0 In Czech Republic/ Europe

Prague

Prague! What an unexpected surprise of beauty and vibrancy! I’d intended to go to Prague with my architect friend Merica. Prague had never been high on my list but I figured it was a great place for an architect to go and far enough away that I wouldn’t really be able to get there on a regular weekend and thus should go during the longer chunk of time I had before my season began. When my visa wasn’t coming through I told Merica not to buy a plane ticket. But I’d already planned enough of Prague that once I did get my visa- I went anyway, by myself. I cannot wait to go back. I loved everything about it. It was like Hogwarts and Disney World and the Renaissance Festival all rolled into one but it’s real.

Turning the cobble-stoned street corner to my hostel I think I actually lost my breath coming upon the Old Tower at Charles Bridge. I arrived at sunset and I couldn’t have planned a more epically gorgeous time to have my first taste of Prague. It was late enough that many of the tourists that throng the streets in the day had dispersed but still palpably alive with talented street musicians, lovers kissing on the bridge, vendors selling trdelnik- the famous Czech ice cream in a hand-rolled and hand-fired deep-fried dough cone, and you know, guys just chilling with their owls.

The original crucifix was made in 1361!!!! Most of the existing statues on the bridge are from around 1706.

The Old Tower

Look how cute my hostel is!

The first thing I noticed was that public transportation was so easy! I was disappointed that my shiny new European phone plan didn’t get service in Prague (this is still Eastern Europe after all) but I didn’t end up needing it much to find my way around! And besides….most of what I was doing was simply wandering and allowing myself to follow what looked interesting. And that totally works in Prague because everything is interesting!

The Astronomical Clock Tower

My selfie game needs some work.

There were so many green spaces and lovely parks in Prague.

Prague had so many beautiful, unique buildings and such a distinctive character. The second part of my trip I Couch Surfed for the first time- essentially a website where people open their homes to travelers for free. My host was a Venezuelan ex-dancer, ex-engineer, current yoga teacher and she was awesome! I took her yoga class and then she cooked me an amazing dinner of soup and beet salad! It was great having a guide to the city too- she chose Prague as her home simply because she loved it there. On her recommendation not only did I eat traditional Czech food (potato dumplings and pickled camembert cheese if you’re a vegetarian) but I also had Indian and Mexican food -quite the culinarily diverse cosmopolitan city!

I could have tried all 30 beers on tap if I’d wanted to for about $9.

Czech food- it’s white.

Waiters carry around trays of beers and plop them down in front of you without asking, tallying how many you’ve had on cards like these. This beer hall opened in 1499!

Prague street food is fun!

aaaand more beer. See a theme? This was at an outdoor beer garden high above the city with beautiful views.

Prague modern art is everywhere and it’s rather cheeky, at least those works by notorious and celebrated Czech sculptor David Cerny. His works are imbued with his particular brand of humor. There is apparently quite a difference between the younger generation who are happy to speak English and those who lived under Communist rule until 1989. I also learned that due in large part to that period in their history, the Czech Republic is also the most atheistic country in the world.

Gehry’s The Dancing Building. Inspired by Fred and Ginger.

This is actually a moving fountain and people can text in messages that the two sculptures (there’s another one) will then spell out with their….technology. 😉

I got to take ballet with the Czech National Ballet- it was so fun! A huge company of over 80 dancers but they were so welcoming to me and there seemed to be a lot of joy in the studio and love between one another.

The old opera house where big classical ballets are performed next to the more modern theater for smaller productions.

Then there was being a tourist! Walking around an enjoying the sights, going to the largest castle complex in the world, going to way too many coffee shops.

Das a big castle

St. Vitus Cathedral

It was hot and I had no sunblock. No shame in wrapping a shirt around my face all day.

Talk about a fairytale wedding.

This was actually the view from a Starbucks.

Most charming coffee shop in all the land.

Up up up a hill is the Strahov Monastery where they’ve been brewing beer since the 13th century.

I love you Prague- be back soon!

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