The Big City

Trip Start Apr 25, 2007
Trip End Oct 03, 2007

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Flag of Czech Republic  ,
Thursday, September 20, 2007

Of course we had to take a trip to Prague. Although I have been there many times before, I still think it is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The key is to stay away from the tourist streets, and you'll be fine. One street over and there's nobody, and you'll have the cobblestones and medieval feeling all to yourself.
Our friend Suzanna had graciously offered us the use of her rooftop apartment while she was away at her country house. The apartment was right in the center and about half a block from the river. From the roof we could see almost all of Prague, and we felt really lucky.
We mostly spent our time wandering around the old neighborhoods, ducking into beer halls and out of the way restaurants. Another friend, Monika, took us on a lovely walk along the river and on hidden roads until we ended up at a favorite local spot, bar Duende, actually owned by a good friend of my neighbor back in Seattle. Monika had been the editor of Cucina Italiana, so she and Dan had a lot to talk about, mostly how the Czech Republic still needs a food revolution. I left them to the revolution planning stages and enjoyed people watching.
I couldn't help but reminisce about my first trips to Prague in 1990 when foreigners were still a novelty, the cathedral entrance was free, and the Charles Bridge was virtually deserted. Prague had a melancholy feel back then, pensive and quiet. It has definitely changed, and it's not all for the bad. You can definitely eat better (and more expensively) and it is a very happening city. But I still can't help thinking of the times I spent by myself, lounging in the orchard below the castle, or looking at the city unscarred by McDonalds and Starbucks. Old Prague still exists, but it takes some persistence to find. Oh, well, at least there's still the beer, the Art Nouveau architecture, and the foot long sausages.....
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