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My new home?

CZECH REPUBLIC | Tuesday, 30 September 2014 | Views [297]


Prague is the most beautiful city I've ever been to. Simple as that. It's unbelievably picturesque. Every way you turn, there's a photo opportunity. It's hard to put away the camera and soak up the city. The temptation to try to capture everything is overwhelming. Even more so when there's a shiny new camera to play with! Time and again the new zoom lens is paying for itself.

But that's not what you want to hear, right? You're here for my humorous shenanigans. Let's begin then, with my first day here. The airport's a bit out of town, as it to be expected. An easy bus ride, followed by an easy tram ride dropped me on the edge of the city, near my host's place...

Wait. I skipped a bit. The flight from Helsinki to Prague was delightfully short and happily empty. Once again, three seats to myself. But the flight was too short to really take advantage of that, plus I needed to read up on how to survive in Prague. Everything went smoothly, including arriving in Prague and finding my baggage. This made me very happy. As usual, I was having "lost baggage" nightmares! (The down side of working in travel insurance, I suppose!)

So, back to where I was. Commuting into Prague. My host gave me the name of a tram stop to get off at, so I did. Well, actually, I missed the stop and went about 3 stops past it. But that seemed okay. No big deal - just hump it back up the road and wait around. I did, but there was no sign of my host (I think I've changed her name to Alice, right?). I waited a little longer, then found myself a cafe with wifi so I could message her. No response for quite some time. Then I got a reply saying she'd been waiting for an hour and gone home to get wifi access! We agreed to meet again. I went back to the tram stop and stood around for an hour... Still no sign of Alice. Not good! Then it occurred to me that there are two tram stops in a row with very very similar names. So I rolled on down to the next one (I'd walked past it after my initial mistake!) There I found a Starbucks for more wifi. Alice was back home again, confused. Argh!

So then she gave me directions to her place... and I walked right back to the tram stop I'd originally gotten off at, which is about 50m from her door! *facepalm*

But hooray! Because I'd finally found my couchsurfing buddy! Of course, by that stage we'd wasted most of the day... I caught a fair bit of sun, too. Not in a bad way, but still... a little pink in the face. So we hung out for a while as I unpacked and got myself sorted out. Then we went out for an expedition into the heart of the city.

And I fell in love. Now, I'll always say that Istanbul is my favourite city. I can't see that changing any time soon. But Prague is a very close second. Really... breath-taking. I could live here. It wouldn't bother me at all. I would be very comfortable. While it doesn't have the gritty edge of Istanbul, it's got something else. I'm going to call it charm, because that's what I feel when I see the little planter-boxes of flowers on the windows. The ornate lamposts. The old stone. Everything really. This list would be far too long.

Yesterday was a whirlwind of walking in perfect weather. Up to the palace. Too cheap to buy a ticket to get into everything, but that's okay. Between a good zoom lens and jaw-dropping vistas of the city, who needs to traipse around museums? I get museum fatigue very quickly. The first 30 minutes are good, but after that I often glaze over. Not always, but often. And then I feel like I've wasted my money. Slouched back home after the palace, footsore and excited. Picked up some sunglasses, dropped off an unneeded jumper and went back out. This time I wandered the back streets and ended up at a museum. Again, didn't bother going in. Soaking up the sun and the sights and the charm was more than enough!

In the evening, I met Alice after work and we went out for dinner and a wander. Found a shisha place later on and settled in for conversation.

This morning, I was up before sunrise (gasp! I didn't even know that was possible!) to take pictures of the Charles Bridge at sunrise. There were very few people there, mostly photographers. but the morning was overcast and not ideal. Now I'm back here writing away.

I've said it before and I'll say it again... I really could live here. *sigh*

Tags: charles bridge, prague, sunrise

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