For many people a day, as an entity, exists in the pattern of a cycle. The coming of the day is marked by the rising of the sun, the warming of the earth, the undertaking of toil during the sunlight hours. Slowly, with the passing of time, we halt our efforts of labor to match the weaning light. We retreat to an abode, a home, a shelter, where we are given time to unwind before a slumber. For we who rise with the sun must succumb to the moon.
And so it goes on as steady as the wind and as constant as the oceans movement. In time, I awake. My rising does not always match that of the suns’, for I am a creature of the night. See I have found a place in this world that defies the cyclical habits of a “normal” day. It is not a place of the Mediterranean, where the people need a pausa or siesta in the middle of the day just to be able to prolong the night. It is not a place of North America, where cities come to life and dance in the contained form of Friday after five o’clock to midday Sunday. Nor is it a place such as India, where the sheer mass of the population implies that life will always exist, no matter the time of day – along roads, under passageways, in rickshaws, out in fields, besides the bays, throughout the hills of the Himalayas, in slums, or in trendy Bombay night clubs.
Ne, this is a place where magic exists around every corner. Where streets are laden with cobblestones that carry the stories of those who came before and pave the way for those to come. These streets are both broad and narrow, winding among beautiful buildings, each unique with facades that leave you in awe. Look up, take it all in. For these are not just aesthetic edifices – they are entities, structures, castles, shops and homes, each telling a story of the great empires from the days of yore. Sometimes the empire is literal. Spanning from the Celtic Bois, to the defining legend of Libuse, to the rule of the Bohemians, to the Luxembourg’s and the great king Charles IV, to the Hapsburgs. Other times the empire is metaphorical. It is the modern rule of intellect where the minds of Kafka, Capek, Havel and Einstein are still found in various cafes and restaurants that line these enchanting streets.
It is a city in which each day goes about revealing its glorious splendor. The appeal never weans, nor is the opulence defined in a mere set of hours. Rise and take a walk. Ascend to Letna, to sit in the beer garden or at one of the various lookout spots, and witness over a hundred spires reaching toward the heavens. Stay out all night. Let time pass being lost in conversation in an underground pub where the haze of smoke mixes with the heavily-herbed shot of Becherovka you just consumed; the combination becomes your vehicle for thought. Dance in a huge pit. Above lost-souls look out over banisters down to the clump of bodies awkwardly stepping, moving, thumping, hugging, jumping, grinding to tunes of their youth. Tunes not just heard but seen on a series of eight large screens – music videos accompanying the audio. And now the youth dances, without context, just to dance. Look at your watch. It is four in the morning. Leave now. Traverse down Narodni, along the Vlatava, to the Charles Bridge. Open the bottle of Gambrinus you happen to have in your bag, take a seat along the ledge and gaze at that castle. As you swallow a swig of the lager the hops soothe your tired being. You are slow, lost in and out of thought. Slow as the sun rising –– in all its glory rays illuminate the patches of gold built into the fortification, sneaking in-between the spires, bringing a new kind of life to the streets that make up this Golden City, the Mother Prague.
This place, this Mother, you will forever be indebted to. For she always gives you what you need even when you are not sure exactly what you are looking for. Like any good mother she knows you better than you know yourself. She is stunning, to say the least, and her beauty stands the test of time. She is a threshold, thus she is a wanderlust’s true home. I may wander down unknown roads or engage in newfangled adventures, but I will always return to the dear Mother and her claws that comfort me and never let me go.
About the Author: Lauren considers herself a citizen of the world. She is on her fifth year living abroad, currently working and residing in Australia. Her first love is people, second is traveling and third is beer. Writing is in a category of its own for it keeps her sane. She feels incredibly blessed to be where she is today and knows one day she will return to the only place she has ever felt truly herself, Prague.
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