It’s raining today, not the first time it’s rained since I’ve been here, but for some reason it seems so much more humid than it has in the past. I suspect it may just be me. I think I’m still fighting some sort of fever, it almost feels like I have the flu except I have no other symptoms (anymore) except for a constant clammy feeling and a vague ache in my neck. Today is the day we go to the British Embassy for a “garden party”, although I’m pretty sure with this weather it will be moved inside. I’ve brought a nice outfit to wear to the party — a pretty blue handkerchief top with flowing black capris — but with this weather I didn’t want to walk with dressy sandals over slick cobblestones, so I’m wearing my tennis shoes until I get to the Embassy. (That’s “trainers” for you Brits.) I’ve also put on a windbreaker, and am wearing it with the hood up to protect my hair (which I straightened this morning), so all in all I feel like a pretty big nerd walking down the street. I’m going to look nice once I’m in the party, I hope. Unless this rain and my own personal humidity melts me before I get there.
I realized yesterday that we’re just past the halfway point of being in Prague, and that sad feeling of “impending end” has taken root. I love it here. I know that once the festival ends and all the people leave it will all be different from what it is today, but I want to hold on to this place awhile longer. I don’t usually have a great appreciation of architecture, but Prague is absolutely amazing. I can actually feel history here, it’s everywhere. I can breathe it, I can touch it, it fills me up. Every time I turn down a new street I look up and feel like I’m in a painting. I can almost see the tracks of horse-drawn carriages in the cobblestones. Yesterday I peeked in the back window of a marionette store and saw the room where the dolls are made. Little clay hands and feet lay on the window sill, spools of thread hung on the walls behind the sewing machine, and the whole room was straight out of the “Streets of Old Milwaukee” exhibit at the Milwaukee museum. Which is a pretty lame comparison, I realize, because Prague was here before Milwaukee was even a glint in Amerigo Vespucci’s eye. But from the frame of reference of someone who has always wanted to live the feelings she gets from studying history, it’s pretty damn awesome. This isn’t just intellectual. It’s burrowed into my soul.
I wish I had words to describe how I feel. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to adequately share any of my experience here with anyone back home. Prague has to be experienced. There is no other way.