Goodbye, Praha

The final morning in the city of Prague… Do I need to mention I was getting the blues? We were still smiling about someone we assumed could be American singing his heart away. Secretly I was wondering what a nightlife in Prague is like… At breakfast we saw a few Italians (I salute you guys, always and ever!). That brought back memories of my trip to Rome. That trip was soon going to become a memory as well. I was fascinated by the sound of the Italian language. It doesn’t take much to get me fascinated, does it? I could sit there listening to them for way longer. We had to check out and so did the group of Italians. They seemed to be having a problem with their credit card and my sister observed that nowhere is a perfect place to live and things that get us annoyed on a daily basis back home are common here as well… It took the receptionist quite a while to sort this problem out. He got all apologetic and did it in Russian, which I guess wasn’t an easy thing to do for him. My sister happened to use a colloquial word for “train station” as she was asking him for directions there. It was funny because he didn’t seem to understand what she was going on about. I love these little precious moments of linguistic misunderstandings, I treasure them in my memory! Is the sky getting clear? Why did it have to wait till today? Right, I know there will be no answer to this. Another walk through the Charles Bridge under the clear blue skies… Someone up above had certainly conspired to reinforce my pain of partying with Prague. Or was it just showing me its new colour to welcome me back somewhere down the line…?

One thing I knew for sure was that I would never forget that walk and neither would I all the others…

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We popped into a bookstore right at the Charles Bridge and it was a beautiful retreat despite us having very little money left.

 

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Now it was time to feed the swans (no, not with sausages). They are really greedy creatures and one of them was so impatient that it bit my finger. I kept thinking about them eating sausages and kept giggling. The views of the bridge and the Vltava got me into a pensive mood… It was a bit too chilly to sit on that bench a little longer but it was enough to make the feelings I was having last… I was ready for life to go back to a full swing, I was ready for spring!

 

Now we were off to Prague’s narrowest street which was just near the Čertovka (Devil’s Channel), Prague’s little version of Venice. Unfortunately it was closed for a reason unknown to us. Well, it wasn’t meant to be then.

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Let’s just walk then along more “regular” streets of Prague. We ventured to the other side of the bridge and I wished we had a few days before. The architectural details of the buildings were splendid! I guess we failed to find Nerudova Street famous for its house symbols as my sister was getting impatient. We walked back along the other side of the bridge when we saw one of the street artists there doing a sketch of someone. How was he doing that?

 

As someone with a zero talent for drawing, I was astonished at his ability. If only I was a good drawer and could draw my view of Prague at the moment. As someone started playing a melancholic melody and birds were flying over the bridge against the sky turning overcast, I felt a tear coming to my eyes. It was such a movie-like moment. No, I would never give up these stupid romantic thoughts. They were beautiful to have here but back at home I wouldn’t certainly need them if I didn’t want to end up feeling anxious and stressed every day… On the plane here I was reading about the famous Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva and her complicated relationship with Prague and there was this statue of a medieval knight that she mentioned in one of her poems. I looked down the bridge and here it was. Was I even telling myself off for another romantic moment…? Ok, let’s just leave.

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Another final thing to do was to watch the apostoles at the Astronomical Clock again. We didn’t really want to be approached by a Russian tour guide giving us instructions in a manner Russian mothers-in-law love doing that and she looked like an average one too. I felt so lucky having no one like that in my life! Mind your own business, woman!

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Time for a farewell meal now. We walked past the Powder Gate and found this lovely place I remember someone from the city recommending. It was a large modern building, not “run down” at all. The meal was gorgeous and I was served with the largest portion of pork ribs I’d ever seen! Life is too short not to try them here in Prague! They like their meals really large here! Some final beers… How many had I had over the course of the last few days? I guess that was more than I would have normally had in a year. Life is too short…

It was a late afternoon. We walked around  the Wenceslas Square and had a laugh about how my sister was having her beer right at this spot on our first visit here. It is a really iconic place of a more modern Prague. Let’s just pause and take this moment in…

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Off we go back to our hotel to get our suitcases. We got a bit confused on our way to the tram stop to take us to the train station and I had to ask a random stranger for directions and she instantly recognized we came from the same country… We did find the tram stop and when on a tram, we realized we would not be able to understand the instructions as they were only in Czech… When we realized that we’d been travelling for a while and the train station wasn’t still there, I asked a guy sitting next to me where it was (I even learned the Czech word for “train station” which still makes me laugh). He answered in good English that it was two bus stops ago. Ok, we got off. My sister was getting infuriated. Right, we got onto another tram thanks to a lady trying to help us using body language. We wouldn’t miss it now. I made sure it was the right stop and addressed a guy (a quite handsome one. Ok, forget about this word, you are going home!) to ask if it was the right stop. He understands English as well? Ok, let’s forget about that and go home… We got off and got a bit confused as to where to go when a lady offered to help. She turned out to come from Voronezh too! She had been here in Prague for a few years now. Familiar grumpiness… We could have done without her but I couldn’t help thinking about some kind of magic bringing us together that evening…

So here we were at the Václav Havel Airport with a few more hours to wait for our flight… Saunas, spas… How many more wonderful things there were to explore in the Czech Republic…? As we did get on our plane, it started snowing! So that was a bit of winter in Prague for me…

Looking back, I would have chosen to go and experience Prague in spring but I think that trip was just as magical as I was hoping and dreaming. The magic of the City of the Thousand Spires never lets go… Neither does our desire to live and escape winter and daily routine just to find ourselves wrapped up in another mystery around or within us. Let’s raise our beer glasses to the Gothic, magical and quirky Prague and let’s see if there is a magic trick to bring us here again (any time of the year will actually do…).

 

Author: Olga

An English teacher and translator, a keen traveller

2 thoughts on “Goodbye, Praha”

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