*PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
7:30 AM Since it’s Monday, I’m already half awake alone in Mona’s (my girlfriend) bed. Waiting for her to walk in any second to kiss me goodbye before going to university for the day… If I’m lucky, she’ll bring me a Czech breakfast… She does, I smile then fall back asleep.
9:56 AM After waking up I instinctively reach for my backpack but realize it’s empty. As a vagabond it’s an odd feeling to have the entire contents of my backpack unpacked as I’ve been “living” in Prague for the last month. Staying with a fellow traveler, a Czech Republic native that I met in Korea a year before. A “48 hour travel buddy” that turned into something more.
10:02 AM I turn on the TV to a Czech sitcom I can’t possibly comprehend, open my laptop and start eating the now cold but hearty home cooked breakfast.
10:34 AM I text Mona to see when she’ll be done with university so I can plan my solo day around her.
11:07 AM Before arriving in Prague, I was in the heat of South East Asia for half a year. After a month in Europe, I still haven’t gotten used to the “real” winter that I suddenly got myself into. So the hot shower feels nice but not the getting out and drying part.
11:49 AM The long walk from Mona’s apartment to the metro gives a pretty good impression of Praha 4, an outer urban district of Prague, nothing like Old Town.
12:08 PM Although I’m a born and bred New Yorker, I still get a bit of (reverse) culture shock from being in a Western country, due to the last half year being spent in South East Asia and the other in East Asia. But I welcome it as it’s like a mini-adventure just by taking the metro, watching all these non-Asians going on about their business… I get off at Staromestska station.
12:37 PM As I walk up from the metro station, the icy winds from the Vltava River takes over my body, but it’s a beautiful and sunny day. As I check for any texts from friends I’m suppose to meet, I feel a tap on my shoulder from behind and it’s them – my girlfriend’s friends that are now my friends.
12:52 PM It’s extremely rare to find one of the world’s most beautiful and famous bridges, Charles Bridge, this vacant in broad daylight. So instead of having lunch on this side of Prague, we decide to walk the bridge before the tourists start flooding in.
2:13 PM I’ve done the Charles Bridge crossing all the way to Prague Castle a few times but the architectural marvellousness of every meter always keeps it just as beautiful as the last… After a few photos and gazing at the viewpoint of Prague below, we head down the other way and seek food.
4:29 PM Belly’s full but now the snow steadily falling and the sun fading, we find a cafe overlooking Vltava River and sit outside to drink Svařák (hot wine).
6:01 PM We were suppose to meet Mona at the Old Town Square at 5:45, well before the famed 600 year old Astronomical Clock (Orloj) activates, crowding hundreds to the square in a blink of an eye. So the clock is doing its thing and somehow we find her finding us.
6:34 PM With the effects of the Svařák diminishing, we head to the Christmas Market and start
bar stall hopping, sampling all sorts of traditional and standard Czech beers, wines and spirits.
8:18 PM Feeling jolly and intoxicatedly balanced, the cold barely phases us as the 5 of us walk towards a certain restaurant that supposedly serves the best ‘svíčková na smetaně’ in town… We get less than half way there and the cold finally gets to us so we wait at a tram stop, shivering and waiting for the next one.
11:27 PM We have a giant dinner at that restaurant with most of our bill being alcohol, in typical Czech fashion. I feel fat and drunk with pains in my throat and chest, not from the cold but from all the laughing – despite not knowing what half things my Czech friends were talking about in their native language.
12:05 AM As Mona and I sit frozen waiting on a bench for the bus to take us back home, I see Prague, one of the world’s most beautiful cities in a new light in this darkness. Now completely blanketed in snow with the bluish moonlight striking everywhere like a reverse sun, I think to myself how beautiful the world is.
[The featured photo was taken in front of Prague Castle. ]