Lower Than but Not Less Than

Prague, Czech Republic
May 1, 2022

Prague has an area they refer to as Lesser Town but not in an disparaging way, our guide Jana didn’t like the term either. Lesser Town means it’s lower in elevation in its proximity to the river and more prone to flooding.

The area is also where most of the foreign embassies are located in beautiful old buildings. The streets are narrow and are made of cobblestones that give a unique yet comforting sound as cars drive by. You can judge the speed of a car by the pitch of the tires whining upon the cobblestones.

Many of the houses also have names like Three Stork, Blue Horse, Golden Flower, Golden Snake ( two houses were named that) and Golden Crown to name a few. The namesake of the house similar to a coat of arms is often located above the door or mounted on the corner of the outside of the house and you guessed it are usually painted gold.

The lower elevation of Lesser Town has historically caused problems when the river floods and in 2002 they had a massive rain storm for three straight days causing the river to raise to alarming heights. A door to a house was marked with the flood levels of years past and the 2002 water level was at 7 feet, this house sits over 20 feet high from the current river level!

So here’s what Prague did to mitigate future flooding, there are 10” wide strips of stainless steal imbedded at ground level running down streets, around buildings and sectioning off areas. If there is any risk of flooding they unfastened the plates and insert barriers to keep the water out of the buildings. Many of the buildings are government buildings in this area they need to protect.

The neighborhood is also home to the John Lennon Wall, a wall thats been a gathering point for past protests and Lennon became a symbol for peace. The wall is painted with encouraging, thoughtful words and poems of peace. There are also notes of hopes and dreams from those who seek solace from the past and the future. We took a shameless selfie.

Down the street from the mindfulness of the Lennon Wall was a small river with the statue of the River Man, a Boogie Man from past fairy tells who would pull you into the river if you didn’t behave or eat your peas. Sorry mom but I hated peas.

Our morning walking tour now led us to the river with a view of “Child’s” bridge. We had heard Childs Bridge mentioned or pointed out on maps since our arrival and we now learned it was really named Charles Bridge after King Charles, but with that cute Czech accent…

I appreciate and respect anyone who speaks more than one language so the following is not to insult anyone but to demonstrate the charming Czech accent as applied to English words. Our lovely guide Jana spoke wonderful English but a few words had her own special spice to them. I did a double take when I heard her say “ many men lived in the buttocks”. What? Below are a few translations.

Buttocks = barracks
Pea coat= peacock, bird
Off Asses= offices
Hell see= healthy

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About Allan

Family, travel, drums and watches. Marla and I have been traveling together for over 40 years. I love going somewhere new experiencing that wonderful feeling of the unknown, getting uncomfortable and having an adventure. As Anthony Bourdain said, “… travel leaves a mark on you and you leave a mark on it…”

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