I’m in Prague, the famous romantic city that legends are made of. As soon as we announced we’d put the city on our hit list our friends and family went wild. “ See the bridge at dawn, walk through the city at dusk, go to this museum, don’t miss that acrobatic show where the dancers fall from the ceiling”. The list of to do’s and must see’s was daunting as was our arrival in the famed city. A map, which had no ’ you are here sign’, street names that all started with the word Namasti (which means square) and a heat wave. We had rented a place through Airbnb and our host was a Czech photographer and yogi. She greeted us warmly and showed us to our retro-chic apartment, which reminded me of a flat in Bondi. “Everything is in walking distance,” she explained,” the castle is that way, the river this way and the health food store, well somewhere over there by the main road and by the way don’t drink the water, its usually pretty good, but with the floods, who knows.”
We unpacked with smiles on our faces ‘we’re in Prague!’ I couldn’t wait to see just about everything but where to start?
With a sunset yoga practice. We opened the windows, unrolled our mats, and stretched out the kinks.
As soon as I start to breath and move I am reminded again and again of how beautiful and amazing it is to just exist. The entire city sounds blend into silence, buildings melt into sky and thoughts submerge in an ocean of consciousness.
How can one not love yoga, I thought to myself as we shared a home cooked meal and planned our activities for the following day. Yoga is so much more than a practice; it soothes the body, calms the mind and inspires clear thinking.
Everyone had insisted that dawn is the best time to see the Charles Bridge, a gothic bridge connecting the old and lesser town, which is lined with no less then 30 statues. I don’t know what we were thinking when we strolled out of our apartment at noon, the heat was oppressive and the tourists swarmed the bridge like locusts. Luckily, in spite of the crowds, the river, the mix of gothic, baroque and renaissance buildings was inspiring. This city is old and has an alchemy untouched by the passage of time.
It was only later while having dinner with dear friends of John, in the famed Witches and Alchemists quarter that we learned that the old buildings are filled with Poltergeists
“ Its true,” our hosts beautiful Czech wife insisted,”lights go on and off for no reason and things fly about sometimes. It’s a little scary.”
I couldn’t help but believe this beautiful sensitive woman, whose paintings covered every inch of their apartment. “I’m self taught” she explained, “I love nature.” “My wife is prolific and unstoppable” our host explained, “ in fact she just knocked a wall out and started renovating the apartment next door so she can have a studio.”
For me the real Prague began to unfold listening to the story of her life. She had grown up in a communist state where they had to line up to get just one Banana. She wasn’t allowed to have a passport and was taught in school that the Russians were their brothers. The government changed when she was 12. “Now we are a democracy, but I don’t really feel it’s about that. Tourism is the cash cow here and the locals both love and hate it “
As I listened to her stories an unusual cat, completely hairless had climbed onto my lap. I couldn’t help smiling. We had certainly landed in the heart of Prague.
A bald cat, ghost like apparitions and one mysterious muse all haunting the midnight blue sky.
Our visit had roamed late into the evening and it was time to head home. “Make sure you walk up the hill on your way home. The view is the best in Prague.”
And did we?