I have been to many cities in my life, each one charming in its own remote way, though over the years i fostered a hatred for cities. I have never fallen in love with a place before, as i have for Prague. From its treacherous city streets in the winter to its bright starry nights. I often stare in awe of its people as they go about there lives in the shadows of castles and history so vast the mind strains at the seams.
Its cobblestone streets and buildings that mix the old and the new, threaten to grasp ones heart tightly and never let go. I have loved every moment spent in this timeless world. Each side street has a story, every corner has a secret that is begging to be told.
For a small country that some people go there entire lives without hearing about it carries the weight of the world with the grace and beauty of a goddess cradling a treasure at the heart of the world. I’ve spent two weeks in this land of modern age and fantasy, experiencing my first step out of the world I call home, (New Jersey USA).
We chased away 2016 exploring Old Town Square, and Prague’s famous Christmas Markets, watching the Hourly show as the Astronomical clock welcomes each new hour with a forboding bell ringing in the hand of a skeleton, as figurines move around the clock. Winding through the streets we found places like the John Lennon Wall, a simple tribute to a singer who preached peace, created in a time of conflict. Its amazing to see how resilient Prague and its people have been, weathering world wars and invasion, but never losing there spirit.
Charles bridge took my breathe away with its majesty and the pure fact that this amazing landmark i had looked at in photos and books for so long was now beneath my feet. Centuries of history stored in each carefully placed stone.
Each morning when we look out the windows there are spires, no not sky scrapers and buildings that seem to swallow the sky, but spires of cathedrals and castles, the view outside my best friend’s flat both beautiful and in some ways serene for a city. At midnight on New years eve, we hung ourselves out the windows watching as fire works broke the night sky, not official fire work shows, but from everywhere, gunpowder hung thick on the air and colours shot through the fog.
Everyone says how beautiful it is to go to Times square in New York City to watch the ball drop, but as we toasted to a new year and waved sparklers like wands my heart and soul wanted to be nowhere else but here. As we all ran down the stairs to go let wish lanterns dance into the sky, I found beauty in the laughter and off key singing of the people i heard in the distance. There was something so wonderful about it all, and the next day we dove into the crowds of people to watch the city’s fireworks display welcome in the new year and light the skies.
We spent a long weekend driving through Czechia, but that is a story for another day. Because it was when we returned to Prague, that I felt like I was coming home. Even walking on the uneven old streets and dragging our bags onto city trams was almost comforting, returning to a place out of time but also in time.
In the last few days of my adventure here we visited Vyšehrad, one of the oldest parts of Prague it houses the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, and breathless views with older streets and buildings then even the United states. As snow fell on the picturesque Basilica and its surrounding buildings, I was brought back in time for just a moment, to when this place was shining and new. But that is the magic of this City, one moment you stand in modern day, then the next if you close your eyes you can imagine you have jumped into a world so very old.
Today, my final day in this city of History we visited Prague Castle, a looming gorgeous piece of history that overlooks the city, a constant reminder of the past and the bright future to come. It seems almost fitting that my final day we would walk through the castle gates and gaze upon pieces of history so old, I felt the ground move beneath my feet from the sheer emotion and power of this place.
St. Vitus Cathedral stands at the heart of the Castle grounds, dwarfing even some of the highest spires with those of its own. Within it holds art and the final resting places of some of the greatest men and women to come from this country. Walking the cold halls I felt so small compared to a place that took so long to build and would surely stand far longer when we are all gone.
Gazing upon the first throne room in Prague Castle filled me with wonder in the simplest way, once upon a time a King sat on that throne and men and women, rich and poor would come to him to seek his approval or aid, and that is a truly powerful thing to behold. Stepping through the winding streets that makeup the castle grounds if you go down the right side street you will find the oldest most historical street in the entire city.
The Golden lane, with homes so small it makes you reflect even on something as complicated as evolution, how over time we as human beings have grown and our doorways and homes have grown with us. Each shop held something unique only to this amazing place, and a few doors down are homes protected and and preserved through the ages.
I will dream of this city for the rest of my life, revisit the memories made here in distracted glances out the windows of my rural american home. I don’t know how its possible, to love a place so much, to feel like you belong here, when you barely speak the language but the cadence of czech still settles in your heart peacefully. I may be flying home to America tomorrow, but my heart will stay in Prague, a city that was once foretold to be so famous, it would reach the stars, and so it has.