Prague is the city that surprised me the most. We planned to travel the urban Germany, country side and mountains in Austria and the historical ancient cities in Czech Republic. We landed in the wee hours in Prague when the whole city was sleeping. First impressions: city with old buildings and monuments. Four in the morning equals very empty streets. This was also one of the last days in Europe. We sat by the Prague Castle and waited for the sun to rise. We met a fellow traveller Jin from London, whom we met in the train station, who joined us. It was one of those days where we were tired and the sun refused to do its job. So the waiting began.
Things you notice when you are bored and sitting in front of a closed castle after an overnight train: Above: The fathers and nuns. They seem to be the first people to wake up. This nice priest even posed for a picture with a big smile for me. Below: The architecture. Particularly the doors. They were so many of them and all ornate and beautiful.
Next round of boredom. You start noticing the figurines that stand on the castle. And Harsha starts to make up stories on what each gruesome figure might mean culturally. “I bet they bought their enemies here through the entrance and beat them with that bat. And then stabbed them like that ….. I need coffee. ” “I bet that is why those guards don’t move. They will meet with the same fate if they do.” ….. ” I need coffee.”
But Charles Bridge at sunrise was a whole other experience. It was one rare time of the day when its not swarmed with tourists. We later realized, as to how stressful crossing this bridge can be since it had a few hundred tourists at all times, most of whom seemed like taking selfies at random instances on the bridge. But 6 am was one time of day when you have it all to yourself. And you are at peace to observe the beautiful nuances of architecture on the bridge.
Afternoons in Prague were rather hot and boring. We did a few touristy things like visit town square, churches and a few other monuments. I was a little disappointed with it all. But then, street music made up for it all. It was every where. Wherever we went, we could always hear classical music or instrumental covers of the 80s rock.
Lennon Wall: Another monument that i loved. Apparently, Lennon did some graffiti here during his time. And this wall served as a vent for students to voice their anger during the communist regime. It has been painted upon a lot and his original work is long gone. But the spirit lives. “I am a dreamer too.”
The best of Prague is the nights out there. Its a Frat boy haven by the night. The city visibly relaxes. Charles bridge gets twice as musical. Its shocking to see the number of tourists on this tiny bridge. A few hundred maybe? The city is on steroids. The tourists are all walking around, taking photographs of the buildings, collecting souvenirs, sampling Czech delicacies and downing Pilsner. I would have never thought of Prague transforming into a Vegas. We began to realize the presence of night clubs in ancient buildings that look like churches. A five story night club, right by the bridge. Who would have thought. And the streets are full of dressed up people trying to find a place to go dancing. Reminds me of the strip on Las Vegas. This has to be one of my fav summer nights. We sat on the bridge and listened to the music all night.