Photographer's Note

Another slightly grainy photo from my rather old slide collection, converted to a sepia monochrome.

I can remember well my first visit to Prague in 1974, when the Iron Curtain was still hanging. I made several more visits to Prague before the 'velvet revolution' of November, 1989, but little changed in those years except the weather. The buildings became more covered in grime as the years passed. Since then, Prague's true splendour and its colours have been revealed or restored.

On this occasion I had arrived early in the morning on the night train from Ostrava, which had involved two changes of train and an attempted sleep of several hours in a not quite deserted station in the middle of somewhere (despite my Scottish name, I have relatives in Ostrava on my mother's side). I had most of the day to fill, I remember, before my connecting train to Nuremberg, so I tramped about with my camera in the very dim, grey light and gentle rain of the bleak morning. There were so few people about, all workers either hurrying or shuffling to their offices, and such-like; no tourists, none at all. Just the occasional diplomatic official or 'western' businessman, I suppose.

This faintly melancholy scene shows, through what I think was more pollution than mist, the great St Vitus' Cathedral in its elevated Prague Castle surrounds. I've tried to work out, from photos and maps I found on the Internet, the location of this one, without success. Perhaps a Prague resident who happens to see this photo will recognise the street.

One other memory of that occasion: after being forced to change a minimum amount of dollars into Koruna upon arrival in Czechoslovakia (as it was then) my relatives would not let me spend one heller of it. When I arrived at the station to board the train for Nuremberg I still had most of it - completely useless outside the country. I bought a few chocolate bars (quality, indescribable) which I paid for with the equivalent of perhaps $50, leaving the change with the salesgirl, speechless with puzzlement and joy at her windfall. But I couldn't explain.

Edit: thanks to Dasha, whose critique can be found below, I now know that this photo was taken in Valdštejnská, or Wallenstein, which I've been able to locate on a map of Prague.

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Additional Photos by Andrew McRae (macondo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2978 W: 101 N: 5253] (20449)
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