A Retrospective Account of my Trip to Prague

I began writing about my trip to Prague, which took place in October/November 2015 as part of another post but it turned out to be much longer and more rambly than I thought it would be so I’ve given the whole tale its own place here:

Going to Prague was yet another case of me “needing something to happen” in the aftermath of my finishing uni and not quite managing to either get a proper job or write or otherwise be productive. Much in the spirit of my very sudden solo trip to Italy a year and a half previously, I booked a hostel (sharing a room with strangers unnerved me but I thought it would be an “experience”, one of those “things to do before you’re 30”) and a seat on a plane, looked up the vegan options in the area, and once again basked in a sense of “what the hell did I just do”? The hostel was lovely, it had a ginger cat roaming around the lounge which was enough to make me feel at home but my initial concerns about sharing a room with strangers turned out to be founded, and then some.

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My sole bastion of personal space

 

Ignoring this awkward form of accommodation for the time being, I took to the city, primarily walking, absorbing the history and culture of the place, taking photos (most of which are in the photography page so as not to clutter the post here) and trying vegan cuisine, Prague-style:

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Memorial at the top of Wenceslas Square

 

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Just before the main bridge in Prague

Of course, anyone can take pictures of Prague, and far better than I, so I did one thing in particular to make the trip stand out in personal way. I did this by making Halloween a memorable day: I took a day trip to Kutna Hora, a small town an hour’s drive outside of Prague, famous for its skeleton ossiary. The sheer quantity of skeletons was unsettling, although these were donated by the former owners of the skeletons (at least I think – and certainly hope – so)… ¬†skeleton-decorating, and golden foliage everywhere, certainly made the day memorable:

 

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Macabre interior design of the Ossiary in Kutna Hora

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Cemetery with golden foliage in Kutna Hora

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Vineyard in Kutna Hora which produces mulled wine and sells it right there…

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A dog on the roof in Kutna Hora, possibly waiting politely for us to walk on by before howling at the moon

And of course, there was the food – the raw vegan food to be precise. Although Halloween in Prague may not sound like the ideal time to go raw, enough of the handful of vegan places in the city were raw that I thought it a good opportunity to give it a go. I don’t want to be a food-snap-bore so here are a few of the dishes which I found to be outstanding:

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Bread and beetroot pate with pesto swirl and coulis-type thing

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Raw veggie burger with salad and more of the best pesto I’ve ever tried – ALL VEGAN!

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I tried Loving Hut for the first time while here, which was well overdue. Cheap and healthy vegan cuisine, readily available throughout Prague!

Having temporarily forgotten about the “hostel situation”, I returned on all Hallow’s Eve to what I can only imagine was an epic party taking place in the lounge, at least from the noise. Having all of the awkwardness of no privacy which comes from hostel-staying, and none of the fun, drove me to vacate the place for a hotel with a private room, thereby confirming my initial concern that I am not, and never will be, a hostel person. This may complicate any future travelling (and make it a lot more expensive) but there you go…

The other reason I wanted to go to Prague was one word, or rather, one person: Kafka. Having spent some time studying and writing essays on Kafka at uni, the seed of the Kafka-esque was planted a whole ago and so I couldn’t not commemorate the trip with at least one Kafka memento:

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Kafka

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A Kafka statue – I’m not even sure if this is meant to be in any way “kafka-esque”

Prague is utterly steeped in both medieval and modern history, and much of it is right out in the open for all to see. One thing I felt compelled to see was the Jewish cemetery, which served as a resting place for literally thousands of Jewish people during the time when they densely inhabited the area. During World War II it was purposely set aside to be a “museum of an extinct race”, which ironically is the reason it still exists today, which made the visit all the more sombre but well worth seeing:

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Outside of the Jewish cemetery

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Jewish cemetery

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Prayers in the gaps of the stone

 

The very last place I went to see in Prague was the Speculum Alchemiae museum which is dedicated to the potions and concoctions people back in the day used to make for all sorts of ailments: poor health, bad luck, lacklustre love life…

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“You got a problem – we got a solution!”

Thus concluded another instance of travelling solo. I’m really not sure I’m the ideal lone explorer of old-time legends, intrepidly marching forth into the unknown armed only with a backpack and a decent camera, but a time comes, every so often, when you just have to make yourself do something, if only to make rambly posts like these.

I’m already starting to have a “notion” for another mini-venture, that’s how bad it’s getting.

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