It may be infested with tourists, it may be expensive, noisy and overrun with traffic but I loved every minute of my time in Prague.
The next time I will bring sturdy shoes, a backpack full of sticky plasters for my blisters and a flexible VISA friend – the fees for museums, galleries and churches are rather high. During the day, most churches don’t allow you access but in late afternoon they open their doors to anyone wishing to hear church music. For a blissful hour one can relax, drink in the 18th century beauty of the architecture, the decor and paintings. Grateful feet start to recover from the steep cobbled streets outside and the mind retreats into a reverie, oblivious to the noise, dust and turbulent life outside.
Having decided to base part of one of my book projects in this amazing city, I started to view the place with a writer’s eye rather than stumbling around as a tourist. Photographs can only tell so much of a story: there are sounds and smells, there’s a change in light, there’s morning mist and afternoon heat, there’s the smog, there are barking, urinating dogs, there’s music and competing street vendors shouting their heads off on Carl’s Bridge.
Once I had scaled the heights of the Palace Gardens I found myself wandering through 18th century gardens; criss-crossing the hillside, the gardens spread out over a large area below the palace and main tourist throng.
Devided into different sections, some gardens are formal, others are playful with fountains sprinkling water over daffodils and tulips growing in profusion. Some gardens have benches for the visitor to sit and delight at the sights. There is room to take stock, to relax, to marvel at the multicoloured roofs, a russet flood rushing all the way downhill to join the river. At the foot of the hill a music school’s open windows allow violin and cello music to drift up the hill.
Resting by a fountain or under scented cherry blossom trees I made notes and found my children’s story progressing nicely – there was so much to inspire and stimulate the creative mind.
Cannot wait to go back. Oh, and the lager isn’t half bad either!