One of the things that we always enjoy when walking the 16th Street Mall in Denver, Colorado, is watching people play the fancifully decorated pianos on the street. This certainly isn’t isolated to Denver, but providing access to musical instruments in a public setting provides an opportunity for impromptu gatherings of people enjoying themselves. As soon as someone stops and starts to play, usually better than one might expect, people start to gather, perhaps someone starts to sing, and the next thing you know you are enjoying a show. We often see homeless people playing the pianos, which is not only a reminder of their humanity, but is likely a brief opportunity for them to escape from their plight. In this time in the world when music classes are being eliminated from schools, seeing how music can connect people of all ethnicities should serve as an example to be replicated not eradicated. Have you seen anything similar in the cities that you’ve visited? If so, we would love to hear about them and how they are received in those places.
We were fortunate to see many historical places during our time in Europe, but sometimes we came across something that was a little unexpected. We had a running joke with each other that we were guaranteed to see a bridge, castle, cathedral, and a palace in every major city that visited and that was certainly the case for our trip to Prague. One of the interesting sights that we found in Prague that wasn’t expected was the John Lennon Wall. We weren’t the only ones who made their way through the side streets to take time to enjoy this interesting expression of love and peace.
It started as an impromptu display of loss when John Lennon was murdered and an image of the iconic singer from the Beatles was painted on the wall. Over time it has become a place for people to write and draw words and images of inspiration. Due to that, the wall is never the same as new poems and images appear daily and people are encouraged to add their own reflections of hope and peace and at times outrage with the political establishments. You don’t have to be a product of the love generation to appreciate this ever evolving expression of average people with shared desires.
Not surprisingly, there was a street artist performing songs from Lennon and the Beatles. We didn’t actually put anything on the wall ourselves, but there were plenty of people adding their thoughts to the wall while we were there. It might not be the same as some of the historical sites that we visited, but this was certainly very interesting and well worth taking the time to visit.