Once again, I decided to not sleep before returning home. Having to catch a 7:30 train, and not being entirely sure which station to go to (the ticket said the main station, but when I checked the schedule online, it said a different one way in the north of Prague… it ended up being them main station) I just stayed up the night before. It worked out, because I was completely out all the way from Praha to Berlin, and most of the time from Berlin to Duisburg. Unfortunately, in Duisburg I was a bit slow getting up and off the train, and it pulled away as I was still about to get off. Shit. Luckily, the next stop in Düsseldorf was only 7 minutes away, and I had an hour to catch the next train. So I got off in Düsseldorf, bought a ticket for one stop back, and backtracked, arriving with plenty of time to get on the last train of my journey to Amsterdam.
So, looking back, here’s my impressions of the Czech… Český Krumlov is a charming little town visually, but is quite populated by tourists. The surrounding areas are beautiful and certainly worth spending some time in for the nature, especially in the autumn. Praha is also visually stunning, but even more populated with tourists. It’s actually difficult at times to tell that you’re in central Europe with all the modernism and chic commerce. I mean, I’m well adapted to being in tourist areas… I do live in Amsterdam and all… and I’d heard that recently Prague had been getting this way, but maybe I’d hoped for more. It was very difficult for me to get any sort of vibe from the city. I’m glad that I got to see other parts of the Czech through the train and bus. It had much more of the central/eastern Europe feel I was looking for. Also, while many things in the Czech are still cheap, like beer, food, accomodation, and travel, other things are on par with western Europe, like… well, pretty much any commercial “goods”. I also found the commercialization of classical music humorous. They play up the fact that Mozart spent time there as much as they can. Everywhere you go, there’s flyers and posters for some classical concert happening several times a day, which is great in the respect that it’s getting people listening to the music, and it means there’s work for the musicians. However, the music that gets played is always the same thing… Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”, Mozart’s “Magic Flute”, Pachelbel’s “Canon in D”, Verdi’s “La Traviata” etc… nothing new and inventive, mostly all baroque, and surely nothing after the classical era. Again, it’s great for the musicians that are getting work, but does nothing for the advancement of classical music. And it’s really the lack of taste of the tourists that these are the only pieces they know (Hell, most probably don’t even know them… and are lucky if they even recognize the name…), and the perception that this music is somehow inherently better when played in Prague that really amuses me. Or, maybe I’m just being an elitist. But that’s ok. I recognize and accept the fact that I’m jaded
I did have fun, though. This trip was different than my last few. I’ve been travelling alone a lot, as I was here, but this was a much more social trip. If there’s any place you won’t have to worry about about being alone even while travelling alone, it’s Prague. I came and left by myself, but any time I wanted to be connected into some sort of social scene, there was no problem at all doin so.
And here’s the portion of our program where I post more pictures that didn’t go elsewhere:
Tags: Czech Republic, Europe, photos, Pictures, Travel