“Prague is a wonderful city.”
“Prague is 1 of my most fav cities.”
“Lol omg u go to Prague rolf is 2 good”
Such are the feelings expressed on the city where I now take a breather before descending into Berlin, which will undoubtedly be a hailstorm of action, concerts, and german people thinking I am german but then shaking their heads ruefully when I open my large American mouth.
I assume these three comments re: Prague and it’s endless glory are stemming from an affinity for architecture, for sipping beers at mid-day (also after mid-day) and the loathsome act of “people watching”, which is just a socially sanctioned form of rapid-fire judgement-as-entertainment.
So if you fancy yourself a person who enjoys mighty cathedrals and labyrinthine walkways fairly full of other sweaty people, you might feel right at home in Prague. But somehow, I missed the boat and for reasons that cannot be explained here, I am trapped in a tiny communist-era apartment living with a 20 year old who has never been on her own, owns a cat, and just lets it shit wherever the hell it wants to, which is mainly in front of the kitchen sink. With every inward breath, I can feel that I am breathing in cat fumes and old garbage, and my life-force is drifting away. This dungeon reflects Prague.
I have spent most of my time in Prague 4, the aforesaid Communist “Bloc” zone full of wafting poop smells and kebab shops. There isn’t too much to see. And Prague 1 and 2, the heart of what people think of when they think of Prague is pretty cool, probably, but it’s pretty flipping jam packed with other travelers who are also getting lost in the maze-like streets. I can’t tell if it’s the grime, the evil cat I live with, or the concerts (most of which have been performed by people in scary masks, which I guess is a thing here) but Prague is definitely pretty occupied with the “Slasher Flick” vibe.
The darkness is in plain sight in Prague: Observe the hyper-abundance of “subversive” art and “edgy” clubs. Buildings with giant flies on them. Weird towers with faceless babies crawling up them. Nightmare-themed bars. Torture museums. Personally, it feels like there’s nothing left to subvert in 2017 and a lot of the vibe of Prague is kind of gimmicky, in the same way that New Orleans’ predilection for Voodoo is kind of not real; a hollow shell with no real core, and seemingly no way to access or talk about what that core might actually be. But I guess I just prefer rainbows to shades of grey.
I heard about a bar called “Vrokvna” in the heart of downtown that was supposed to be top-secret and super amazing. I read a review that said that “Face control was terrible.”. What was face control, even? I’m not sure that I wanted my face controlled.
Still, I indeed found the place centrally-located although if you weren’t looking for it (like most people weren’t), you would probably walk right by it because you’d think it was either an underground storage unit for knife-wielding hobos or maybe a construction site/cigarette butt warehouse.
But the door was ajar, and even though it was a sunny day, the interior was black and red, as if the sunny day could not cross the threshold into the place. There was a red-headed woman disinterestedly reading something behind a cage immediately inside the closet-like space, and behind her, an enormous, bald, shirtless man. He had a tattoo on his chest, but I was too afraid to look. It was probably a skull or a sickle.
I tried to ask them if there was music at the bar tonight. The guy immediately got annoyed, somehow, and said something about how this was Prague and who could say if there would be music, or when it would begin?
I tried to do my best “whoa, we’re cool, we’re all friends here”, but a tank-like man explaining that his bar does not operate within your puny confines of American predictability is a tough target for such things, and I sort of just gave up, saying maybe I’d come back later when, you know, it was dark and it wasn’t so visibly depressing inside.
But I never came back, because I have not the energy to go dungeon-crawl through yet more subterranean strong-holds of sad-on-sad coolness.
There is a lighter side to Prague, of course. It’s the lego museum, and I spent most of the day in there sighing, wishing I could just be transported away from this urban torture chamber and into Lego Middle Earth, or better yet, Lego Hoth. Yes, I would even choose Lego Hoth.