The bureaucracy expands to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy

Up and out the door before dawn to try and get a few shots of the bridge (the Charles bridge, 12th century stone walking bridge) before too many people get up. Got some nice shots, very cold and very grey but that fits the city, it’s not a light or delicate place, understandable why Kafka saw it as such an oppressive, heavy thing. Sure is gorgeous though.

Hopefully, and according to the forecast, today will be the only ice cold, wet day. I’m wearing every bit of clothing I brought, may end up regretting not bringing a coat. In honour of the grey I made today Kafka Day, all Franz all the time.

Breakfast and coffee at the Savoy, where Kafka and his Bohemian intelligensia used to hang {including Einstein).

Walked around more after breakfast waiting for the Kafka House Museum to open, Every street and every building and every block and every intersection is a breathtakingly imposing and beautiful mixture of baroque and neoclassical and Gothic buildings and castles and schools and hotels, not sterile though, lived in, grimey, graffitid.

Kafka felt that he couldn’t get away from the shadow of the city, writing to a friend:

“This city doesn’t let go, the old crone has claws, one has to yield, or else”

The museum is small but really well done, focused as much on his personal and work life and their unhappinesses as it is on his writing. Kafka worked for years for the Worker’s Accident Insurance Institute, basically for Worker’s comp, filing papers, writing reports, checking insurance claims and writing guides for the correct general safe use guidelines regarding industrial rollers and brushes, the museum has depressing samples of these reports along with lots of general bureaucratic papers that Kafka kept as examples of his torment.

One floor consists of narrow corridors of walls made up of giant black faux filing cabinets, some of the cabinets have phones coming out of the front, if you pick up the phone you hear random German, Yiddish or Czech voices reading various government files in a monotone.

Photos are not allowed so I had to be quiet.

After the museum I spent a few hours just walking around some of his old places and reading The Trial on my kindle, corny? yup. pretentious? you bet!

Went to the modern art gallery, saw some not great art and got in an argument with the phalanx of seriously Soviet older lady art guards about whether or not the no-photo policy also meant that I could not take pictures of just the nameplates of pieces I liked to remember them for later, dare I say the experience was…. kafkaesque.

Overdid the walking a bit, nearly 30,000 steps, have to pace things better, tomorrow should be warmer though, happy about that, lots of stuff to see still, perhaps even get up the guts to chat more with my Airbnb host couple, they seem really nice, also really young.


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