A love letter to Prague

I’ve been away. Not just away frolicking in Prague, but away from this space. I’ve actually been away from it getting on for four months and, having carved out this safe space that I loved confiding in… Well, being away from it has been daunting. More so, it’s daunting to return back, tail metaphorically between my legs, not knowing where to start or how. So I’m not doing that yet, partly because I don’t entirely know what changed. I felt distant from it all, and since then I’ve maybe started falling. Falling in a lot of respects. Falling in like, falling out of habits. Sometimes falling apart. I’ve been distracted. That’s probably the best way to put it with a neat little bow. But I want to slowly get back to this thing, whatever it is that I do here. So I wanted to talk about my time in Prague. Though as always it’ll likely be a mess of words in my head than anything informative or noteworthy. I’m not trying to be a travel writer here, so… maybe by all means stick around to hear me reflecting, but I won’t be offended if you look for tips elsewhere.

My trip to Prague was what I hope will be the start of many short breaks away with my friends from uni. I’m not sure if some of the words I’ve scrawled down before ever made it onto here, but I feel like I’ve spoken a lot about how content and just me I feel when I’m with my close group of friends from uni. So to experience our little European getaway together was grounding and cleared my vision. It reminded me of why I’m here and what I want to live for. Which sounds deep and cheesy af, but sometimes you get so stuck in the day to day and so disgruntled by it that you need a clear picture that says, ‘This! This is what you’ve been doing all this for.’ For me that’s getting back to my friends, being around the people that make me feel solid and present and spending money on adventure and all that gooey good stuff you’ll remember one day through a haze of nostalgia.

I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that Prague is likened to a real life fairytale setting and it definitely had that magic about it for me. It almost wasn’t real. It was like everyday we walked their tiled pavements, we were skipping from movie set to movie set. The streets were seamless, in perfect, brilliant uniform. It’s a city packed full of so much intricate history that four days simply wasn’t enough and I know I’m already dying to return to it.

The people were also all so kind. I always feel so clumsy, ignorant and horribly English when travelling to a non-English speaking country and I so wish our country did better at encouraging a love for languages. I suppose it’s logical to have at least one language that is somewhat universal, but the politics of it all leaves a bad taste in my mouth. That said, we were mostly greeted with such enthusiasm and warmth. And let’s just take a second to shout out to Ross, who gave us the most detailed walking tour. The love for the Czech Republic was present and he definitely had a lot to do with my falling for this city.

Honestly, we had the best time. Our Air BnB was so completely dreamy. Think white walls, industrial light fittings, loft bed and a really airy feel even though it was actually a fairly diddy flat. I’ll treasure the memories of walking the streets, feeling the sun on my skin (like actual skin, as in legs and arms out – who am I?!). But taking a few hours to absorb all that we’d done and seen each afternoon, curled up on the sofa or lazing on heavenly cushty mattresses in our Air BnB was equally as wonderful. It also gave us time to digest and share the hundreds of pictures we — but mostly I — had taken. And posing around the Pinterest-y flat, of course (see above).

As much as ticking off the sights and attractions is critical when visiting new places, it was nice to take the city in at our own speed and just enjoy each other’s company. This was as much a time to catch up and get back on track with each other as it was a holiday. Gone are the days of seeing each other every day if we really wanted. But that’s absolutely dandy (well, kind of), because nothing ever really changes. We just have lots of gossip to catch up on, namely the boring adult admin like ‘How’s your job?’, but also ‘Any new dating conquests?’.

And not to bleed a topic completely dry, but… I felt really good about myself? I’ve spent the last few summers sweating it out in winter clothes, suffering rather than braving having my wobbly arms and legs out. Recently I took a bit of a stand, helped by the fabulous #averagegirlsize hashtag that YouTuber Lucy Jane Wood started. I made my declaration on Instagram to stop hating and hiding my body. And, in preparation for what I hoped would be good weather in Prague (thank the heavens my wishes came true), I bought shorts and sleeveless tops for my getaway.

The best part?

I didn’t feel self-conscious at any point. The real winner, though, is that usually pictures are my kryptonite. Caught at a bad angle and suddenly all confidence shrivels up into a winter worshiping fiend that isn’t stepping foot in the daylight again. But I can honestly say there were maybe two or three pictures where I felt my resolve give a little. And when I said earlier that a lot of pictures were taken, I wasn’t over exaggerating. Maybe that doesn’t sound like such a big deal, but after at least a solid four or five years of working on me, I think some body acceptance might finally be starting to stick. And I’m very happy for Prague to have played a part in my falling in love. Albeit, with myself.

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