As the plane descended into Prague and I saw little pointy red rooftops dotted to the horizon, I knew I was going to fall in love this city. And I have. The head-over-heels-completely-utterly-enamoured kind of love.
As I wander the streets, the buildings breathe and whisper wisdom, the cobble stones below my feet hum and tell me stories. From afar, Prague looks like a town out of fairytale… every house is manicured, the windy streets are clean and lined with lush green trees. But close up, you see ruin everywhere. Peeling walls, faded paint, street art and weeds growing between the cracks… it’s just so gritty and real and perfectly imperfect.
I am staying in a gorgeous studio apartment – in a building that’s a converted monastery with petunia and geranium boxes everywhere. Right in the heart of Malá Strana (the most historical district) it’s just a three minute walk to Charles Bridge, nestled between the embassies and Prague Castle.
I’ve walked for hours each day until my feet felt numb/floaty, I have strolled across the Charles Bridge at least eight times, ridden the Funicular to the top of Petrin Hill and scaled the dizzy heights of the lookout tower. I rarely get funny about heights, but climbing this one was a challenge… my legs were literally trembling as I climbed back down. I have wandered through Prague Castle, seen the kitsch but amusing Astronomical clock, the Lennon wall (amazing), retreated to the gorgeous Wallenstein Garden to escape the annoying hoards of tourists (yes, I realise the condradiction in being a tourist myself) to laze in the afternoon sun while reading Alain De Botton’s The Art of Travel, and felt the magic ambience of wandering the Old Town at night, where candle light illuminates couples dining/drinking Czech beer and tourists shuffling from one shop to the next.
It seems I timed my trip here pretty perfectly, arriving right in the middle of the Fringe festival. Although much smaller than Adelaide, it also seems less popular which has allowed me to sit front row for both of the shows i’ve seen. The first night I saw a theatre show called Impossible N’est Pas Français which I thought was quite a fitting title. It was a little quirky and ambigous, but completely entertaining. And last night I saw an amazing, intimate performance by the Sydney-based indie musician Phebe Starr. And gosh, can she sing. Described as a vocal mix of Regina Spektor and Norah Jones, her melodic voice and harmonies with her keyboard were mesmerising. She has a very casual stage presence, performing barefoot and telling the meaning/story behind each song before singing… my kind of girl! Her accent felt so much like home.
In all, I think I have ticked every box for Prague, except for eating cucumbers.
Tomorrow I fly to Montpellier, ‘move in’ to my new home and experience my first afternoon of living in France.
Ahh, excited. xx
And some pictures of my apartment block / cozy apartment…