Prague then, odd place, not that you couldn't possibly dislike it. Rich with Medieval and Gothic architecture, all immaculately preserved, being as it was one of the few places that escaped heavy bombing during the second world war.
So why odd? Well maybe because of my pre-conceptions. The only prior knowledge of the City I had was the recollections of the uprisings against soviet occupation, an event celebrated by the West, but one largely the Czech themselves would rather forget, it was a blood bath, the occupiers sought their vengeance afterwards and did so in a brutal massive scale without mercy.
Then there's the modern image of Prague, along with Dublin as the 'In
' place for a good prenuptial 'Piss Up'. This had stereo typed my pre image of the city to be no more than a cheaper and more tacky Amsterdam clone (Not that I've got anything against Dam, for what it is, a cosmopolitan, liberal and an artistic cultural city, its has no equals).
Also my experiences of ex-Soviet cities I've visited before aren't exactly great. My memories are of concrete oblivions and their mass housing for the workers. And to be honest the outskirts of Prague as you approach from the airport are just like this. Faceless concrete tenements, built only yards apart from each other, all arranged for practical reasons, with aesthetics definitely not being a consideration. With wide roads and trams acting as archeries to move the mass populous to and from there soul set purposes in the commune (Trust me though this was no where near as bad as Sofia, where communist rule had designed mass 'Existence' into a near perfect form).
But Prague city center in fact was beautiful. Maybe even to beautiful, somehow feeling to perfect, like Bruge on steroids. The frontage as you would expect of many of theses buildings has now been monopolies by the 21st century, casinos, bars, clubs, restaurants, some fitted out in a harmonious fashion, others by glitz, glamour and neon flashes, alluring for those looking for more obvious stimulation.
The Old Town however with wide open squares surrounded by small inquisitive streets you feel compelled to explore, lent itself completely though to what is one of my favorite holiday past times, people watching. With copious quantities of coffee to obscure your true intent, the Cafe Culture was very prevalent and what more of an excuse could one need to kick back, chill, and watch the world go by? Exactly :o)
Prague then? Be prepared to be surprised by it, it can offer almost anything you want from a short city break, well worth a visit :o)
Confused from Chichester
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