Practically perfect… and it doesn’t even need a ‘spoon full of sugar to make the medicine go down!’ “Medicine” in the form of sweeping views and fairytale castles… sign me up! I spent 4 days in Prague last week. I know, I am delinquent in sharing. Blame it on the day job! Besides, there is SO much to share! I was almost frozen in deciding where to start! Prague was …. IS spectacular. A city of color and sand-drip-castle architecture.
By day two, I was feeling quite a bit of the Stendhal Syndrome bite! Had to take a nap just to process it all!
The cobblestones, the buildings, the art, the puff pastry colors of it, the pace, the cafe macchiatos, the sprawling views dotted with green copper cherry domes, the home-made dumplings in cozy cafes, the cinnamon twists bought on the street that look like snaky bracelets made on long wood spines and taste like smoke.
I can understand why this formerly wealthy and royalty-bedecked city was known as the “Paris of the North.”
People are friendly and easy to chat with in pubs and cafes. And after Amsterdam and London, things are CHEAP! (Although my math skills truly suck!)
Cinnamon twisty yumminess called Trdelnik
There’s no sign of world economic crisis visible in Prague. Between Prada bags, tourists milling everywhere, full cafes ands restaurants, shops open till 10pm…. where is the crisis?
Maybe it’s because Prague has a history for weathering crisis. For surviving dark war and Communist times and emerging bright, colorful, vibrant.
Evening in Old Town Square
I roamed cobbled streets and visited curly-golden-Baroque churches and haunted monasteries filled with ancient art (amazing, by the way… how many naked boobs there are evident in monastic art collections!). I sat in mirror-decked chapels and listened to violins, exploring palaces with massive rooms and ceilings painted with exquisite grisaille dating all the way back to 1568 and ‘uncovered’ only a few years ago.
But I also visited the Museum of Communism. What I expected to be a 30-min visit turned into 2 hours. The museum is a bit worn and kitsch, but is a fascinating telling of how Communism came, affected, and went. It gave a good sense of the history. Images, videos, artifacts… of what Prague life was like under Communism. Photos of the streets of Prague filled with rubble and trash and decrepit structures – in one case, a street I had walked on to GET to the museum, the same street that is now fancy shops and antique stores. It made me see the Prague of old – The neglected streets… the poor… the hungry… the grey and the brown and the black colors… the brutal beatings of students on Wenceslaus Square… the same square today filled with Starbucks and McDonalds and Foot Locker.
It doesn’t cut the beauty that is there now, just makes me see it differently. And makes me wonder about those youths who were brutally stopped from protesting in 1988 and 1989 – probably people only a few years older than myself – what do they think of THIS Prague? Makes me also thankful that the beautiful Art Deco cafes and buildings and Baroque churches survived Hitler and Stalin and Husak and “Velvet Revolutions.”
Like I said… PRACTICALLY perfect Prague.
Would I go back? In an instant! So much more to explore and see! And marvel at! I especially marvel at what SURVIVED war and communism… what survived humanity and stayed on as beautiful examples of… Perfect.