The Prague Cathedral at Night
In my last day in Prague (or “Praha”), in the Czech Republic, I decided to walk through the city taking one final set of pictures. Twice. Once during the day, and once during twilight. I set myself up for a grueling day of fast walking in order to succeed in making my circuit through town twice before I crashed into bed for the evening.
During the daylight, I walked down from the castle back to my hotel on the other side of town where I rested for a (very small) bit. Although the daytime walk was fantastic, it was nothing compared to my night time journey. And it’s the night journey I want to talk about at the moment.
Prague at night is truly beautiful. The lights around the city are visible from the hillsides and from the multitude of towers you can climb throughout the city. The astonishing views combined with a city that is crisscrossed with streets that only pedestrians are allowed on provides a natural laid-back ambiance that convinces your feet to slow down and drink it all in. (Especially if you like to drink beer, because there is more than enough of that in Prague to go around!) I started my evening journey by taking the tram up to the castle, where I ambled around waiting for dusk to set in. Right as twilight set in I start shooting pictures of the church as it began lighting up for the night. If you ever get the opportunity to visit Prague, be sure to visit the castle & church grounds after dark because the lighting is stupendous.
From the church, I wandered down the streets leading toward central Prague (occasionally following my instinct to turn left or right for a few random side-street detours). I took pictures of everything along my path(s), from old city cobble stones to streetlights to restaurant attendants closing down shop and talking about the day’s customers. I could feel the chaos of a busy day sliding away and the calm evening’s mellowness creep into me. I relaxed a bit more. I walked more slowly, forgetting about the pace I had set for myself in the beginning of the day. I stopped frequently to take in the lights of the city’s skyline. As the walls lit up with the street lamps and people stopped to stare out at the city, I was reminded by society as it slowed down around me that I needed to do the same. I had no idea at the time that there was another purpose for slowing my decent down the small cobblestone street.
Finally, I made my way down to one of the many bridges crossing the river (the most famous bridge in Prague is the Charles Bridge, which is filled with artists and musicians at any time of the day. But, because of the route I chose leading down from the castle, I was actually coming up to a bridge upriver to the north of the Charles. (If you do visit the Charles Bridge, I highly recommend climbing the tower on the bridge at night (for a small fee). The views of the river, the bridge and the castle are fantastic.)
Just as I stepped foot onto the bridge, starting to my right toward the fully-lit Charles Bridge not too far away, an explosion reverberated right in front of me. Now, as I said: I had fully relaxed at this point and was not at all prepared for a sonic boom to take place anywhere near me. After picking myself up from my huddled over “panicked” position, wondering what was next, I looked out over the river to see fireworks in the sky. Most of you probably had probably guessed by now it was fireworks. But your intelligence is nothing compared to my relief at the time! Had I known that fireworks were going to be set off from a boat that night, I probably would have picked that exact spot to watch them. The Prague skyline was behind them, along with the lit up glow of the infamous Charles Bridge, and the scene was wonderful. And almost no one was around! Only A few other folks had stopped in mid-stroll as well and together we waited until the 15 minute display was over before dispersing our separate ways.
Sometimes timing is beyond your control but things turn out right anyway. Listen to life when it tells you to slow down a bit. There is probably a reason just down the road.