The morning after Christmas, we walked frozen cobblestones across the square; there were abandoned igloos around an empty ice-skating rink, and the smell of last night’s soured chestnut soup. A bumpy car ride began our love affair with the Mother of all Cities.
Daughter had an icy morning and needed thawing with lots of hugs and encouragement. We prodded her past one hundred spires, over Charles Bridge, crowds squeezed in a grey tube of gothic paint, acrylic-slated architecture. The winter chill shielded by a mass of moving bodies, the vendors and the artists lining the sides, as we wound our way to the market’s straw mangers. Mother Mary, recovered quickly from her birthing experience, now stood beside Joseph beaming at baby Jesus. I always wondered why she wasn’t lying down in the straw in these nativity scenes, just resting from her labor, the mother of God.
Two tummies rumbled, so I took my brood to the Vytopna Railway Restaurant. My son’s hazel eyes expanded by the view of many model trains running around garlands, crossing trestles to serve us beverages on a rail line. The highlight of a four-year-old’s day, the tracks take me back to the twenty-three stitches that bounded me back together after my littlest sunshine appeared.
There are many side streets left to walk amidst this Golden City, through the lingering Christmas Markets, beside the astronomical clock, the oldest in the world, still running as a woman’s clock always runs, reminding her that she might one day be known as mother.
Prague, Christmas 2019