I’m staring at an enormous silver head. Stationed outside the chic Quadrio shopping centre in Prague, it’s Czech sculptor David Cerny’s depiction of legendary author Franz Kafka. Sliced into segments, the head rotates and shifts constantly. Simultaneously, Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration” blares from a nearby cafe.
It’s a surreal moment on a warm May afternoon. But the Czech Republic specializes in surprises and contrasts. It’s romantic but quirky, prosperous yet ultra-affordable.
This Central European nation of 10 million produced Kafka, whose tortured, paranoid literary vision became world-famous. However, for hardcore hockey fans, the most famous Czech is arguably happy-go-lucky NHL superstar Jaromir Jagr. Last May, Canada won gold at the IIHF World Championship in Prague, but Jagr was named tournament MVP – at the advanced age of 43. That’s almost as surreal as waking up and discovering you’ve turned into a giant insect, as in Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.
Fittingly, I decided to tour the Czech capital and the neighbouring cities of Kutna Hora and Pilsen in the spirit of the NHL’s fourth all-time leading scorer...Read full article.
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