72 hours in Prague

You could have been reading this and come away thinking that the highlight of a long weekend spent in Prague was any given time I was sat in a smokey bar with a small rotund glass of beer in front of me.

Whilst that might be close to the truth it is not quite the whole story.

Mid-morning on Sunday I found myself standing in front of the Memorial to the victims of communism. There was a gaggle of tourists taking pictures but they soon went and I was left alone for a while to look up at the fractured faces in metal.

I had been intending to go walking up amongst the streets under the castle and to test out the warning in the guidebook about taking photos outside the US Embassy. But as I walked I could see green paths leading up the Petrin Hill.

It was difficult to resist the temptation and so I turned left and headed up walking through apple trees. There were not many people up there although there was the occasional runner – probably just allowed out from the US Embassy.

As I walked up I would turn back every so often and more of the city was laid out in front of me.

There was still a morning light in the air and there was some chill left over from the night before, the chill had caught with the warm flow of the river and there was a faint mist that rose above the city and its buildings. If you were going to have to look back over Prague it was difficult to think it might be more beautiful.

As I got to the top end of the path on which was walking there was a graffitied covered bench that offered a good place to stop. I sat down and looked out over the city.

In the distance I could see in grey the church around which I had walked the previous morning and amongst the red rooftops the streets I had stomped looking for beer and good pork products. There was a stillness about it all and around me on the hill crows and the dirty pink flash of a jackdaw flitted through the apple trees.

I could feel myself settling into the bench and the view. There wasn’t much to disturb me for twenty minutes or so save to watch how the mist dispersed in the light.

Then another runner came past and I took myself off to walk under a limp American flag.

Later that evening I was able to find another good rotund glass of beer. It was in a half hidden bar across from the hotel. I was clearly an aberration stood at the bat but tolerated all the same. Some of the walls in the bar had been covered in old egg cartons presumably to absorb the thick fog of tobacco and the noise from the four men of indeterminate age sat by the door who seemed to be the recipients of a never ending stream of full glasses.

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