Notes from my recent trip to Prague.
i) At 30C it was hot and sunny.
ii) The beer was very good – actually very, very good and the rumour that it is cheaper than water is true.
iii) The city is breathtakingly beautiful (though all those cobbles are hard on the feet).
iv) The Old Town Square hosted the funniest street artist I’ve ever seen.
v) Kafka’s novel, The Castle, remains as inscrutable as ever.
Having had a great time, the question is would I want to live there permanently? Rachael Weiss’s The Thing About Prague provides the view of an Australian trying to relocate permanently, This is not the first book she’s written about Prague, having previously published Me, Myself and Prague which was based on a 12-month temporary stay. Prague had impressed her so much during that trip, that she got her cat adopted, sold up in Australia and moved back to start a new life.
I think it would be fair to say that she wasn’t expecting things to be so difficult. In addition to the usual things when moving countries – or in Weiss’s case continents and hemispheres – learning a new language, making new friendships, finding employment, there was the obstacle specially reserved for non-EC citizens, obtaining the work permit. Hers is a narrative replete with dodgy employers, unethical practices, incompetent lawyers and real-life bureaucracy that makes Kafka’s inventions appear sane! Weiss relates her trials and tribulations with aplomb, humour and lashings of (the most excellent) Czech beer.
While life didn’t go entirely to plan, and things worked out after three years (though not in the Czech Republic), this made for great in-situ holiday reading. And the question of moving to Prague never was a real one for me. One look at the winter temperatures is enough. However, The Thing about Prague did make me regret destroying those diaries of my own adventures abroad. There might have been a book in me after all.
© Lizzy’s Literary Life 2007-2015