I’ve been traveling in the Czech Republic since last Sunday. It was a busy weekend, my cousin was getting married at Dyment’s, a beautiful farm in Dundas, and I got a little too drunk at the open bar so I forgot to pack til the morning. That being said, I don’t think I missed anything in my celerity – just got a little sweaty.
The first thing we did in Prague when my family got there was walk through the Jewish Quarter. I cannot pretend it was anything but a sad experience despite the beauty of the place. The Spanish Synagogue especially, with it’s intricate Moorish patterns all around the interior is utterly breathtaking but it is also lined with reminds of all the shit the Jews in just that city had to put up with before the Holocaust even happened.
Also, it was the first stained glass star of David that I’d ever seen and there was something so manifestly ornate about it that I understood Judaism on the terms I’ve always understand Christianity. Something magnificent and unifying but wholly of the past, something that does not exist in that form anymore. For both of these religions still exist obviously but only as whispers of what once was.
Prague was perhaps the most annoying city to get around that I’ve been to. Most really old places seem to have undergone some reconstruction/reordering so that they follow some logical, or at least unified pattern that means if you follow a set of principles in one place it’ll be the same everywhere else. Not Prague though, it’s as if R’lyeh is not in the middle of the Pacific but rather the middle of Europe.
The beer of Prague is another highlight, as I’m sure many people have heard. The Czechs drink a lot of the stuff, and so did I when there. I don’t think it holds a candle to Ontario Craft Beer, which is the best in the world without a doubt. But it’s like comparing Prague to Toronto – both are great in different ways.
If I had to give on tip, don’t depend only on pilsners for they leave a bad taste on the tongue and every restaurant I went to have some darker more ‘ale’ like beer on tap.
I must say it’s weird to visit Old Town Square. The place is beautiful yet so disjointed that I was left a little confused. Every building, cathedral and church around the Square was built in a different architectural style that I saw roccoco then Baroque then a storefront or two then a magnificent gothic spiral. Tyn church, the giant that it is, is reduced by two restaurants in front so you only see it’s giant spires. Perhaps that’s on purpose, I don’t know. Another thing, St James’ Cathedral should be on everyone’s list because it’s just stupid how amazing it is. 10x bigger than the Spanish Synagogue it somehow how matches the place in design intracacy.
I would be remiss without recommending the Prague Castle. My words will not do it justice but I will say that for anything book nerds like me – Kafka lived inside it for awhile.