Maintaining a steady blog content while also applying for university is something I am objectively bad at and I hereby apologise for the long absence and unfulfilled new year’s promises. But for those of you who are still with me, I’m going to share one of my most memorable travels so far in one of the prettiest cities I’ve ever been to – Prague.
Why was I in the magnificent capital of the Czech Republic? Well, you all know that, being Bulgarian, it is my second nature to exploit European money and naturally, most of my experiences outside the motherland are financed by the EU – this one is no exception.
Jokes aide, I became part of an international campaign, which aims to raise the turnout of young people at the upcoming European Parliamentary elections (May, 2019) and contribute to lessening the political apathy all over Europe. So one can imagine that my trip was filled with political debates, democracy praise, long discussions of voting habits, corruption and, weirdly enough, Maltese politics. However, all of that is probably a topic of another post – now let’s talk Prague.
A capital city often compared to Vienna and Budapest, I found Prague even more stunning than the last two. Okay, I might have already mentioned how easily impressed I can sometimes be by cute, well-preserved Western architecture, like I was in Utrecht, but damn Prague is on a whole new level. It doesn’t take you that much time to notice that the city is a one of a kind museum of architecture – you can see Romanesque buildings as well as Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance and literally every architectural style you can google. That said, Prague’s charm is undeniable, inexplicable and absolutely everywhere. From the beautiful cobblestone streets, historical buildings and cathedrals all the way to the hipster cafés, co-working spaces and I guess bars (I was on a ‘work trip’ so there were no pub crawls for me, but you get the idea).
A clock, a wall and a bridge
I mainly got to explore the city either in the super early mornings or in the evenings. While that’s the main reason why you won’t be reading about any museums (they all close at 6 pm), the schedule allowed me to see Prague without the huge flow of tourists. My newly-found partners in crime and I, led by an EU-obessed Czech activist, walked around the old town numerous times each one finding something new to admire.
The famous astronomical clock was an original and eye-pleasing thing to see, but more interesting was to find out its history/legend – apparently in the 1400s the Czechs were seeking attention and wanted something cool that only they could have and so they ordered the clock, but then after it was done they overreacted by blinding the clockmaster so that he could never repeat his work. And I though Bulgarians are extra, am I right?
Another place worth to be mentioned is definitely the John Lennon Wall in Mala Strana. It represents the ‘cool’ yet still touristy side of Prague and further, my experience there was accompanied by a street singer who in my view couldn’t sing that well, but was awkward enough to be hipster and his chill repertoire actually matched the atmosphere.
After all, Charles Bridge convincingly won in my personal ranking of tourist attractions. I know, I know – that’s the most famous one and I’m basic, but I have an affinity for bridges that should never be underestimated and in my honest opinion of a ‘highly educated bridge connoisseur’, Charles Bridge might just be the prettiest one in Europe.
Sightseeing vs hipsterseeing
In the time when I wasn’t out admiring Prague’s architecture or in – discussing how to reinvent young people’s faith in democracy and rule of law, you could have found me in one particular hipster not-so-overpriced café – EMA espresso bar. I can say that for those 5 days spent in Prague EMA became me and my multiculti friends’ second home. We went there to grab coffee in the morning then drank tea instead of having lunch and after 6 pm…well, I think we sometimes had another coffee. Just like us, ЕМА was also multiculti, which means the baristas actually spoke English ! Plus, it was less overpriced than expected and as I said, the EU paid for us to go to Prague so we could afford to treat ourselves and spend an extra euro on that heavenly mint tea.
As far as the hipster culture is concerned, Café Jedna, which was right next to our hotel deserves an honorable mention. We went there on our last day and I found it was aesthetically pleasing and definitely fitted in the hipster category with its atmosphere being somehow super cosy even though the place was spacious. And something that’s always a plus – it had some pretty delicious vegetarian and vegan options.
All in all, Prague won my heart with its history, charm and EMA. An analogy – if my home town of Sofia was a guy it would heave been kind of the fuckboy who incorporates architectural styles that should never be mixed and who obtains its charm mainly from the contemporary youth culture, but Prague would most likely have been that good guy who has style, is well-mannered, cultural, classy and knows stuff about history, but ultimately you know he’s most probably gay. Which is my way of saying that as a proven fag hag I found my perfect match. I think I could never get enough of just aimlessly walking around its old town streets, admire its architecture or just drink a cup of mint tea in a hipster café. So please, Prague, be my gay best friend.
P.s. I can’t portray an accurate image of my Czech experience if I don’t give a special shout out to all of the amazing people who were also funded by the EU to drink tea* – love you, guys
*to save the European project of peace