Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Reflections from Prague: 2016

At the airport on the way home:
Prague Castle

“Would you like anything else? Beer?”
“How about a beer?”
“No thanks.”
Sighs. “200 CZK.” Looks to husband. “Beer?”
So ended our trip to Prague. I’ll miss the city so much it hurts, and I don’t even drink beer. Meanwhile, I now know more than I ever thought I would about the four-ingredient intoxicant that was once made of a mere three ingredients (yeast being the late-arriver). I know that those in the Czech Republic drink more beer per capita than anywhere else in the world (though this isn’t tinkered with craft brews made for potency alone). I know that most restaurants in Prague serve beer two ways: light or dark, and in two sizes: big or bigger. Again, I don’t drink beer, but I have a new appreciation for its rich history thanks to the beer museum.
Me at the John Lennon wall, post-goulash
If you're considering going to Prague and you happened upon this blog, do it! Do it now! Do it for the following reasons: the clothes, the odd fascination with Culture Club, the thirty-year old music videos constantly playing, the Powder Tower, the Roman bathhouse style of fitness clubs in the basements of hotels, the beer, the architecture, the artisans on the Charles Bridge, the view from the Astronomical Clock, Slav Island, the history, the food (no diets allowed, unless you're like seven feet tall), the chocolate museum, the black light theaters (I only made it to intermission, but the experience is burned into my brain), the puppets, Kafka everything, the goulash, the portions, the conversion rates, the conversations, the castles, the bridges, the views, the John Lennon Wall, and the walking. I clocked about 25K steps a day (the one part of my phone that worked in Prague was my pedometer app) and I willfully ignored the rest of the world as I drank this city in. I suggest you do the same if you can, if only for a few days.
Other suggestions, more on the practical side: bring good walking shoes; have your hotel call your car; try Airbnb (I have a specific recommendation if you'd like, just drop me a note); try to get off the beaten path a little; the best words to know are: ano, ne, prosím, and and děkuji (yes, no, please/check, and thank you); your money can go far, but the redundancy of the shops increases odds of impulsive purchases (and they can add up); eat goulash (have I mentioned this one already?); enjoy the other tourists as they're part of the scene; go to the top of the Astronomical Clock - it is worth it; and the tours are fine but you can also explore the city on your own. It's very easy to get around.

As a writer, my favorite part of the whole experience was just people watching. Prague attracts tourists from all over the world. In fact, there were very few Americans (a break from American politics!). Whether you can travel or not, other lands make for great settings for fiction, so...

Creativity Prompt: Research or travel to a place you've never been. Find an outdoor place to sit and people watch. People watch for at least twenty minutes before you even pick up a pen or open a computer. Then go at it. Write/draw/create for as long as you'd like.

Till next month, folks! Let us carry on with this craziness called life. In the meantime, please check out my new fiction in Sequestrum, "The Glass City."

Observations: Dublin Vacation

Dublin seemed the obvious destination. We would be close to various restaurants and tourist attractions. It would be easy to call a cab or...