For my last weekend trip, my friend and I went to Prague with Bus2Alps and stayed at the CzechInn.
I did not know what to expect with Prague, but throughout the semester I had heard from various students that it was their favorite city. I now understand why.
After a 13 hour bus ride from Florence, the first thing we did when we arrived at the hostel was bundle up in scarves, sweaters and gloves. It was a good 20 degrees colder in Prague than in Florence.
We then went on the tram and metro to meet our guide for our walking tour. He took us around the city, including Old Town Square and the Old New Synagogue. We had such a large crowd that it was difficult to understand what he was saying to us, but we were able to take in many beautiful sights and its history.
Throughout the years, Prague has been subject to many foreign invasions and political unrest. In the city, we were able to see the German and Russian influence from the second World War. There are many government buildings that were built when they became the Czech Republic in order to reaffirm their position.
One of my favorite results of the political unrest within the city is the Lennon Wall. The Wall was built as a dedication for the famous Beatle, John Lennon. In 1988, the wall was a source of irritation for the communist regime of Gustáv Husák. It acted as a civil protest by the students in Prague, calling their movement Lennonism. Students would write on the wall ideas of peace, quoting Lennon and his ideals. The government would return everyday, painting over the graffiti, and the students would continue to come back.
This piece of art continues to live on today. People still come by and paint over the wall (as tradition), which encourages people to continue to contribute to the wall. The ideals on the wall are still characteristic of young people; ideas of love, peace, and togetherness. My friend and I wrote on the wall some of our favorite quotes, in English and Italian (ti voglio bene), and Beatles lyrics. It was nice contributing to this living history; we’re part of the peace, we are a part of a layer of this history. There must have been thousands of people that wrote on it before use, and there will be thousands after us, but we all have the same ideals. We all shine on.
The wall is located off of Charles Bridge, the oldest bridge in Prague (and at one time, the only). Its construction started in 1357 under King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of the 15th century. It’s a wide bridge that, during the day, is filled with vendors selling jewelry and artwork; there are beautiful pictures of the Wall and paintings of the bridge. The bridge is packed with tourists, but it is definitely a must-see. There are religious pieces along the edge of the bridges, probably a result from the Renaissance.
The Christmas market in Old Town Square had just opened the weekend we were there. There were lines of shops selling Prague souvenirs, as well as Christmas ornaments and decorations. There were also food vendors, where they were selling this cinnamon fried dough. It looked like a hollow cylinder. Mine had Nutella in it. Of course it was amazing. We also got potatoes melted with cheese and ham. I also ordered a chicken skewer on a baguette. Now picture it, and try to appreciate how I attempted to eat it, because it was very difficult and impractical.
There was also a huge Christmas tree and stage, decorated with the lights. The entire square was lit up by the white Christmas lights.
Prague was one of those unexpected beauties. The buildings and squares all had a unique feel to them; although I was in a big city, I felt like I was in a small town.
As Bus2Alps says, “Prague has shed it’s not-so-distant oppressive past to re-emerge as a culturally rich wonder and a mainstay of every traveler’s bucket list.”
That it has.
Oh. And fun fact- Prague is where most of Eurotrip was filmed.