Tuesday June 3rd ~ Prague, Czech Republic
I’ve known Mike since high school and a few years ago we reconnected through the magic of Facebook. He graciously volunteered his skills to help out a charity that is near and dear to Tim and my hearts, “Miracles in Action”. He was also one of my strongest cheerleaders when I went through some health issues. We have been in contact regularly ever since.
When I posted about falling in love with Prague and it becoming my new favorite big city, he wisely commented that it takes more than physical beauty to make a city worthy of “favorite” status in his mind. That got me thinking ~ why have I gotten so attached to this amazing city in such a short time? We may still be in the honeymoon stage of our relationship, but here is what I came up with:
1. Architectural Beauty – I know already mentioned, but impossible to ignore.
2. Street Entertainment – Rather shallow reason perhaps, but it has given me my daily smile.
3. The food has been fabulous – now this one is IMPORTANT, I don’t care who you are…
4. Shopping opportunities galore – not high on my list after selling our home and living out of carry-on luggage, but it might be important to others. We did however pick up two inexpensive paintings that will remind us of our time here.
5. Educational opportunities in the many museums.
6. Public transportation is easy, convenient and reasonably priced.
7. The people have been nice, helpful, friendly and the children adorable. Well, maybe they walk a bit too fast for me and don’t always respect personal boundaries by being unaware and running into me when I stop in front of them with no warning to take ANOTHER picture (chuckling to myself), but that is quite minor really.
8. The city is clean. Well placed trash bins along the street make it handy for people to use them, and they do. I saw very little littering other than those pesky cigarette butts. The good news is that with the escalating cost of buying tobacco products, those in need of a nicotine fix seem to self police by picking up used remnants to gather the smidgeon of tobacco in the discarded butt and then use the leftovers to do “roll your own”.
9. Artistry – from painted murals, to statues, to monuments, to intricate mosaics, the city is filled with examples of talented artisans, some long since dead and some trying to sketch out a living selling their work in the squares or on Charles Bridge.
10. History up the wazoo – (yes, that is a technical term not to be confused with me being a smart@$$). We in the USA get excited if a building is over 100 years old. Here that would be considered modern (well I am speaking only a little tongue in cheek). Memorials abound from huge horses for war heroes to a cross on the walkway for young men that set themselves on fire for a cause they were passionate about.
11. Easy sightseeing for a newcomer. From FREE walking tours daily to the Hop On Hop Off buses, it is easy to get a quick introduction to what makes Prague, well Prague.
12. I’m happy and at peace here. Probably a big part of that equation is that we have simply taken some time just for us. We slowed down, relaxed, rested, slept-in and when we did venture out it was to only see and do a few things instead of trying to cram each minute full of a new experience.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for people who make me think. I respect being challenged and held accountable both for my actions as well as my words. I especially appreciate it when the questions, or someone pointing out an error or a critique comes in a friendly, kind way.
For the most part, the information I post on my blog is based on what we see, do or our personal experiences. That gets combined with tidbits of information that is mentioned by a tour guide, a sign I read or people we meet along the way. And of course I am a huge fan of the Internet to look things up.
How I see or experience something may differ from how someone standing right beside me would interpret the exact same thing. We all look at things through our own filters, experiences, mood, or expectations.
Yes, there will be some errors, misspelled names, grammatical goofs, omissions and flat-out mistakes. Not intentional, of course. I am often typing late into the evening or up early in the morning to try to get a post completed. But the truth is that I LOVE sharing our adventures, big and small with anyone that is kind enough to take the time to read this. This has become my travel diary, reminder of where we have been and the amazing opportunities we have had. My picture-taking has become my hobby, for better or worse, I am experiencing the world through the lens of a camera.
Thanks for the kind words about me in your blog today, Joanne. And I hope your readers get it that I wasn’t at all critiquing your choosing Prague as your favorite city — wow, I can see there’s so much to love — but rather I was musing on that broader collection of things that make a place special. And then too, there are different reasons involving your city of permanent residence and one you temporarily alight in. That’s why I mutually treasure my permanent city, Portland, and my college haunt of Pavia, Italy. Finally, let me affirm once again that your blogs are a superb — and superbly entertaining and enlightening — blend of photos, narrative, history, culture, and capturing the real essence of places and their peoples. I can’t wait to read them. And I hope you know too that you are bringing joy and happy reminisces to legions of armchair travelers. Thank you for all of it.
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Staying at a decent place is important in Prague. Now “decent” means different things to different people at different times of their lives. But that sets things up for how people will experience where they are, especially if they’re visiting for the first time. With that in mind, Prague is an open-air museum, and while some areas are busier and noisier, there are “side streets” where they’re safe and quiet. I highly recommend you return to the Czech capital!