Out with the Old Town, in with the new. On my second full day of solo sightseeing in Prague, I head to the city's New Town. At the center is Wenceslas Square, a hub of shops, restaurants, and offices. This part of the city was formed in 1348 by King Charles IV, making it only a little newer than the Old Town, but the look and feel today is more modern. For example, take the Dancing House, a concrete, metal, and glass building designed by Frank Gehry in the '90s and nicknamed the "Fred (Astaire) and Ginger (Rogers)" due to its curving structure that mimics two dancers leaning into each other.
At the entrance of the Dancing House is Marc Moser's "Avarice," a scissor-like sculpture with legs for shears. It is part of Sculpture Line, an outdoor art series In Prague. Less than 30 minutes later, as I'm walking along the Vltava River, I spot another piece that's part of the series: a floating octopus by Viktor Palus.
Not everything works out today. I went out of my way to find a church on Apolinarska Street because my cousin Pierluigi, who I'm visiting on this solo-ish trip, said it’s beautiful inside and often overlooked. I found the church and it was closed. Many of Prague’s churches play peekaboo with tourists. The doors are open, but the gate over the vestibule is usually locked. After the closed church, I drifted farther south of the New Town, until I was walking under the Nuselsky Bridge, an imposing viaduct that carries six lanes of traffic over the city. I was lost and annoyed. I kept walking, back in the direction I'd come, until I found a quiet spot to stop: Anna's Cake and Coffee.
I ordered a latte and relaxed. You can’t expect every moment to be perfect when you travel. Truth be told, I’m probably happy 70 percent of the time and frustrated 30 percent of the time. Those percentages were more like 50-50 when I first started traveling solo more than three years ago. When things go wrong, you can always recover. Take a break. Ask for help. Follow the wrong turn and see what’s around the corner. Unexpected pleasures may await you. A plan is bound to unravel at some point. What makes the difference is how you deal with it.
The highlight of my day was in the evening, when me and my hosts—Pierluigi and his girlfriend Monika—went to the one-man show “How to Become Czech in One Hour” at the Royal Theatre founded in 1929. It was a drizzly, cool night and inside the theatre were plush red and black velvet seats, little tables with lamps, and a bar in the back. A Czech actor performed the screenplay written by a French ex-pat living in Prague and he was hilarious. You can preview the play on YouTube:
After the show, we had dinner at the restaurant Parlament, a lively spot where I enjoyed a glass of Czech Gruner Veltliner from Chateau Valtice and grilled chicken with barley and vegetables. See how things eventually work out? Despite my earlier sightseeing frustrations, my day ended with laughs and this last note in my journal: "It was another fun and memorable night."
Next on Travelerose Blog: Sightseeing in Prague's Castle Quarter.