One of the benefits I get from traveling is that I learn things that stick with me. These are things that I should probably already know, but have not set up shop in my mind. For example, my understanding of European geography is getting better, knowing the relative position of various countries and cities. Central Europe is now coming into clearer focus for me.
What did I know about the writer Franz Kafka before our trip to Prague? I knew he wrote stories in German, and I’m pretty sure I’ve read one of the most famous ones, The Metamorphoses. Maybe I read The Trial, too, but that would have been in high school, so I don’t remember. I know that his otherworldly landscapes gave rise to the phrase Kafkaesque, a phrase which I have been known to use.
What I learned: Kafka was born in Prague. He wrote in German because his parents were German-speaking Jews and sent him to German schools.
This plaque graces the location of the building where he was born.
This statue is the official monument to the writer. The image comes from his story Description of a Struggle.
Although I can’t really imagine what the Kafka Museum would hold, I later read reviews that said it was very good, so here is at least one reason to return to Prague someday.
Post-trip led me to this Kafka quote, “The first sign of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die.”
Which parallels nicely for me into another event we witnessed during our trip. Yes, again we saw people swimming in the frigid waters of a river. We just happened upon this while wandering the city streets, and I had to marvel, once again, at people who do this.