were chosen because, as you might remember, I couldn't really see the inside of them the last time we had a trip with my colleagues. Ještěd was a very interesting experience this time, as we could experience clouds passing right in front of the glass panes of the tower, as well as walking through low clouds (or very heavy mist).
But no Czech experience would be full without good, traditional Czech food and excellent beer in a good pub. We had a lot of this, as well, of course. And knowing me, you would be able to tell in which pub we spent most of our time. Švihadlo
, of course. Little did we expect then that the photos we took would gain documentary value, as the place had been re-themed from a sports bar, to a jazz/cult films decorated one in a few weeks. That is why, it is now called Česká Beseda
, just like the hotel/ubytovna itself, and that is why we no longer have the possibility to experience seeing a real bob above one of the doors, a bike in one corner, just to mention a few of the old accessories.
We didn't have enough time to visit Dresden, as well, although we planned to do so. Never mind, we will do it next time. And maybe Wroclaw, too.