A trip, a map and a flood— all fiction

Charles Bridge, Prague
Vltava River and the Charles Bridge

My wounded wing has regained much of its movement, but it’s been carrying a dull ache the past few days. Could be from the cycling I did earlier in the week (leaning on it), could be barometric. Maybe it’s just the mending process.

*   *   *

Had a dream that the Curious Miss K and I were abroad; Prague my dream named it, but only a confection of sleep, as it bore no resemblance to that city. No river in sight, no Charles Bridge.

The dream presented a map. A simple, limping-along subway map that some artist had hand-rendered that I found folded in the back of a book at a store K and I were browsing.  I started to reproduce it upon waking, but it’s too simple to even bother, and doesn’t delineate the shape of the fictional city at all. Too abstract, and it contained only four train lines; blue, red, green, orange. Also I can’t recall the names of the districts to which each of the lines went, which would have been the most interesting part (dream linguistics).

In the dream (and perhaps this was why my subconscious marked it Prague), the city was flooded, as it had been in the past. Really flooded, and it limited our maneuvering on account of the severe effect it had on the train system, particularly the points at which the normal trains connected to the funiculars, of which there were 4 pairs. They were not, as normally, on the sides of steep hills, but built to transfer passengers at the outskirts of the Old Town (Staré Město) to elevated trains. The system had been conceived by a prince regent; built in an effort, I think, both to leave the Old Town intact, and to be immune to flooding, but obviously failed. (And really, wouldn’t an el just ruin the medieval skyline and the lighting?)

Though we tried our best to follow the lead of the locals in dealing with the flooding, in the end we didn’t get farther than the first hub of transfers, and decided to stay fairly local, afoot, in non-flooded areas. I tried to recall things of interest in the district we found ourselves, the store where I found the book and map being one we happened upon. We’d traveled with no guidebooks, no maps, had done exactly zero planning. Foolish.

I don’t really remember much else, lost to the fog of sleep. But I think something that must have influenced it all was that I’d been mapping the reach of the 2012 flood in Lower Manhattan for a client yesterday, and was sporadically in touch with Miss K as well. Where fictional Prague and its ill-conceived train system came from is a mystery.

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