Excerpts from Europe: Part Six
When we first walked out of the station in Prague, I fell in love with it. Having seen the character of Budapest and the veneer of Vienna, Prague was a perfect balance of the two. It instantly had the feel of being a busy city, but at the same time, the pockets of a quiet suburb that instantly appealed to me. It reminded me of home.
Then we got into the tourist shops. Prague is notorious for being the centre of a once strong Jewish community that has to some extent slowly rescinded in the years up until now. Even one of our group, of Jewish heritage, was excited to see a bit of the history. Then we saw a Hitler face mask literally two metres from the Jewish district. Our whole perception of Prague changed in an instant.
This city is a gimmick, a place for the flocks of idle tourists to experience culture (at a reasonable price). It was thoroughly disappointing – a missed opportunity for a town and country that is dripping with history. This was accentuated by the fact that Prague runs a large pub crawl, of you guessed it, tourists, run by British reps. The clubs in Prague tend to cater to their clients.
By 1 o’clock we hustled our way to the third bar/club, Roxy, which epitomised our first night in Prague. It was not authentic – it seemed to rip off its more Western partners – although it didn’t stop us having a good night. The fact that we missed various “opportunities” (think of that what you will) at these clubs due to the watered down drinks was a frustration for me. It seems like I had run the 100m and ducked out of the photo finish.
Although, everything is a learning curve – and we are learning as we go along. We have to expect mistakes, trip-ups, fits of passion and emotion; especially as we get more and more tired. But we need to push through it, the best is yet to come. All of us can feel it. And we don’t want to miss out.