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Prague memories October 19, 2008

Posted by ayasawada in Personal, Travel.
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The Tyn Church, Stade Mesto, Prague

The Tyn Church, Stade Mesto, Prague

I had an enjoyable four day stint in Prague during the week. It’s as far east as I’ve gone in Europe, very reasonable to fly to and stay in and generally a lovely place to visit. I’d highly recommend it. Full set of photos on Flickr.

For once, I wanted just a totally random, unplanned, relaxing holiday, with no pressure to see sights etc. I picked Prague on a whim and did practically no prep bar purchasing a Rough Guide and booking a random hostel. Much of my time was spent wandering around the various quarters, and thankfully, Prague is a wonderful city to lose yourself in.

My favourite memories:

  • The Palace Gardens. Extremely quiet. I love vistas and this has gorgeous views overlooking the old town. Totally peaceful and a great place to ponder, read and forget.
  • Church of sv Mikulas (St. Nicholas). Yes, Father Christmas. I wasn’t really planning to go to any churches but this is a magnificent place. Gave me a similar feeling of awe to that I got from the Santa Maria Duomo in Florence, or St Peters Basilica in Vatican City.
  • Coffee Heaven. Well, it’s pretty much the Czech Starbucks, but near Mustak station at the end of Wenceslas Square is a three floor branch of this where I had coffee and a muffin for breakfast each morning. It was really quiet upstair, playing the usual blend of coffee house easy listening music. But it really calmed me down, especially after the nights when I’d had particularly bad dreams. Again, a great place to just sit, read and lose yourself.
  • AgaRTA. Prague’s most famous jazz club. Really fantastic underground venue. Cosy place, good table service, fantastic live acts — I caught a latin beat singer (think Bebel Gilberto).
  • Classical recital. Truth be told, my main reason for choosing Prague was ’cause it was at the start of Nodame Cantabile. And being a city so synonyous with the famous composers I really wanted to catch a live recital. There’s always plenty going on and I caught a string ensemble at the Rudolfinum. Admittedly, it was a little pricy for a one hour show — and given my love of Nodame I would really have preferred to see a full orchestra performance — but the performance was really really good. An they played the suite from Carmen, which got my heart all of a flutter.
  • Walking around Stade Mesto. There’s nothing better than spending the day (and night) wandering around random streets with little direction — particularly when the streets are as pretty as Prague’s old town. It’s what I loved about Venice and I love Prague for the same.
  • International football. It was internationals week so on the Wednesday most of the European nations were playing World Cup qualifiers. Me and my room-mate from the hostel went to a sports bar to see the Czech Republic play, but it turned out few were watching it. We ended up watching the Russia game with some very vocal Russian fans, and then the England vs Belarus game — complete with a half-half split of supporters. In fact, there were about 20 TVs dotted around the establishment showing pretty much every match you could want. I found it somewhat ironic that I’d traveled to the other side of Europe and ended up watching England on Setanta. But the beer and pub food was good, and the atmosphere was great — just like during the big international tournaments when supporters of all countries are out watching together and having a good time. Ah, football, the universal language.
  • Cafe Pavillion. Just before I left for the airport I found a really lovely cafe not far from the hostel. It was in the middle of this realatively small shopping area — a converted covered market — and I bought some overpriced (but gorgeous) tea and a really delicious crepe. There was some really lovely music playing faintly overhead and looking about I had to agree, there’s nothing in the world a good cup of tea can’t fix.
  • One holiday, one book. Yes, can you believe it, I actually started and finished a book — in four days! Admittedly it was a Murakami and less than 200 pages long. But it was the perfect choice and a really lovely empathic surprise given my reasons for fleeing out to Eastern Europe. I constantly forget the power that a good novel can hold over you, and the relaxation and satisfaction one can offer. The book was South of the Border, West of the Sun and I’ll write my thoughts on it in a separate post.
  • That travel feeling. You know that feeling when you can just turn up in a place and everyone’s friendly and excited? And you can meet different people in different situations and just connect? That’s the realm of possibilities and that’s what keeps me going in life. When I lose sight of that, I go to pieces. But travelling always brings me back together.

If youre looking for a cheap and extremely comfortable place to stay in Prague, I highly recommend Miss Sophie’s. It’s ridiculously cheap, very modern and totally comfortable with every creature comfort you can imagine.

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Comments»

1. Elen Prague - October 20, 2008

I appreciate your intellectual attitude! If only there were more tourists like you and less tourists like British beer groups in Prague…


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