Tuesday, June 19, 2007

100607 - 130607 - Prague


This is my first solo-trip to another country and, first couchsurfing experience. It was so wickedly cool! Damn. I definitely din regret coming on this one.

Arriving at Prague on the first day was not too good for me. First off was I left my couch's address on my freaking table. Then came the dumb regulations at the Munich airport. Ok, maybe I found it dumb cos it happened unpleasantly on me, and I wasn't thinking much about terrorism and stuff but well, it doesn't hurt to complain a little, does it? Then I lost the map CW gave me, which I thought I could rely on. Then I stupidly shut off my handphone on the plane, arriving at Prague, I realised I forgot my PIN number to activate the SIM card. Not very smart, is it? Then my handphone busted. This time, it went out totally. Introspectively, I viewed this both as a good news and bad news. Good news is I justified my SIM inactivation and bad news is I do not have a handphone to contact my surf giver, whom I thought I could use my handphone to call when I left the address on the table... Bad things come in a bunch, how true can the alliteration get? And as if I wasn't in the foulest of mood already, the rain has to come when I was fretting around trying to look for an internet cafe. The rain. The verdammt rain.

Sowieso I still reached the house of my couch giver, Jean (French pronunciation, not a lady), finally after much searching. He was really nice and I was so relieved after my 'series of unfortunate events', that I couldn't wait to put down my bag and start something out in Prague and forget I ever came from Munich. "So erm I will show you your room in the attic." Then he took out a pole. "So what do you need a pole for my room for?" I thought. "Excuse me Jimmy, I need to stand here, sorry." Then he pulled down the trapdoor. From above. Where I was standing before. Then you find yourself climbing up an extended ladder straight up to the attic. To see the most awesome and totally straight-out-of-the-movie attic. Dark, musky, warm, woody etc. But I just find it exciting and cool. HAha, and as if it wasn't enough, there was another ladder that lead u straight up another trapdoor, to the roof! Where we spent in the night, enjoying some breeze and some night scenary from the there. Jean, if u r reading this, I really LOVE your couch. Seriously people, this is what couchsurfing is about - enjoying the travel in a totally different way.

Prague was beautiful. Really beautiful. It's funny how all, and I really mean all, the buildings can look like sculptures. From residences to embassies, even the lampposts and lamps along the streets are unique in a very artsy sort of way. It opened a new horizon to a Singaporean, who was cooped up in his own world, that such normal buildings can be an artistic piece of work and not an architectural one. It makes me wanna see more. Prague Castle is one main attraction that you probably wouldn't wanna miss. Charles Bridge needless to say. Then there was Klementinum, the old Jesuit College, which houses a Baroque style Hall of Jesuit Library. It was really impressive, with all its globes, shelves, books, paintings, carpets and carvings, one of the only attractions that I paid to go in. Vysehrad was impressive only by its stature, because the once grandeur, has been reduced to a mere skeleton. Tons of warring have shattered what was before. I wasn't very keen on the Old Town Square, because it was too 'touristy'. Serious overdose of people. And I would have thought people crowding around Marienplatz just to look at the Glockenspiel was considered a throng; then you should see the real throngs of people gathering to see astronomical clock at Old Town Square. And then you would, also, understand what really is an 'overrated' clock show. Sorry Glockenspiel, you lose, hands down... What's up with big clocks nowadays with people?

And I enjoyed the Josefov Area instead actually. It is a past Jewish area with old synagogues and Jewish cemeteries, and little charming alleys. It has become a place for high-class boutiques. Wenceslas Square is really THE shopping street or platz. I discovered that almost too late, because I found also Deutsche Bank where I could have obtained extra cash if I had found earlier.

I do not think I could really sum up my Prague experience and of course Prague itself in this little entry. I wasn't planning to do so. I definitely would think it would defeat the purpose of writing a travel blog, which I personally think wasn't about writing every little detail about your travelling. Travelling is a thing unto each individual; the same place same time same day can mean totally different things to different people.

My Prague experience was really an individual experience. A solo trip like this certainly did me good. Do things on your own. Make choices on your own. Take pictures of yourself. Talk to yourself. And because there is no external peer pressure to keep your mind preoccupied, instead then u also start to think and introspect. Think about things that has no definite answers. Think about your current predicament. Think about your current imperfect life. Think about how you gonna come ease with yourself. Then at the end of it all, you arrive at no concrete conclusion. That you are not gonna be able to prophesise sowieso, so what the heck are you spending your brain cells on?!??! Then you laugh. In the middle of the street. While you were enjoying the birds chirping and the sun shining. Like somebody had just made a funny comment. Like a conversation was so hilarious. But life is funny, isn't it? In every sense of that word, life is funny. Especially when you think back, when you are here immersed in your life again, life back then when u were just sitting there laughing; u seemed so detached. Funny.

At the end of the stay in Prague, where I got so dreamy, when I was still in my maelstrom of philosphical questions and idiosyncracies, I reached back in Munich airport.

"Sorry sir, luggage from Prague is at Band 6" --one hour later-- "Sir your luggage is at Band 10". And I found it at the "Lost and Found" counter after 1 and a half hours.

Reality slapped you right across the face.

"Welcome back!"


kloopu said...

hey those are beautiful pictures.. :)

jm said...

haha got that artistic streak right :P did u see all the other photos? Well that happens when u r on a solo trip tend to take more photos of scenary LOLX

Samantha said...

Nice pictures! I agree, Prague truly offers something for everyone, and each of its many faces has its own special charm. I think one of the most breath-taking, as well as photogenic, views of the Castle opens up from the very head of Charles Bridge where also you can find many Prague hotels, nice restaurants and bars. The Castle panorama features just about all the historic architectural styles; it’s not an exaggeration to say that you are looking at a thousand years’ worth of European architecture. Charles Bridge is the oldest and the most valuable bridge. It was built in 1357 and bears the name of its founder, the Emperor Charles IV. You cannot miss it when strolling along the Royal Way, the famous coronation route of Czech kings connecting the Old Town with the Prague Castle.

liza said...

Oh This was the great article for travelling but want to ask how much you have saved your money or did you apply any for getting discount because we have tried
Way coupons and Promo codes for getting discount and got 40% Off specially in Car parking and Travelling. ( thanks )