It was love at first sight. I emerged from the train station into the warm evening air. Golden hour was upon the city. I looked down at Google Maps on my phone and followed the directions towards my hostel. I was like a distracted dog. Step, step, squirrel! Only it wasn’t a squirrel. It was always a beautiful stone building right out of a fairytale. The sun’s rays playfully radiated off the glass windows and onto the nearby river. Each building more beautiful than the last. I danced around on cobblestone streets to Charles Bridge. It was more magical than I thought. The crowds were thick, the street musicians playing their hearts out, and the sunset over the castle glowing in every shade of orange, pink, and red. I never want to leave.
I was only in Prague for a couple days, but she quickly lodged herself into my heart forever. I’ve heard numerous people say Prague is straight-out of a fairytale. I couldn’t agree more. Every once in awhile I would look over my shoulder half expecting to see Cinderella or Belle waltzing in the streets singing to the tune of the Disney classics.
It was a whirlwind 48 hours, but I know I will be back soon. There is so much more to see. Coming from Athens, Budapest, and Vienna, I thought I was ready for the tourists. For decades Prague has been off-the-beaten path for most travelers who stick to London, Paris, and Rome, but the message must be out – Prague is the place to go. The tourists walked in swarms. I met more Americans in 5 minutes in Prague than my previous two weeks in Europe.
Prague was the only city that I truly got lost in multiple times. I learned very quickly that I needed to learn the Czech names for buildings because there is little to no English in the city. One morning I hopped on the tram to the Castle but ended up in downtown Prague. I thought I could use my little hostel map to get me back to the historic center, but I finally had to ask a concierge at a hotel for directions (and a better map). Even close to my hostel I got lost in the tight, twisting cobblestone streets. I didn’t mind. I probably walked in circles a hundred times, but I was dazed by Prague’s charm and beauty.
There are only a handful of places in the world that I have fallen head over heels for immediately. Prague is now in the likes of Charleston (South Carolina), Lucca (Italy), and Budapest (Hungary). All have very special places in my heart for unique reasons.
So Prague, I raise my glass of beer in your honor. I promise to come back and explore your quaint streets filled with centuries old cobblestones, confusing language, and delicious beer again. Na zdraví!