Monday, October 3, 2011

Last Thoughts on Prague

Monday was my last day in Prague. The "blague" portion of the vacation blog will now be closing. The last site for my visit was what appears to be an army of zombies. These aren't zombies. This is the awesome Memorial to the Victims of Communism Who Lived.

Look closely at the figures. They are slowly decaying as you move back, symbolizing the dehumanizing effect that communism had on the Czech people.

I think the context would be more apparent with the addition of another figure, a figure representing western decadence at its most gluttonous:

You knew that was coming, didn't you?

I had a great time in Prague, despite my complaint inability to get over my jet lag. (E.g., I woke up this morning wide awake at 3:00 a.m. and did not go back to sleep until 6:00. Not conducive to an active schedule!) Prague is beautiful. There is endless supply of sights to see, things to do, and Czech beer to drink. Czech food is heavy, but tasty. It is also a disorienting place. It is very easy to get lost walking around here, as the streets are packed, narrow and jumbled. Because they are so narrow, you can't get any perspective. A functioning GPS on a smartphone would be wonderful here. And as I said before, Prague is lousy with tourists. That's good and bad. It tends to happen to places worth visiting. The word gets out.

The main tourist core consists solely of boatloads of tourists and the people who serve them. I have no clue where the locals go to eat, drink, get entertained. I don't even know where the business district is. This is not a town where you can mingle with the locals, not unless you venture way out from the tourist core and the guidebooks won't tell you which pubs to drink at that far from Mala Strana or Old Town.

There are four levels of places you visit. Level One are the rotten places you never want to see again. There aren't many of those on my list. Billings, Montana. Lukovdol, Croatia. That's about it. Level Two are the places you, you have a great time, but you really don't think you'll ever want to visit again. Level Three are the places you visit and you want to return to, again and again. And Level Four are those places you love so much you wish you could move there and never leave. I loved my time in Prague. I am so glad I visited here. But it might only be a Level Two on my vacation scale.

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