Michaela Merz

An October Monday in Prague

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Prague is a very vivid and pulsating city. There is a lot to see and, provided that one does not behave like a sterile tourist, there is also a lot to experience.

With my youngest one we went to visit the grandmother in Prague. After an exciting day with rambling, living sculptures, street musicians we just wanted to go home to stretch our legs. We went to the subway. The platform was full; we were in the afternoon rush-hour. The train arrives and the waiting mass moves in direction of the door. Strange noises come from the opening doors and the mass of people carries us with them into the wagon. And there a bloody fight is taking place. Someone calls for the police. I want to hold back but it is hardly possible. We are pushed to the side at the inside of the wagon. I consider for a moment whether we should get off again but before I can do anything, the rowdies jump out of the wagon, the door closes and the train starts moving.

At that moment everyone starts coughing. I pull the pullover over nose and mouth of my youngest one and do the same for me. A clever young woman starts systematically opening all the small windows in the wagon. It is obvious that some kind of gas had been set free. But we are all helpless. At the next stop I hastily get off the train and pull my youngest one behind me.

We change to a bus and after 500m we witness how a car takes the right of way from the tram and crashes frontal into the tram. The damage is huge; the driver appears to be unhurt. But both the rails and the street are blocked for public transport.

We walk the next 4 bus stops and when we arrive home we watch from the ninth floor of the house the chaos on the street. There is still no bus.

When the evening news announce that the police had found in the river Vltava in the middle of Prague six packages with parts of human bodies, my youngest one tells me that he does not feel save. And I can understand his fear.

It is not as bad as the story may seem but it is definitely far away from a rural idyll.

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