Prague was the second destination of what I had very naively termed as my ‘European Conquest’ two years ago. I had just got back after leaving my heart at the Margaret Island in Budapest, gave myself two days to unpack and re-pack before heading off to Prague. Prague also marked the beginning of many backpacking trips with my wonderful group of friends. Travel either makes or breaks relationships. In our case, it made us realize subconsciously that we were bonding on a very long term basis! Our shared obsession for travel continues to make us plan a number of spontaneous and memorable trips together even two years after we set off to Prague.
Since I had already left my heart at Budapest and two days weren’t enough for me to get over the trauma of leaving Budapest, I ended up (I feel ashamed to confess) slightly less enthusiastic about Prague. However, as I sit tonight browsing through the photographs, I am reminded of the many instances when I was amazed by Prague.
Tourist concentration starts getting dense 15-20 minutes before the hourly mechanical show begins. The Prague Astronomical clock or Orloj, is the oldest astronomical clock in the world and it’s a big deal. As the hourly chime goes off, one needs to look out for a number of things: the walk of the Apostles, the Sphere or Clock Dial showing the movements of celestial bodies and the Calendar. It is a special feeling to watch the world’s oldest astronomical clock put up a show for you and many other eager tourists all straining their necks to get a better view. “Don’t die before you see the Orloj”, they say!
Skateboarders from all over the world hang their sneakers on the long rope by Prague’s Metronome in Letná Park. Prague happens to attract a huge international skateboarding crowd. Skateboarders from all across the world head to this site which formerly hosted the largest Stalin Statue from 1955 until 1962. The statue was destroyed and replaced by the Metronome. Although not a formal skate park, this is a popular meeting point for skateboarders. It also offers a grand view to the city of Prague!
The John Lennon wall undoubtedly left an impression, a very colourful at that! The wall which was a used as an outlet of frustration and revolt by the youth during the communist regime continues to get filled with lyrics from Beatles songs and John Lennon graffiti, transforming the wall on a daily basis. One simply doesn’t miss a photo opportunity against this wall!
Needless to say, the baroque architecture all over Prague is rich and overwhelming. The imposing city gate – the Powder Gate leads to the Charles bridge which is flanked by a series of impressive baroque style statues that look surreal as the sun begins to set.
Its charming and narrow cobbled roads, coffee shops and tradition of making puppets only add to the fairytale vibe that the city radiates. It is easy to be guided by the aroma of the Trdelnik into a bakery which sell these hot, soft and sweet cylindrical pastries. The cinnamon and nuts dusting only help to satiate the sweet tooth and frequent hunger pangs of a tourist that likes to walk a lot.
And finally, Prague also happens to be a great party destination for people traveling across Europe on a shoestring!