Deciding that Sunday would be the day to leave the magnificent city of Prague behind, I chose to spend my morning organising my ticket to Munich in Germany. After an early morning breakfast of herb bread and jam I headed for Nádraží Holešovice station (It easier to say when you’re drunk). I had been advised by many fellow travellers during the week that this station was quicker, friendlier and more helpful then that of the central station of Hlavní nádraží. I found this to be the case as well. I purchased my ticket to Munich within fifteen minutes and was sadly on my way to spending my last morning in Prague.
My guide book as well as a couple I had met the night before had recommended a small cafe ironically named Bohemian Bagel located just outside the Old Town Square. The cafe has cheap bagels and great coffee whilst maintaining a funky university atmosphere. After spending an hour catching up on the latest news I headed off, bound for the markets that surrounded the square. I had some serious souvenir/Christmas shopping to do! After buying a range of glass bottles, steins, Christmas baubles and various other trinkets that I would regret tomorrow when I put my backpack on, I headed back towards my favourite spot, the Charles Bridge.
I took my time admiring the bridge from the different angles, the different colours the sky turned and the various characters that enthralled it’s space. It felt touristy yet significant, a realisation that was to continue to grow throughout that night. After purchasing a little more chocolate for myself, I headed back to Miss Sophie’s for a warm shower and to pack my stuff for my departure the following day.
That night, on the advice of the same couple I spoke to the night before, I headed to the Communist Museum. This Museum is located just of the main shopping area and was well worth the visit. It went through the history of the different invaders of The Czech Republic over the previous decades, from the Germans to the Russians, it was a sobering experience. Besides the various articles (have your reading glasses ready) and propaganda, there was a particular video demonstration that made me speechless. It showed how Prague fell to communism and how they fought back to gain independence. It brought a tear to my eye, coming from Australia I have never experienced anything even remotely similar to this and I could never possibly understand what the Czech people went through. I saw footage of tanks rolling across the Charles Bridge and the violent demonstrations that took place in Wenceslas Square. For the first time I realised that these symbols aren’t just for the tourist to visit and photograph, they represented something to the people, to history and to freedom.
I spent my last few hours of the night taking photos and looking at Prague in a very different view. Yes it is a fairytale city of magical charm and character, one that I will visit again; however it might never have had it’s happy ever after if it was not for the want of freedom by it’s peoples (only 20 years ago!). This aspect was to set a new undertone to the rest of my trip, with my next city on the map being Munich I was sure I was in for a few more sobering moments.