Great swarms of people swoop onto anything that has been vaguely labeled as a tourist landmark. The calamity of foreign languages creates a heady hum in cobblestone streets across the continent.
Even if you’ve run marathons, walking five hundred meters saps your stamina. There’s the constant threat of getting sideswiped by a stroller, struck by a wayward elbow or suffocated by a swarm of tourists unexpectedly rounding a bend. The constant stop-start flow of foot traffic burns the calves,buckles the knees and causes cheeks to flush.
Big-ticket cities are like this all year round. Even in snowstorms Piccadilly Circus is literally a circus, Paris is packed and Rome is overrun. But there seems to be a round robin of popular alternatives.
Through the magic of cheap airline tickets, reams of overt and covert advertising, these alternatives sink into the collective conscious as 'The' destination to visit that summer.
This summer it was Prague and we were in the heaving heart of it.
Like any run of the mill travellers, we were keen to capture it all on camera. Though even Olympic level gymnasts would have struggled to contort themselves to obscure strangers from the photo frames. Yet we all valiantly gave it a shot. Ducking, weaving, kneeling, lying down on cobblestones or straddling lampposts, wildly angling the camera lenses.
Random on the Right. Aidan and I posing fountain side.
We gave up. Huffing and puffing we would mutter the now commonly thrown catchphrase 'photoshop. You can definitely erase them all.'
Sounded like a great plan.Yet even if you actually blissfully swipe strangers away with the click of the mouse, you wouldn't to be able to erase the haggard drag of your shoulders and sheen of sweat across your brow. You can’t help but look absolutely spent.
Though you'll get a hundred odd people in your photos, it's worth snapping away, Prague is truly picturesque. Simply stunning. Yet, it's not the Prague I imagined at all. For lack of a better description it was all a bit too...clean.
Through a strict plan of restoration and gentrification that facades are freshly painted and flawless. The cobblestone streets smooth. Even statues appear almost ageless.
Sculpture in Prague
I expected a bohemian ragtag attitude or a poetically caviler indifference. Perhaps an accordion player sitting on a street corner. Soft cap dragged rakishly low. Gypsy music slyly slinking out of bellows. Yet it was all too shiny. Too new looking. And absolutely exhausting.