Prague: I`d love to spend a week there. As it happened, I just had a few hours in this astonishingly beautiful city.
With a vague notion of the usual tourist haunts, I headed off for the Astronomical Clock in the city`s Old Square. On my way there, I encountered elegance at every turn. Architects must delight in Prague; there are just so many beautiful buildings to see there.
All of them reflect the long history of this city, from it`s Celtic pre-Christian times, through to the reign of the Hapsburgs from the 14th century and on to a period of Czech nationalistic revival from the 18th century.
The city was spared the worst of World War 11 bombings, leaving most of its beautiful buildings intact. Walking through it now, one can easily imagine what it was like to live in this city at any point in the last six hundred years. Rounding a corner, one wouldn`t be in the least surprised to encounter a Royal Carriage with some of the Hapsburgs within, or to see a troupe of German soldiers marching along the cobbled streets.
I`d have love to have had time to take one of the guided tours about the place. Pragueexperience.com has enough tours to last over a week. As it was, I had to be content with a few hours, camera in hand and turning this way and that to capture as many delights as I could.
I rambled on to Charles bridge and wished I had more time for the delights beyond the Vlatva River. But there was only time to swing back through a different series of sidestreets to the Old Town and to gaze in astonishment as more architectural gems revealed themselves there.
Prague is a place to stop and stare, to savour the delights and to promise to return again. It was a wonderful counterpoint to the grimness of its rural hinterland that I had encountered during my sojourn there last week. It was a glittering gem in the backseat of a Skoda car.
And so I left the Czech republic with more questions than answers, a promise to return for more of Prague and gratitude for my experience of the Czech Republic. Travel, they say, broadens the mind. I suspect that for that to happen we need to experience daily life just as the locals do and not to bathe ourselves in luxury and delight.
Dobrý den, děkuji, děkuji!