San Diego, CA
Prague - Mysteriously Beautiful
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© Christine Till - CT-Graphics
Prague is like a good flirt - she only reveals as much leg as you need to see to keep you interested, but the anticipation and the eventual sublimation is always worth the wait.
She's a labyrinth of streets, alleys, passages, staircases, yellow streetlights, background sounds, cigarette smoke and drunken voices.
This is no New York City with its 42nd Streets and numeric grids. The other day I drank red wine in a cellar next to an Irish pub in Old Town; I do not know if I will ever be able to find my way back there again, and I like that. New streets and pubs and bookstores and people and suspicious smells are turning up daily and nightly.
Prague is one of the few cities I've been to - no, the ONLY city I've been to - that really knows how to light its architecture. At night, the castle is floodlit and it glows iridescent above the Vlatava and Charles Bridge like some ethereal anachronism, but it is completely accessible and night walks through it have become a routine.
In contrast to Los Angeles, where it's a pleasant surprise to find a building older than my father, being able to sit on a fountain at one in the morning and look up at St. Vitus, the very gothic church within the castle walls, gives me a sense of place and history, because Prague is a city in a country that has been in the middle of myriad empires, wars, rebellions, atrocities and struggles for national identity. Living in a city where all this can be felt like mist after rain is offsetting and a good slap in the face, since members of our generation usually (and sadly) think of George Lucas when they hear about empires and rebel armies.
If there were two words I had to choose when describing Prague it would be 'mysterious' and 'beautiful'.
June 18th, 2012
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