Friday, 11 December 2015

Berlin and Prague, 1938

So...if you recall from last Friday, it's the summer of 1938 and The Uncle and his mates are off on their summer hols, winding their way down through Germany and Czechoslovakia towards Hungary.

Clearly not one of The Uncle's photographs, but interesting nonetheless.  Now The Lads didn't stay in the Hotel Burghof, but in the neighbouring Hotel K├Ânig von Portugal, later to be destroyed by Allied bombing during WWII.  It was a traditional Berlin hotel and lay, as the postcard shows, on the banks of the Spree just opposite the City Palace, the large domed structure you can see on the left bank above.  Unlike the hotel, the Palace itself largely survived the attention of the Allies, but only made it as far as 1950, when the GDR decided to demolish it.  It is, apparently, in the process of being rebuilt.

Unfortunately I don't have any snaps of Berlin - The Uncle must have been saving his film for Hungary.  But we have one or two of Prague...

...presumably taken from their hotel window:

I like this one, of the Bridge of Saints, or Charles Bridge if you prefer:

The statues on the bridge and the street light are impressive.  As is the little sign hanging above the middle of the bridge, which indicates that horse-drawn wagons aren't allowed.  The times they were a-changing...

A very interesting bridge, Charles Bridge - dates back to 1357, which is a fair few years ago.  The bridge is lines with statues of Saints, hence the colloquial name.  Prague, apparently, succumbed to the interests of both the Germans and the Russians during WWII but barely a bullet was fired, so the bridge remained more or less intact.  Here's a period postcard of the bridge.

And one of Wenceslas Square, or Horse Market as it used to be known in the Middle Ages.  Famous nowadays of course for the scenes of mass demonstrations during the Velvet Revolution of 1989.  It would appear, going by recent history, that Czechoslovakians embrace change relatively calmly...

And one of 'the old clock on the town hall':

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, we have The Lads relaxing:

What a fine-looking bed that is - and a fine-looking wardrobe to match.  Now we have two of The Lads smartly dressed and in some sort of suspended animation while the third is languishing in his PJs in bed, eyes closed and cigarette in mouth.  A wonderful moment in time.  Surely proof, if ever proof was needed, to take more photographs of normal stuff...

Just to show you that The Uncle was there, in this one he has swapped places with the sleeping smoker:

Fully dressed but under the bedclothes - perhaps it was a chilly summer, 77 years ago in Prague.  He's not in many snaps, The Uncle - presumably since he was behind the camera most of the time.  A bit like myself - and to be honest, it's the best place for me.

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