“twice I have lived forever in a smile.” ~ e. e. cummings
Snapshot 6. My Most Favourite Memory
The library inside the Strahov Monastery was straight out of Beauty and the Beast. The rooms looked like they were dreamt of – rows and rows of beautiful old vintage books, their maroon and rich blue covers etched with gold thread and ornate lettering. The bookshelves in coffee-coloured oak, wooden ladders gently resting against the sides of the walls, reaching into the blue sky painted ceiling, elaborate artwork and eggshell ornamentation all around the edges, gave the room a wistful, atmospheric look. A book-lovers dream. The entirety of the place had a mystical and gentle feel, a world seemingly closed-off and protected from the stressors, the technology and the gadgets of the modern world.
I wandered into the restaurant and brewery after visiting the library, a dear and peaceful courtyard with benches and umbrellas welcoming the visitor in. “Could I just have a taste of one?” I questioned the waiter at the bar, motioning to the beers on tap. “Certainly,” he replied, a crooked smile and bright blue eyes. “This one,” he pointed to an Indian Ale, “this one is my favourite. Really good, I promise.” “Alright, I’ll try that one then,” I counted out the coins in my hand, still unsure of the foreign currency. “A small?” “A small,” I nodded. And he was right. It was the best I’d ever had, sitting outside under one of the green umbrellas on the wooden bench, writing postcards and observing people come and go, lazily walking up towards the monastery or down in the direction of the castle. I went to return the glass to the waiter. “I liked it,” I smiled as he caught my hand, mocking pulling me back into the restaurant, “You can’t go yet.” “It’s true, I’m caught,” I returned, and we stood for a little bit, just in the moment, before I thanked him and turned to go, his smile still on my mind and the “Enjoy your day. Ciao!” that followed me down to the castle gardens.