Czech, please!

Woo! New adventures and stumbling around in the dark screaming inane and profane things; otherwise known as making a new blog or, in other words, hello!

So, I decided to visit Prague one night in January as I sat at my parents house in Edinburgh drinking wine, a fact that will become of increasing importance later. The last time I went abroad was on a visit to Venice 2 years ago and, other than a 6 month sojourn in the West Highlands working on a wigwam campsite, another story for another time, I was feeling a bit like Edinburgh was my life, and I needed more. It’s not bad, a fine city, full of history and culture with a bit of vibrancy to it, but 23 years in one place was grating. So it began with talking to a friend I met at a punk gig several years ago who was teaching English in Prague. I had an idea: why not visit her? So I booked a flight without delay.

February. 5 days. A nice short trip of seeing things, drinking copiously, working on my poetry, getting a bit of a feel for the place so I can understand teaching English abroad a bit better. I have a TEFL so teaching is an intention.

I mentioned the wine earlier, right? Well. This must have been a couple glasses in, a good red, probably Malbec, I cannot recall that detail. Online calendars are tricky things.

2 months. I booked a 2 month return trip. February through to April.

In other times, I may have panicked, cursed, paid the idiot tax, and rebooked. This time I did not. This time, the nerves switched from stress to excitement, and so I meditated for two days. Could I manage that length of time? What would I gain from it? How would I live? The answer to all three was maybe. So a fourth came to mind:

Would I regret not doing it?

The answer was an emphatic yes. Of course I would have thought about what could have been; I would have wondered why I withdrew when every part of me told me to go forward.

And so Prague became a thing. Now that I’m here, I realise I could not have made any other decision.

This city is thoroughly mad. The traffic lights tick with a clockwork mechanism that tells you when you can cross, and the tick has become a beat, a rhythm, that reminds me I’m dancing to a merry tune of my own stupid devising. This city is thoroughly mad. The buildings are an eclectic mix of the courtly 18th century, the imperial 19th, the modernity of the early 20th, and the Soviet styles of the latter – the colours are pastels, white, grey. This city is thoroughly mad. It’s an entrepôt of Czech, French, Scottish – they even have a shop that sells tartan – then also Americans, Australians, and an incredibly significant population of Vietnamese. This city is thoroughly mad. Every second building seems to be a museum, even if it’s actually just a shop, and every first seems to be a bar, where 30 CZK gets you a pint of local or further afield, and the nights seem like a swirling chaos of wine which is cheaper than water, the clinking of glass and yelling out the Czech word for train station. This city is thoroughly mad. And I love it.

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