Prague: The Lightness and Darkness of Being

Known as one of those mythical places that has outlived a tortured existence from its post WWII era and hard days of communism, it is remarkable just how much grandeur survives in this city. Prague is an elegant old dame who has wisely kept her beauty and her mystery. The cobbled streets draw you in and take you on dark tours very much still within the Kafka-esque landscape. Ancient Gothic, Baroque and Rococco architecture abounds, but the streets are flooded with fashionable young Europeans who come here in droves to soak up its unique history and culture. Prague is a city of contrasts; the traditional mixes with the new, the young with the old, the classic with contemporary, and always the light with the dark. Prague is one of the best cities to get lost in, for it is in the losing that you do the best finding.

Take Pode Mostem; a wrong turn led us down to Lennon’s wall (yes, there is a sculpture of his head stuck on a wall surrounded by graffiti, his dark eyes staring out from behind his round spectacles beyond the grave) and delivered us to a candle-lit hole in the wall under Charles Bridge hidden behind heavy iron gates that turned out to be, sadly, the last night of one of the most intriguing and spooky little bars I have ever set foot in. Pode Mostem is run by a mysterious nomadic Czech and his clairvoyant wife who after giving us the all-clear served us Absinthe and Becherovka and told us stories around the fire about the history of the place, which first opened 700 years ago as a secret refuge for the dispossessed. It was eery to know that we were their last guests and the next morning we went back just to make sure that the 700 year-old pub was really there, but it was gone. Only in Praha!

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