From New Mexico to Metro Medieval
15.08.2010 23 °C
Evidently myself and my wife Megan are insane. At least that's what I expected people to think after our third international relocation in less than 18 months. As it turned out, our friends and family were as excited and unfazed by the whole thing as we were - I suppose they are used to us by now!
Prague is amazing for many different reasons. Firstly, it's got the charming, unspoilt historic architecture at every turn that I much appreciated during my five days here in 2001 at the end of an Inter-railing trip around Europe. But if you take a closer look around, there’s much more to be found.
The first thing that comes to mind is books and beer! I never saw a pub with more than a small stack of books in a corner until I came to Prague, and found an entire bar filled with books from floor to ceiling. Located just at the turn of a cobblestoned street, you see patrons relaxing over pints and prints out of the corner of your eye – it’s quite an irresistible sight!
It’s not just about beer of course. Riding the metro to work every morning is damn cool as well. Of course I’ve been on metros on three continents before, but there’s something extra special about being a regular, paid-up user of them – in fact, I’d say it was probably a feat I wanted to achieve before I turned 30, so just in time too!
A surprising aspect of living in the Czech Republic is how familiar it all feels. People ask how I’m finding the place, and I struggle to explain the pleasantly exotic/un-exotic feel I get from being back in a different part of Europe. Aspects remind me both of Ireland and of living in Toulouse, where I studied abroad for six months. The former comes from a mirthfully amusing mix of blundering politicians, leafy suburbs and abundant Tescos, while the latter just goes to show that continental Europe does have a common character despite its many languages and cultures – think paninis, small strong coffees and street trams.
My favorite part of Prague is its intelligence and artistry. When darkness falls on the city, a certain enchanting melancholy hangs in the air. Untouched graffiti is left to line the walls of New Town like a legitimate art form, while tram shelter posters advertise classical concerts instead of ringtones and McDs. As my wife said recently, Prague feels like Radiohead.
If you don’t see all that as a great reason to put the clocks forward seven hours on your life, I think you’ve stumbled into the wrong blog! Until next time, dear readers, consider that moving country is getting easier and easier in this mad, ever-globalizing world – you could be the next to pack up everything and just go!