Yesterday was a big day in the Czech Republic for two reasons, the first being the death of Vaclav Havel. Don't know about Vaclav Havel? He is one of the Czech Republic's singularly most important icons of the last 100 years, and possibly ever, in that case. Vaclav Havel dying yesterday was like John F. Kennedy dying in the 1960's, though Havel was 75 years old and had lived through a bit more of his potential.
The second big thing to happen yesterday was that it snowed. I left my house to walk the 30 minutes to downtown at 6:00 yesterday evening and was left gaping at the gorgeous flurry pouring out of the sky, landing on my pea coat and sticking, not melting. And I walked through the Christmas markets, sniffing cinnamon coated almonds and hot wine, and walked even farther past the glowing national museum, smiling enormously because snow is magical. Even if it is quite cold.
The two events collided when I hit Wenceslas Square, where an enormous group of people were gathered to the point of immobility on the sidewalks. Someone in the sea of people was belting the Czech national anthem into a microphone, and it was broadcasted all over the square. A larger than life Czech flag was being held up by hundreds of people in front of the giant Monument to Saint Wenceslas, which was covered in glowing candles.
(And we aren't talking a tiny cute town square. Wenceslas is so big that some lazy people take the metro from the top of the square to the bottom of it.)
|The photo I wish I had taken. Note: snow.|
It was snowing, and people were chanting "Long live Havel" in Czech, and some people were smiling and others were crying and there I was...with no camera...but living in history and loving every moment of it.