As I walked along the narrow streets I passed a multitude of souvenirs shops, with their racks of fridge magnets and sunglasses and t shirts cluttering the pavement outside. I was strolling by one particular shop, when something caught the morning light and glinted a silent beckoning to me. As I approached the object I was disappointed to find it was merely one of those snow globes with a miniature model of a town inside. However, when I picked the snow globe up and shook it, something entirely unexpected happened.
I suddenly found myself in a narrow cobbled street, looking up at towering spires and onion domes, archways piled on top of each other in a frenzied surge towards the blue sky above. In the background i could hear the peaceful babbling of the river. It was like scene from a Mervyn Peake novel.
A medieval microcosm, filled with infinitesimal details.
I walked through the stony streets, tripping on rough hewn cobbles and marvelling at the hand painted wooden shop signs; the sweet smell of Trdelnik baking on their rumbling metal rollers and the wooden bowls of spelt porridge being eaten at communal tables by the riverbank.
In the ornate gardens high above the town valley, I sat in an outdoor theatre and watched the swallows chasing flies from the eaves of overlapping rooftops. I felt like a powerless deity in this tiny place; a voyeur looking down on so many lives happening all at once, witnessing the details of every interaction simultaneously, but I could not truly partake in any of it.
This uneasy feeling was shattered by a voice, which said:
“Are you going to buy that or not?”
I realised I was still stood outside the shop, amongst the confusion of souvenir display racks, still holding the snow globe in my palm.
Inspired by the wonderful city of Český Krumlov.