Wednesday, 25 March 2009

More on Town Planning & Cesky Krumlov

As I mentioned in my previous blog, we have seen a sad decline in community shops and other usage in Cesky Krumlov. One such loss is that of the ironmongers which sat on Latran among the hotels and hostels. The doorway was always framed with spades, metal buckets and other 'mongery. When you went in you were faced with an assortment of tools and kitchenware. You could buy individual screws and hooks in all sizes and designs, metal brushes, scythes for the orchard, coal skuttles, clothes airers, a pronged tool to gather forest berries, things familiar and things whose purpose was a mystery to me. The shop had that very special smell that took me back to the ironmongers that I had visited with my father in my childhood, of polish and firelighters. The owner spoke not a word of English and very little German and so I communicated by pointing, miming and when all else failed drawing the object of my purchase. Then one day it was gone and the town is the lesser for it.

Another shop that has disappeared is the old hunting shop a few doors down from the ironmongers. The window was always full of the green huntsman jackets, hats, knives of various types, and shotglasses decorated with painted hunting scenes. I would go there to buy mushroom knives, such as the one shown here with a useful brush at one end for removing the dirt from one's finds. Now I cannot find anywhere that sells them in Cesky Krumlov, and, given the ease with which one can lose knives when mushrooming, I miss it. Now the shop sells trendy snow and skateboarding clothes.

1 comment:

Karen said...

It's interesting to hear your comments on this because I have wondered about Prague's retail environment as well. There are all kinds of delightful little Mom and Pop shops here (the kind my country had during my childhood) and I don't know if Praguers know how special it is that these small shops with personality exist.

In America, retail eventually consolidated into giant boring corporate monoliths.

I love quirky Mom and Pop shops!


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