Prague in February is an interesting one: it doesn’t exude or radiate or affiliate itself with other interactive verbs that trigger a second set of enticing verbs such as yearning, belonging or welcoming. Instead it remains aloof and impersonal, frostily-but-not-quite encased in a sheath of ember that glows orange only during sunset.
The cobblestone streets are charming, and the ancient buildings are razor sharp in both architecture and the years they hold. Charles Bridge is lined with gargoyles and tourists and flanked by the river that cuts across the city like a silver ribbon. And between the denizens of this city, the travellers that hope to find something in the Prague air that will solidify their weary wanderlust souls, and the extraordinary fairytale-esque buildings that belong in a Tumblr posting with a hundred thousand reblogs, there is something incorrigible about Prague that mystifies and intrigues.
I came to Prague because I wanted to walk along the city of spires and see if it struck that elusive note within me that would help anchor me down to a real and tangible place on earth that I could stake out as a possible refuge for when things back home get too chaotic and I need a break. I didn’t find what I was looking for here.
It’s not entirely Prague’s fault, really — I came here when my head was full of things that hadn’t been excised by time and late night rants yet because of their newness, and I meandered along the cobblestone streets like a wraith, the most raw facets of my being having been abruptly pulled up to the surface by the personal semi-tragedy that arrived in my inbox early Monday morning, ten hours after I landed in the airport.
Prague as a whole seems to uphold a tradition that goes unsaid but is noticed by many of its visitors: there is aesthetic beauty in this city, and the storybook charm is definitely visible through the camera lens if that’s what you’re looking for; but the secrets of this city is locked away and invisible until you learn how to breathe the way that Prague wants you to breathe, and perfect the art of leaving your commonplace baggage behind in your hostel bed every morning when you force yourself out of bed because it’s a brand new city to explore and you really shouldn’t lounge around until noon.