Like an Alphonse Mucha art nouveau painting with its hidden details subtly painted around the canvas’ muse, Prague will surprise you with all its delightful nuances.
A nonchalant looking building will have goblins hiding beneath a balcony. An awning is actually the wings of an angel. It’s both the big picture and the little things, and you can’t really take it all in unless you allow yourself to fully be there, in that moment, otherwise these little surprises will pass you by.
I love it. I love both its subtlety and splendor.
It’s so different from Lisbon, where everything screams VIBRANT—the food, the people, the bright yellows and blues and the terra cotta rooftops… Like the Ginjinha Lisboa, its popular cherry licqueur, the city is a burst of flavor and color and just assails the senses instantly. It tricks you into drinking more of its sweetness and then before you know it you’re walking along the streets of Alfama and Chiado with a cute guy, drunk as a sailor, and maybe locking lips in every plaza on the way to your hostel.
Prague takes its time.
Or maybe you take your time with Prague. It’s a mystery you patiently want to uncover. It’s just like this mindfulness exercise I once did in class involving a Hershey’s kiss. Instead of popping the kiss immediately, we lingered, felt how the silver wrapper rubbed against our fingers, inhaled the scent of chocolate, and even when we finally popped the damn thing into our mouths we let it melt excruciatingly slowly before finally swallowing all that chocolatey gooey goodness. It was a sensual, seductive experience—exactly how lingering in Prague has been.
I don’t know if other travelers would say the same. All I’ve really read about Prague before coming over has been the usual must-visit sights. Go to the Old Town, see the Astronomy Tower, visit Petrin Tower and Prague Castle, walk along Charles Bridge, visit a beer museum, etc., etc. Maybe the fact that I was in such a heightened emotional state at this point in my trip coloured my experience of it.
In hindsight, visiting Prague alone may not have initially been the best idea for someone whose heart was in recovery. But by the end of the trip, it’s really put a lot of things in perspective.
Prague is a place so beautiful you only want to share it with someone—the one; and not just the last one who managed to chip away part of the wall you’ve built to protect your self, but did not really stick around long enough to break through all of it.
That shift in perspective made all the difference. Because suddenly, all these almost-lovers pale in comparison.
Call me cheesy (at this point I don’t really give a f*ck) but next time I find myself in that side of the world, I’d definitely want it to be with the real deal. And should that possibility of having a permanent travel/adventure/life partner in crime not manifest itself for me, traveling to places I’ve really only just dreamed about is already such a rare gift, and being without that person could never diminish it.