Thursday, 2 September 2010


Hard to believe but after almost two years, it's over. My adventures around Prague's metro stations has come to an end. I reflected on this more last week and don't wish to rehash the recent past, especially when this stop proves to be one of the most interesting I've visited.

I know Roztyly quite well. Until early this year I took the bus home from here. Then during the heavy snows I decided to change to the train. I figured it would take about the same time and trains are better - more comfortable, better views, more opportunities to drift off into dream worlds. I think if we were to strip down to the undercarriage of fantasy it would be steam powered.

Today was the first time I'd been here in a while. In all the time I had been coming here, I never once ventured to the woods behind the station. There was no better time than today. I figured the walk would take me to a lodge which I've often seen at the top of a small hill. In fact, the woods turn out to be quite large with a few kilometres of trails running through them.

According to a sign there were muflons present. I have seen muflons in the wild before. A few of you may already know my oft-repeated anecdote about the time G. and I were collecting mushrooms when we heard a thumping coming toward us. G. moved behind a tree whereas I just froze. From the undergrowth three animals burst forth. At first I thought they were dogs until I saw that they had horns. This didn't allay my fears. In fact, they appeared to be coming straight for me. Suddenly, about ten meters away, they stopped, did an about face, and disappeared as quickly as they had come.

Today there were no such encounters. There were people picking mushrooms and I even stopped to have a look seeing as I had a bag with me. No, I'm not such a compulsive mycologist that I always carry one with me. My book was wrapped in it to stop the corners becoming tattered. The forest was picked clean. Even inedible ones had been turned over.

This forest is certainly a place I would like to return to. It is perfect for an afternoon stroll, especially now that autumn is just starting and the whole place smelled damp and rich. Autumn has settled on us early and, like so many, I love this season. It's not just the colours changing - something else novel to an antipodean - or even the free fungi in the forests. It is that the world has retreated and doesn't bully us like summer.

I turned randomly trying to cover as much ground as I could without getting lost. It wouldn't be possible. The traffic was an unbroken grind in the distance. All those car and trucks stewed together and poured somewhere out of sight. The mind had to work harder to escape. I'm not ashamed to say that I spend the greater part of my time doing just that.

Through the branches I saw the smooth green top of an algae covered bond. It was a good a place as any stop. The footpath continued on, but I take a seat and watch the ducks sift through the algae, eating trails through the sludge. Couldn't they just get more ducks to clean up the rest of the lake?

Prague 2008 - 2010


Rabbler said...

Wow! I've just found your blog via a link from the Czech football site that's in English! I am totally fascinated by it!
I first visited Prague on a footballl tour for a weekend in 2003. A long story, but in a nutshell, I'd never been here before despite it's 'pisshead paradise' reputation, & 2003 was my first tour in sobriety. I fell in love with the city, & came back in October for a few days, a 'thank you' to myself for still bein sober. I'm now over eight years sober, & this coming October re-visit for my tenth trip! I travel very cheaply, I can't afford more, but don't want more. I stay in backpackers hostels, (I'm at Ace Hostel, for the fourth time) & watch football & ice hockey, as well as just wandering the streets, jumping on & off of trams, which I love. The food is cheap, sights plentiful, & so much to see. If my 'mythical six numbers' ever came on up the lottery then I'd move to Prague. I've just read through the 2008 archive of your blog, & found it entertainingly oberservational.
I shall slowly savour the rest over the next couple of weeks.

Closely Observed Train Stations said...


Rabbler said...

Well...about three weeks later...I got there. I've read your blog from start to finish.As someone who only visits Prague for a few days a year it was weird, as i could actually still recognise some of the places. I'm left wondering if anyone has ever written such a blog on London? Far too many stations, & one I'd never have the dedication, but I wish I would!
Well done!

Anonymous said...

good work Ryan - still haven't read all your posts but I'll get to all those stations with you yet - congrats on finishing


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on finishing, Ryan! What came through in this last post for me (partly because I just read your review of Armand's Prague anthology yesterday) was your love for the city. I can't imagine doing the same thing in Melbourne, getting through it.. Loved the story of yours and G's encounter with the muflon. I still think you should collect them all together as one paper volume when you have some time for leisurely readers/reading. All the best for now, Tim

Anonymous said...

It's nice to say goodbye to you in the forest, by the lake. Thanks for sharing with us all your explorations, and I agree with Tim, maybe put them together in a paper form some day? I've enjoyed checking in with where you are on the metro line. Do you feel like an expert now?