Oh Prague, your history speaks so loudly, even as other stories whisper down your narrow lanes. Yesterday we took a guided tour of Old Town, a part of Prague on the east side of the Vltava River that used to have a wall around it before the construction of New Town. Old and new are relative terms here – New Town construction began in the 1340s under the reign of Charles IV. As our guide took us through this part of the city we passed churches and old market squares, like the horse market, coal market and fruit market, remaining towers that were once part of the defensive wall and buildings that are so old they sit several meters below street level because they were built before material was added to bring the city up above flood levels.
It was an amazing three hours of dipping into unexpected places to see pieces of history, walking softly into stone churches tha hold a special, deep kind of silence, and peeking through the gate to see the remaining Jewish cemetery in Old Town. I shot hundreds of photos, asked dozens of questions and tried to soak it all in – yet I can’t tell you where we were or what we saw. There was simply too much. And all of it with Czech names, so it was difficult to commit to memory. With the winding nature of the streets and market squares, we’ll have to see how long it takes us to make our way back to certain places where we want to spend more time.
This type of exploration is good practice for me to be and do, and not to think. This is about taking it all in, being where I am in the moment that I am, and not worrying about what I’m missing or forgetting. This alone is part of our Big Adventure, because if I could, I’d be taking notes. But I can’t, so I’m letting it be, doing my best to be as near-sighted as I can. We’re about to head out for another walk-ing tour this morning.