One of my favorite places in all of Prague, is Vyšehrad. Nestled up on a hill that looks over the beautiful city of Prague, it is the best place to go read, write and relax. So I did just that! I spent my birthday morning walking about and enjoying the beauty before me.
Because I have been here before, I like the fact that I can just wander and take my time. Without the pressure of time, I can enjoy the beauty before me. I also don't like taking my camera with me everywhere, so many of these shots are from my phone.
Today I also ventured back to the good ol' Jagellonska. As the former home of Jake, Devon, Donny and I, this place holds a lot of memories. Have you ever had one of those moments where you have arrived somewhere, but you have no clue how. This happened today, and unlike most times when I get anxious, this time it was great. I hadn't forgotten how to make my way back home.
The roses were in bloom, the same old people were still sitting on the benches and the punks were still at the skate park, just a bit older now. The kvetiny was still my favorite smell on the walk and mama's coffee was the same as usual (just missing Donny).
I think I even found the magazine rack that Donny borrowed!
I spent most of my afternoon at a cemetery. Sounds morbid, but you haven't seen this place. When I say it is huge, I mean...you walk for three hours and never see the same gravestone twice and you never walk the same path and you never find the end kind of huge... Olšany is another place that I wanted to see when I was here before, but never made it.
“This cemetery was founded when a plague epidemic struck Prague at the end of the 17th century. It was too dangerous to bury plague victims in the middle of the city, beside their local church, as was custom. The king ordered Prague councillors to buy a patch of land outside the city walls. So they bought this ground here in Olsany, which was at the time outside of Prague, and they started to bury plague victims out here. And as time went on and Prague grew bigger, it was no longer just plague victims who were buried out here, but normal inhabitants of the new town as well.”
Dating back to the 1600's, the 45 acre cemetery is thought to hold over 2 million bodies, it is immense. On the metro ride over I kept thinking that I would be overwhelmed by the immensity of death. A place so large must be depressing, right? Strangely, I felt the opposite. I saw old women and young grandsons laying flowers as they laughed about old stories and memories -- when they left, I took a peek. They were laying flowers on a grave of a relative who dies in 1821. One hundred and ninety-one years later, someone was still remembered, they were still cherished. It was beautiful.
Most of the gravestones were covered in vines and leaves, some having completely fallen apart or caved in. Nevertheless, it was a lot to take in. Jake, Devon and I have decided we want to be buried there.
Yesterday Irenka and I headed off to Česky Krumlov early in the morning (get up at 5:30am kind of early) for a day trip. Česky Krumlov was a place I had intended on visiting when I was here before, but time never allowed it. I am very glad = we decided to go, it was incredibly beautiful.
We started out the day with a cappuccino and muffin at a cafe on the river. (The Vltava River flows through the town in the shape of an S) From there we walked. We walked up and down the winding, cobblestone streets and peeked our heads into cute boutiques and galleries. Everything was picturesque and seemed to be out of a fairytale.
One of my favorite things when looking out over towns in Prague are the rooftops. They don't match, and it's great! They are all different sizes, textures, heights, and they are so squished together. People should start filming action movies here -- bad guys would have a hard time jumping over these rooftops.
Irenka headed back to Prague around one o'clock to take care of Stella and I stayed for the rest of the afternoon. My first stop were the Castle Gardens. After a long walk up this hill, I made it. And here I entered the enchanted forest (don't mind my dramatic wording, it really is enchanted.) The trees towered over me as I walked through the center of the forest, on a path that didn't seem to end. Well it did end...but it ended at an enchanted pond! I'm talking lilly pads and frogs and birds and a rickety row boat and no people. Dream come true.
I walked and climbed a few trees and then settled on a little dock to read and write. It was insanely quiet. Birds were my company and I felt completely isolated from the world (in a good way). The sun was shining and I was happy. I spent a few hours there and then decided to explore some more.
I made my way towards the side of the river that was not flocking with people. Down a little pathway led me out of the restaurants and cafes and into actual resident's homes. I hope they don't mind, but I borrowed one of their stone stairs to read on. I was hidden, it was nice. I finally finished my book (Slaughterhouse Five- Kurt Vonnegut).
Five o'clock rolled around too quickly and so I headed back to the bus stop. Thankfully the girl next to me was gracious enough to blast her music (some 90's pop rock) through her headphones, since I forgot mine. (sarcasm)
I lived in Prague for 5 months in 2010 and I fell in love with a city that I consider home. I'm headed back to visit a wonderful friend and walk the streets once again. One month certainly won't satisfy my desire to stay, but it will tide me over until next time.
Prague incredible, sometimes I wake up and wonder how on earth am I so lucky to be living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Life is grand.