The Broken Face & The Familiar Road

The Broken Face in Stromovka park.

It's always nice to share something -- or someplace -- you love with someone with similar passions.

Such was the case on a recent Saturday, which was, sadly, a working day for me.

I cycled to work in central Prague from my home in Černý Vůl, northwest of the city, by my usual route. Through Unetice, to Roztoky, along the river to Sedlec, Podbaba, through Stromovka park to Vsytaviste, through some city streets to Stefanikuv bridge, across to Revolucni street, and then into the center of the city.

My ride into town was largely uneventful, except for The Broken Face.

On a sidewalk in Stromovka lay the pieces of a gigantic female face, a striking sculpture of a sleeping woman, broken into three or four large chunks. The face here. The ear there.

Why it was in that spot, who put it there, and how it got broken are all still mysteries.

I only know it was an arresting sight, and that no one but I seemed to pay any attention to it.

Katarina (left) and Daisy and some empty beer mugs at Hospůdka Zvířátka in Roztoky.

On the way back home, I met up with a work colleague, Katarina Solikova, who has become pretty serious about her cycling. In fact, she's tallied more than 1,000 kilometers this season already, easily besting my puny output.

We met in central Prague so that we could ride together to Roztoky, where we were to meet up with Daisy at one of our favorite pubs, Hospůdka Zvířátka. And that we did, on a very pleasant summer's evening.

At Zvířátka, all three of us enjoyed a half-liter of the delicious Cerna Hora beer they serve there (one of six varieties of Cerna Hora on tap), and said hello to my cycling buddy James Gogarty, who was there with some friends of his, playing petanque. In addition to running an English-language school, James does a little visual design on the side, and it turns out he had drawn the very clever signs on the, uh, toilets at the pub. Probably some of his most-viewed work!

The signs feature whimsical drawnings of the pub's owners and some of the creatures that populate the place (Zviratka means "little animals"). Very cool.

A field of barley outside Okoř.

From Roztoky, we headed back to Černý Vůl, to Statenice, and then onto -- yes, you guess it -- Okoř, the greatest cycling destination within 25 kilometers of Prague. Okoř, of the stunning 14th-century castle ruins and the wonderful Hotel Okoř, where you can sit outside at the picnic tables and enjoy a tall, cold glass of Pilsner Urquell and bask in the setting sunshine.

We then cycled back toward Černý Vůl in the gloaming, past fields of golden barley, our shadows reaching far down the road.


Length of ride: 52 kilometers
Average speed: 17.8 kph
Maximum speed: 48.2 kph
Pivo Index: 2
Time on the bike: 2.52.22
Distance ridden so far in 2008: 897 kilometers

Looking back toward Okoř, the castle ruins just visible in the center.

Heading toward the village of Lichoceves, after leaving Okoř..


Anonymous said…
Le sourire persuasif de la modernité.

Ici il y a une
grande couleur qui
me prend doucement
dans l'aube de
mes rêves, comme
une frele harmonie
qui rappelle la jeunesse;
et quand le vent
disparaît en donnant
cette poésie, là-bas,
dans mon coeur,
un sourire corporel
invente la tempête.

Francesco Sinibaldi

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