The title really says it all. It sums up my impression of Prague, or Prag, Praga, or Praha. When I looked outside the window while arriving Prague on the plane, I saw fields after fields, and red roofs aggregates in patches. I knew I would like it here because there were lots of fields. What I didn’t know was that there were so much more underneath and besides those cute red roofs.
I fell in love with the streets of Prague immediately upon my arrival. It was somewhat similar to Frankfurt as they both had Baroque style buildings. Yet in Prague, every structure seemed to have that extra “sense” in it. Maybe it was because of the age (every building in Prague looks old, some are ANCIENT, but they all look old), or it could be the autumn of post-empire atmosphere.
All of that got much heavier in the old town, where everything, except the tourist-related business, was ANCIENT. For a shallow foreigner like me, each building is a cathedral, period. I’m serious, with the number of cathedral-like architectures, they can probably take all the crosses from Tainan and stick them each to every roof top of old town and make this place the most sacred city next to Jerusalem. (If you have taken a walk around Tainan you’d know what I mean… people must have mistaken the holycross for TV antennas.
It got much cleared once I saw this huge ad just beside Charles Bridge. It said Charles Bridge is considered the king of Gothic (and Pilsner beer as the king of beer, but that’s another story). It was definitely Gothic style all over the old town, and the castle, and in the air. And the effort behind each building, the design, every statue, the symbolism, the stories that lie within them, it’s up there with all those Dan Brown novels I’ve read.
What made me wonder was, for a nation like this must had its glamorous history. Heck, Prague claims itself to be Mozart’s favorite city. It had to be very powerful, or even as I’ve described earlier, like an Empire, the Empire of Bohemians. So, bottom line, what happened? The whole economy seemed heavily relied on its tourism. Although from my perspective it is VERY successful, the Czechs seemed to care little. For a nation with such historical achievements, and profound architectures, ain’t that something for them to be proud of?
The most satisfying journey for me in Prague came in the last day. The first thing I told myself to do once I knew I was coming to Prague was to jog alone the river. I knew Prague had to be one of the most gorgeous and romantic city in the world, I just have to embrace it my way. On the last day I got up early in the morning, had my graceful breakfast, and took the metro to old town and started jogging across the bridge, along the river bank. I didn’t know when or where to stop because everything was just too unreal to stop. The morning air, the local people with their dogs, the vacant streets, the medieval atmosphere, and my favorite original scenery, was all in place. So I keep running without knowing my turning point, until I saw it: the dancing building. Suddenly, everything came into place: my dream, my goal, my turning point. It was the final piece of the puzzle.
Prague that was, city of red roofs, streets of Prague.