After a few hours of exploring and wandering the city streets, I am in love. Walking around the city is like being a part of a fairy tale. I left a part of my heart in Prague (or Praha as the Czech would say).
My great-great-grandfather came to the States from Czechoslovakia, from what is now the Czech Republic, so I feel a bit of a connection to the city and a desire to take in as much as I can.
The gothic and baroque buildings are reminiscent of the stories I grew up with as a young girl. The image of a magnificent castle tucked away within a city brings memories of The Beauty and the Beast, Shrek, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Harry Potter and many more stories that I grew up admiring. The architecture is absolutely stunning and for my first trip to Europe I am in love and feel that Prague has treated me well.
From the view of the Prague castle, red tiled roofs of the houses and buildings across the city, the Vltava River and its many arching bridges and lush green landscape lay out as far as the horizon. The city streets and sidewalks are all laid with cobble stones, some small and neatly laid and others that are large and sloped under my feet with gaps in between the stones. The buildings are made from sandstone in medieval, gothic, Romanesque and baroque styles and the streets are lined with connecting buildings of a variety of pastel colors, textures, designs, and statues.
I like to wander and get lost in the narrow streets, admiring the view of the city and the Old Town Square that is made up of the colorful houses, palaces and churches. The city dates back to the 11th century and is one of few places in the area that was not destroyed in WWII. Many original buildings are still intact.
The city streets are full of life. They are so unique and picturesque. It being May, the weather is nice but chilly and rainy most days. Cafés scattered throughout the main square provide blankets for the guests to cover up with while they eat and drink.
There are a lot of young people in the city that boasts a fun and exciting nightlife as well. The other night a few of us went to an Ice Pub. I remember seeing an Ice Bar back when I was a young child, flipping through National Geographic magazines—I knew back then that one day I wanted to be lucky enough to experience something so unique. I made that experience my reality sooner than I would have thought.
We arrived at the ice bar bundled up in our jackets and scarfs to find that the pub provided an enormous and heavy poncho with gloves for each person. We walked into a small boxy room lit with blue lights and a bar below. The room’s temperature was set close to negative five degrees Celsius. Literally the entire place was made of ice. Ice tables, ice walls, ice bar, ice chairs, ice cups. Everything was made from ice. Even the bartender has to wear a ski jacket with gloves.
On the wall is a timer, counting down twenty minutes to prevent people’s bodies from reaching too low of a temperature and going into shock. After enjoying a free drink with our admission, we met some Swiss travelers. Though they spoke some English, there was still a bit of a language barrier. One thing that I have noticed in the city so far is that most people do speak English fairly well, but it still can be difficult at times to understand each other.
On the way back to our hostel we took a wrong route and what could have been a fifteen to twenty minute walk took us over an hour of wandering the quiet streets. Eventually we found the main river, the Vltava, and followed it back to our hostel. Along the way you could say we were fortunate enough to find other lost members of our group and regroup to figure out how to get back. Though it was a bit overwhelming to wander in unknown directions without a map or cell phone service, in the end it was fun being able to see the city in a different light and not being so sure of ourselves.
The following day we set out to the river for some childish fun. Down by the edge of the river we stepped into a giant transparent ball that allows you to float on top of the water. Each person got their own ball and ran like hamsters inside trying to move across the water. After a few minutes of try and fail over and over, we began to feel a bit pathetic. The wind was picking up and had pushed each of us to the edge of the area dedicated to the floating balls that we could not escape. Time and time again we would stand up, wobble, and maybe get a step or two or three in before falling backwards sending our ball spinning in the water. The water beneath the plastic felt cool on my skin and served as a relaxing spot after all our fun.
Apart from being on an incredible adventure across the world, being in Prague has made me feel like a kid again exploring the streets of Disneyland or walking down memory lane in one of my childhood movies. Prague is a city that I would love to spend more time in and hope return to sooner rather than later.