Last week, three friends and I embarked on a trip to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. So far, this has been our first “planned trip”. With “planned” I mean that the decision of travelling was made on October 1st and that the settled date of travelling would be October 28th. That way, we had a month to buy tickets at a reasonable price, to study the city and decide which places to go and see.
Everything went according to plan, despite the fact that we didn’t plan which places we would visit. Our biggest effort was, at least, to read an article about Prague on the 27th. Now that I am back and have already seen the city, I can indicate you a few places you should visit when in Prague. Even though I am pretty sure that not doing a lot of research about the city was, and it is, the best option.
We arrived in Prague without maps, without knowing how to say “Hi” in Czech, without knowing if we should turn left or right. Put that way, it looks like a chaotic scenario, but it wasn’t. I rather face it as one of the best opportunities to challenge yourself and to let the city surprise you. After three days we managed the map quite well, could recognize places we have been to before and could even “feel” when we were walking in the wrong or right direction.
Knowing the history and importance of visited places is certainly valuable. For this you just need to have a guide or some brief explanatory material about where to go and what to see. However, no hard scripts are necessary! Not having a fixed travel route allows you to take advantage of opportunities that may arise at any time. When you’re in a city like Prague, you may be surprised at every corner. Enjoy the view and let yourself be carried away by the thrill of being surprised.
We visited several locations in Prague, but perhaps the best two moments, those that will leave the strongest memories, were the simplest and most unexpected ones.
The first one was when we visited the Charles Bridge at night. Unlike during daytime, the bridge is not crowded with tourists at night and a cold fog surrounds it (at least during autumn). You can walk quietly and enjoy the diffuse light that gradually reveals the many statues and monuments. Certainly, a landscape that only a few tourists get a chance to appreciate.
The second, and best moment for me, was when we came across a small bakery. We were not in the downtown area, the candies in the window looked different and tasty and the prices were ridiculously low. We decided to take a risk. Once we were in the bakery and wondering what flavors the pies were, surprise: not a word of English from the attendants. If you walk around the touristic central area of the city, everyone speaks English. However, we were no longer in the center. The solution was to communicate with hands, pointing to the items on the shelf or menu, and hoping that our requests were good, since they were done “blindly”.
This was one of the best experiences, because I’m sure I have tasted something that was really from Czech culture, because we were submerged in an incomprehensible language and had to find other ways to communicate, and because it was unexpected.