Pretty in Prague

Posted by jswt | Posted in Czech Rep - Prague, General | Posted on 14-11-2010

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Prague is amazing.
Unlike a lot of other cities, it wasn’t decimated by war.
They’re also not too poor or lazy to maintain their history.
There’s by far more classic architecture here than anywhere else we’ve visited.

The city itself is very relaxed, and reminds me a lot of Vancouver… lots of cafes and beers and always with a faint smell of marijuana drifting through the air.

We flew in on Sunday, and went out for a nice dinner with a group who’d already arrived and pushed through our initial jetlag grog. Monday, we made sure to force ourselves up at a decent hour, and went for a free walking tour of the city (through the same company that we did it with in Berlin and Munich). As previously, it was well worth doing as we got a good overview of the city, with a lot more depth to the tale than if we’d just wandered past looking at things. Of interesting note:

The astrological clock. I can’t even begin to explain all the awesomeness that’s built into the one face. Wikipedia it, cuz it’s interesting. While you’re at it, check out this *insanely awesome* video projection project that someone did a while back on the clocktower.

– Prague has been passed around more times than a hair metal groupie. It’s been in a seeming perpetual state of occupation. I’m wondering if it’s because of this (not having any tie to a historic religious doctrine) that 80% of the residents of Prague identified themselves as Athiest in a recent census.

– There was a thriving jewish quarter here that was left intact by the nazis, and in fact had jewish artifacts from other places moved here during their reign. Why? Because Hitler wanted to create a memorial to a lost race after he exterminated them all and decided the jewish quarter in Prague would be that shrine. There’s also a synagogue that looks like a mosque, from back in a happier time between the two churches where they were respecting and thanking each other for help and assistance.

After a day of walking, jetlag caught up to us, and shortly after dinner we crashed out hard and both slept for 12 hours. Mmm…

Chris was working on Tuesday, but after I got some work caught up, I took the day to explore the city and went on a massive 8hr wander that took me all over the city and up a mountain and back to the hotel shortly after dark. Did some more work before Chris got home, and though going out sounded fun, we were both battling jetlag still and passed out into another night of 12h dreaming.

Weds I got up and decided to make use of the sun (before it disappeared at 4:30) and wandered a great zigzag and ended up at the metronome over top of the city. Booked it back to the hotel, grabbed my laptop and went to the venue for dinner where I used their superquick bandwidth to catch up on some bigger tasks that I just couldn’t do from the hotel. After Chris got off work we went out and wandered the city a bit but couldn’t quite put our finger on the pulse of what seemed to be a slow Weds night, so around 1 we ended up back at the hotel chilling and watching trashy TV.

Thursday, Chris had another day off, so we went up to the massive castle that overlooks the city and spent the short sunny day relaxedly wandering the city and snacking and drinking pleasant warm things in the golden sunset. A pitstop in an absinthe bar made wandering through the embassy distract a fun fuzzy funny adventure. We hit the main square of the old town and took a nice dinner of kebabs and dumplings made over an open fire along with some mulled wine as an evening picnic. Later we went out to some sleazy clubs and had a gay old time.

Friday, I was feeling pretty walked out so I just stayed in the hotel room and caught up on some work until it was time to head to the venue for some dinner. After dinner, a cluster of my fellow tagalongs gathered so we could put our heads together and sort out travel plans for the rest of the leg (partners aren’t able to travel with the crew for insurance reasons, so we fend for ourselves). Surprisingly, we found some kickass deals and managed to get travel sorted and booked for all of the next 9 weeks (8 transfers) without breaking the bank…

The tour was having a milestone celebration (1000 shows in arena format), so a reception/party thing was organized back at the hotel. It was fun because I got to pull out my new dj gear that i’m hauling along this leg and hung out in the corner sipping free champagne and keeping the pulse of the room going. Overall, was pretty happy with reading the room, got good feedback, and was super stoked that the gear was so easy and reliable to get going. Finished the party around 1 and got to bed around wish…

Woke up at 9 on Saturday to join G & M on their day off and head out of town by train to Kutna Hora. There’s a church there that has taken the corpses of 40,000 plague victims and created massive sculptures, piles and art pieces with the bones – it’s an awe inspiring confrontation with mortality on a mass scale, and the inevitability that we all turn to dust.

After checking out the cathedral, we hopped a ride from a long haired rocker guy who gave us a bit of a tour of the city (“That man there – he sleeps with horse in his house. He is a little crazy.”) before dropping us off a few km away at the city centre. Checked out the big church and wandered the winding streets before we found a perfect patio for a late afternoon feast and a few beers. Wandered the city for a while more before heading back to Prague around 7 and deciding that we needed to find an absinthe bar (they serve proper high thujone absinthe in the czech republic). Didn’t have much luck at first, but we did find a great little bar that served it improperly. Moving on, we went to a proper absinthe bar where they delivered it to our table served in different ways, including a dramatic fireball display. We left there feeling wonderfully fuzzy before grabbing some italian food and wine and then heading back to the hotel to get packed up.

Overall it wasn’t a crazy insane week in Prague, but that’s appropriate for what I take to be a classic, laid back and very livable city. I’d return in a heartbeat, and highly encourage anyone who gets the chance to czech it out (nyuk nyuk nyuk).

Now that I’m packed, it’s time to crash out as I’ve got to be up tomorrow @ 5am to catch a 14h (ugh) train to Zagreb, Croatia… as with a lot of places this leg, it’s not somewhere I ever expected to go, but I can’t wait to see what it’s like…

Week 1 down.
9 more to go.
Morale is high.
🙂