How did I wind up in Prague on my birthday?
Well, since I couldn’t find a host in Berlin for the weekend, I figured that instead of lingering in the city, we might as well head over the border to Prague, which so many people rave about. As it turns out, our Berlin weekday host would have been happy to have us longer – but we didn’t know that until we got there and met him. Nonetheless, it was nice to sleep in a real bed for a few days, and to see a very different part of Europe.
Along the main drag, Wencelaus Square pulsed with street musicians playing folk tunes, bright, clean food stalls serving up wholesome (if overpriced) fare, and cops on every block. But a couple blocks away, Prague’s parks showed off the city’s shadier side. Junkies slouched on benches, shooting up in the open just metres away from families with kids.
The architecture, of course, is astonishing. The Old and New Town have survived the centuries and remain surprisingly well-preserved.
The famous ‘dancing’ buildings – fortuitously, a tram happened to toddle along at just the right moment
The even more famous clock tower. So intricate, so ornate.
We didn’t pay to enter the castle, but wandering around the grounds kept us occupied for awhile.
Slightly out of the way: the Lennon wall.
My favourite place of all? The Charles Bridge. There’s plenty of reasons to dawdle as you make your way across, from the countless talented caricature artists to the master puppeteer – whose puppet actually plays an instrument – to the live bands, especially when a rowdy group of European guys in tight breeches are hooting it up and dancing like madmen. (Stag do, I bet. There were SO many of those going on that weekend.)
A little part of me still wishes we’d taken up the offer of free accommodation in Prague. For some bizarre reason, the rate for the first night was 5 euros each (!!!) but 25 euros for the second. I didn’t really want to move to a different place for the second night, though, and figured it evened out to a decent rate overall. When we got there, though? They were running short on double rooms and offered us free bunks in a dorm instead. After a lot of back and forth, T convinced me to go with the private room, and while I would have chosen differently if I was alone, it was nice to have a little luxury on my birthday.