Taking in Prague

            I feel like I’ve come for Christmas to the place that invented it.  The most elemental images of the season:  chestnuts roasting on an open fire, trees in city squares, trimmed with simple bows (more tree than decoration), chapels, and sleigh bells.  You, yourself, feel like you are inside of an ideal Christmas village, walking, bundled, with friends. You are spontaneously singing, laughing, and stopping, frequently, for a hot drink (did someone say gluhwein?) to warm the hands and insides.   For as hard as we try to conjure that spirit in most other parts
of the world, it is just happening here in Prague.
Angelic gift wrappers in the Swarovski store window.
            When people tell you you’re going to visit one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it’s hard to know how to think of it.  There are a lot of types of beautiful and some things in life that are said to be beautiful don’t feel that appealing because they’re not relatable.  And this is what I would say makes Prague truly beautiful.  It is almost visually perfect and yet you explore it in small, intimate vignettes.  You can’t often see very far ahead and so you simply cross a bridge and enjoy being there, not trying to get on to what you see ahead.  You round a corner, pass through a gate and then there is an exquisite church or castle and it’s all you see of Prague for that moment so you can pause and really take that in.  Prague makes you take your time and expect surprises.
            After a day of wandering and amazing, thawing and rechilling, it is so, so nice to come home to our friends’ apartment, where the Wi-Fi and the water pressure are strong.  The washing machine is efficient.  We drop off in cozy beds, surrounded by the artifacts of their family, thinking of them and imagining how it feels to be them, living in Prague.  And we wish they were here.

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