Prague is a beautiful city, as of course it would be. It’s clean, historical, even overwhelming. The buildings are ornate and colourful, like rows and rows of expensive wedding cakes that people have moved into. Combined with the Gothic steeples and ornaments, Prague is the right place to be if you want to pretend you’re back in the good ol’ days of corpse carts, scientific and religious renaissance and night soil.
But at the same time there is a sense that it’s not quite real, as if, as a friend put it, the entire Old Town was built in the last ten years as a movie set or tourist attraction. It’s only when you move a few feet away from the real hustle and bustle that you realise you are standing on the wooden bones of history. The Astronomical Clock and Klementinum (with the Baroque Library and Mirror Chapel) for example give you a vibe of steam punk fantasy. It’s so ornate, so mystical. They have a power, even if they’ve both been hyper-consumed by travellers. It pays though to wander off on one’s own and find the little treasures that remain safe.
One treasure I found was a small nook in a botanic garden, down an ivy covered land, past a church, in a tiny courtyard behind a bunch of houses. There I sat in the sun, watching cats go by (my first Euro-cats, by the way!) and just breathing it in. This is where I stopped and just let myself exist in the city, forgetting about the consumption-lust of everyday tourism. Being in this little garden was the first time, I think, I really realised I was on adventure far far away from home… And loving it.
Of course though, you’ll hardly be challenged much in Prague. Everything seems to cater to the English speaking and the west, which is helpful for living and eating but removes you from the culture to some extent. I’d much rather be sitting in an old church, listening to Czech hymns, or wandering wholly Praguian spots (like the famous Cross Club or the beautiful and sunny outer city) than listening to Katey Perry in a cliché cafe. Wow… That was pretentious as hell. Bad me. A thousand whippings!
In all seriousness though, I do like a few creature comforts. Our hostel, Mosaic House, catered very well to our tastes and for a fairly reasonable price! It’s a bit noisy and lame downstairs, but what do you expect from a high-budget party lodge?
All in all, Prague is rad. As my first stop outside of Germany, I don’t think I could have picked a better place. Travelling with a group of close friends effected the experience in both pleasant (safe nights out in industrial clubs) and negative ways (there’s only one bathroom, gang, I’ll fight you for my right to poop). If I have the money and time by the end of this trip, though, I’d very much like to come back alone for the really James experience!
I’ll leave you with some snaps from around the joint (sorry for the phone aspect ratio. There were too many tall things in Prague to use landscape). Na shledanou!
The incredibly ornate Astronomical Clock
St. Nicholas’ church in Old Town.
I did a Dali/Warhol/Saudek exhibition. Even though there were nothing but prints, the history and beauty of these artworks can’t be denied
Also… Sex Machine museum. That is all.
And of course we visited the rather quiet and peaceful Kutna Hora and it’s incredible Ossuary… Or BONE CHURCH.
Finally, we headed to Cross Club (stupidly, on foot). This place is incredible! I feel at home in this insane Mad Max wonderland. Drink beer and listen to Drum n Bass here while pretending the bombs have already fallen outside.