Of Great Leaders: Wenceslas, St. Charles, Hugh Grant

I came to Prague with the highest expectations. These expectations were so impossible that any other city would have crumbled under the terrible pressure of my scathing judgement. Prague, however, not only survives intact, but thrives. I am constantly geeking out at the awesomeness of this city.

I got in today at 4:00 (yes, in the morning), and spent the first hour waiting for the metro to open. I withdrew 2000 Korun, having no idea how much that was. When I bought a pastry to break the bill so I could buy a metro ticket, the unfortunate teller at the coffee shop had to run around to other shops to get enough change for me. Apparently the rate is 25 Kor to a €, which means I paid for a €1 pastry with an €80.

After the metro opened, I did an intricate game of metro riding, like what I imagine prarie dogs to do. I would pop underground, travel a stop or two, transfer, travel another stop, pop up again to see a monument, reenter the metro, transfer, pop up, etc. This went on for an hour.

Since I didn’t know when my hostel would open, I ended up wandering around the old town and then camping out on Charles’ bridge from 7-8. I caught the Prague sunrise on the bridge. That was spectacular, until I realized I was sitting with my back to the bridge’s famous statue of St. Charles. Before I could blink, I was surrounded by a crowd of gaping Asian tourists, who photographed me as much as the statue. In retrospect I should have held out my hat and asked for money.

Now I have just returned from a happy meditation beneath the shadow of St. Wenceslas’ statue in the bustle of a Christmas market. Despite my best efforts to contemplate the city, all I could think about was the jolly ol’ Christmas carol:

To be honest, it was actually Hugh Grant’s rendition from Love Actually that played on loop in my mnd the hour I was there (in lieu of the actual clip, since I could only find a link and no embedded version, I have embedded the scene with Hugh Grant dancing):

‘It’s almost enough to make you feel patriotic.’ Yes, that scene is almost enough to make me like Hugh Grant.

So, after closing my mouth around a klobasa and mulling over some mulled wine, I at last left the comforting presence of that good king to return to my hostel. Now I am mentally preparing myself for what is said to be the best night life in Europe.

Off to find some authentic Czek food! It is hard for me to tell which are the non-touristy places, but I’m going to take a wild guess and say ‘The Original Czek Restaraunt, Lots Authentic Foods’ is not one of them.


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