Vaclav Havel, The Sex Pistols, 8BC.

The city I feel most connected to, believe it or not, is Prague. Prague set me on the course I’m on today. But for Prague, I never would have gone to law school, never would have gained such an appreciation for government and history, and certainly wouldn’t feel as worldly or fulfilled as I do now.

One of the most gut-wrenching aspects of Prague and Eastern Europe, aside from the beautiful gloominess, is that the wounds are still fresh. It really has only been 20 years since the fall of Communism, and you can still feel it – it’s not yet just a thing of museums. I can’t explain it, but for those of you that have been there, you understand. Fear is not something we soon forget. That’s why Vaclav Havel was such a beacon of light to the Czechs, and to the post-Communist communities in general.

It wasn’t until my time in Prague that Havel emerged as more than a passing symbol of bohemian spirit in Rent’s ever-popular “La Vie Boheme.” In the Czech Republic, he deserves more than one line of a song: he’s an ever-present reminder of the fall of Communism. He’s the first democratically-elected president of Czechoslovakia. He’s a revolutionary, a playwright, a brilliant reminder of all the heroes of the late 80s.

This morning, when I learned Havel passed away, I realized that a country – perhaps, a region – lost one of its heroes. Havel is a reminder to all of us to ask questions, challenge norms, and stand up for our beliefs. He was living proof that a minority can change the status quo. He’s one of the reasons the Czech Republic is what it is today. I’m dying to return to the place that had such a profound effect on me, but for now, I’m limited to visiting through photographs. And today is the perfect day to share them with you.  Take a moment to sip a pivo in honor of a great man. Na zdraví!

NPR: Havel, Czech Playwright And Former President, Dies

dvorak, another great czech.

the disappearing man, a symbol of lost identity under Communism.

prague castle.

old town square.

NYU's building in old town square.


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Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: Tumblr:


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5 Comments on “Vaclav Havel, The Sex Pistols, 8BC.”

  1. December 18, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    It’s very interesting and informative – I’ve been dreaming of going to Prague for quite a while

    • December 18, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

      It’s one of the most fascinating places I’ve ever been. So much fun and so beautiful! I would go back in a heartbeat if I could. I’ve always dreamed of living there full-time, actually.

  2. December 19, 2011 at 12:40 am #

    When you go, let me know. I’m coming.

    Reading about his passing (and seeing your pics) reminded me how much I miss his city.

    • December 19, 2011 at 8:37 am #

      I would be lying if I said I didn’t look at tickets A LOT. I also interviewed for a law firm with an office there…

      • December 19, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

        If it takes someone living there so I have an excuse to go that is fine with me.

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