Sunday, August 30, 2015

jeremy in praha!

despite my great hopes that the carefully crafted words personifying these pages will in some way connect the reader to my experiences...i couldn't possibly find the words to describe my deep love and affection for the incredibly stunning beauty and aura of prague...

 welcome to the 3rd country of my 2015 summer tour of europe;

 praha, czech republic!

a nearly panoramic view of the city from prague castle!

with my travels officially halfway through, i started a game of roulette with the cities i could possibly tour during the 14 or so days of adventure i had remaining.  the clouds and rain of switzerland had nearly driven me to a pit stop in italy, where i could have found some sun along the shores of the mediteranean...and multiple comments from friends had me to believe that prague wouldn't be too much different than vienna (my last stop). so it could be skipped if time was short...

but alas, my instincts led me to prague, and it's one of the most important and satisfying decicions concerning travel (and photography) that i've ever made...

me with my host jana (bottom left) and another traveler she was hosting yi-hsin
(bottom right). yi-hsin was hitchhiking through europe for a month,
with the help of

my host, jana, was so kind and generous in her hospitality. the love she has for her city came through in the many small, finer details she showed me during our strolls through the city streets.

among the many kind things jana offered, two stand out as truly, she made an authentic czech dish for dinner one night, of potato/bacon frittata with salad (pictured above, top right). and two, she outlined a walking tour of prague that i would come to treat as a bible. a route so incredibly perfect, that i would end up following it's nearly 10 mile course...twice

  day 1: blue line      day 2: green line     map:
i began each walk on the red star, and ended on the black pentagon.

i started my first full day (blue line) a bit behind schedule, and only made it about 75% through the total route before meeting up with jana for drinks and a few games of pool after she'd finished work! 

i was so stunned by what i'd seen of the city over the 5-6 hours spent exploring it's unique history and we made our way back home, my mind began to craft a mission...

14th century church in prague's old town. the pražský orloj
(prague astronomical clock tower) can be seen to the left.
it was a well planned early morning mission that allowed for
tourist-free photo's like this :)

i was overwhelmed by the opportunities to capture such an array of aesthetic architecture. but i felt limited in my ability to expose the true beauty of the city...with so many tourists and local residents walking here and standing there, the impact of seeing the architecture in it's complete form was hopeless...

i decided with a good nights rest, i would trek out for an early morning attack on the bricks and mortar stacked by men of history. as it often happens while traveling, the 'good nights sleep' aspect fell through, and i shut my eyes around 1:00AM, with an alarm set to go off in 3 hours...

a view of prague's old town square, chrám matky boži před týnem
(church of our lady before tyn). 
the 14th century structure highlights this frame.

view from karlův most (charles bridge). by now i was racing against 
the rising sun. and not just for tourist-free photographs,
but to also squeeze out the best lighting early mornings have to offer!

zahrady pražského (lower gardens below prague castle)

another view from karlův mos.
the sun was growing more intense as it inched up the sky.

tower of pražský orloj (the prague astronomical clock)

by 5:00AM i was in the city center, sprawled out, face down and hugging centuries old cobblestone. the previous days walk had given me a logistical map of which targets i would focus on. i expected a small window of time between the morning's best light, and when the first people would begin to make their way into the streets to start their day...

by the time i'd hit karlův most (charles bridge) around 7:00AM, i was no longer guaranteed the pleasure of a clean frame...but i was drunk with satisfaction, stupefied by aesthetic and exhausted beyond belief.  i took the metro back to jana's, napped until noon, and went back out to the city center to complete the rest of the most perfect walking tour, with happiness and leisure  :)

i honestly feel fortunate to have had the privilege to capture the city in such an intimate setting. the weather, not having been the most reliable over the last weeks, was holding strong over that early morning and through the rest of my time in prague.

if you ever have the opportunity to make a stop in prague, i highly recommend taking it.  for it's beauty and other striking assets, it's surprisingly very budget friendly when it comes to expenses.  beer is typically cheaper than water, and a full meal will run you about 100 crowns (about $4 usd today).  i was quite sad to leave the city on the train bound for my next stop, germany.  but i was also so happy to have seen and experienced all that i had in the the two full days i was here.  

during those two days, my adventure totals continued to rise. you can see the calculated totals below:

totals:     17 days     10 cities     3 countries     328,000 steps     160 miles

as my time abroad dwindles, the overall satisfaction with my tour solidifies more with every passing second.  thank you to my host jana for giving me more than i could have ever expected from praha, and thank you to the rich history and people of what i can say is truly one of my favorite cities.

the final stops on my tour are still to be determined...the game of euro city roulette carries on!  but next up...germany!

until next time, ahoj praha, guten tag berlin!

thanks for reading,

- j

********** bonus material **********

an organ player in one of the many churches sat to practice on a tuesday afternoon...

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