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By Shaela Vilar-Oliveira May 1, 2018

Staré Mesto

Illustrated by Jessica Toca 

Despite The Old Town’s ageing years, there is seldom a dull moment. With ancient bones, she carries incessant energy. Her churches and prestige hotels tower the narrow streets like giants; colossal, she appears intimidating, but welcomes with wide arms. Down below, the hums of curious strangers drown out the buzz of car engines; barriers between the locals and outsiders are blurred as they harmoniously scatter and pose for pictures. On the chipped corner of Staroměstské, a chatty woman sketches caricatures. Occasionally glancing up, she swells the ears of two Italian sisters to the size of Dumbo's and paints their cheeks a flushed and prominent pink. Beside her, a white bearded man blows effortlessly into his used saxophone, producing intricate and delicate notes. Holding the gaze of several passersby, he tips his hat in recognition. A few feet down, foreigners from all four corners of the Earth sip on Czech’s renowned dark beer—impatient, for the orloj to announce the hour. With their expensive canons hanging loosely from their necks, they applaud like children as the apostle figurines leap out to strike the hour. When the sun begins to set, everyone lines up to receive the Old Town’s mouthwatering trdelnik. A fine delicacy, she accompanies her warm pastries with ice cream. Her dough, coated in cinnamon, breaks down into smaller bonds as they collide against their taste buds. While avid children glance through closed gift shop windows, adolescents furtively enter and exit pubs. Her city lights now mimic a blanket of stars; a new sheet of luminescence surfaces at night. The music only finally begins to soften as the sun makes a departure to ascend. Giggling from exhaustion, it is now six thirty and a nicely dressed couple strolls into a diner to order a stack of almond pancakes poured with syrup. Are their days beginning or have they just ended? The cobbled-stone streets know far too many secrets. How they must have trouble resting.

About the author

Shaela Vilar-Oliveira is a 2nd year student in Arts and Culture. In her time at Dawson she has played around with and has been exposed to art in its diverse forms, and she particularly enjoys telling her story through writing. Whether through poetry, song lyrics, or journaling, there is no greater feeling to her than finding the right string of words to encapsulate her travels, her transformative experiences, and her emotions. 

About the illustrator

Jessica Toca is currently a first-year Illustration student at Dawson college. Her goal is to learn new techniques and to improve exponentially in order to create beautiful artwork. She works hard in hopes of becoming a concept artist. You can view Jessica's work through the following link: https://www.instagram.com/jessicatoca/.


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