If You Go to Prague

If you go to Prague, be sure to get off the beaten path.

Cross the river, take the underground, go to the other side of town, and explore.

Selfie in front of Prague Old Town
Downtown Prague is a fairy-tale land, full of inauthentic but beautiful stuff to impress tourists.

Sure, you should see the tourist attractions, too. See the astronomical clock, go to the castle, walk along the King Charles Bridge. But sooner or later, you’ll realize this isn’t the real Prague – those tour guides with their yellow umbrellas, the waiters standing outside restaurants, waving for you to come in, the museums and gift shops and street artists are just predators, preying on tourists, milking them of the money which keeps the city alive. It’s a sort of Disneyland, enthralling visitors with its fairy tale towers and cobblestone streets. The historical buildings, the colorful winding streets, the costumed performers, they all do such a good job re-enacting Prague in the middle ages (or 19th century, or 20th century, or take your pick), that many visitors never get to see what Prague in the 21st century is like.

The first time I went to Prague, I checked the tourist stuff off the list. The Old Town Square with its highly-overrated anematronic clock, the castle, the restaurants. I returned nearly seven years later (has it been that long?) with a different purpose to the trip: to visit friends – or, more specifically, a former lover. I wound up seeing a new side of the city, and gaining a new appreciation for it. Continue reading “If You Go to Prague”

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