Prague, Czech Republic
I don’t know what else to call it: everything here is so Eastern European. A brief and ecstatic stopover at the grocery store revealed that the five Czech food groups are bread, meat, cream cheese, cake and pickles. I sat next to some kid on the 119 that looked like an even-more-albino-trance version of Yo-landi and my landlady answered the door in her underwear and sandals all like, “jah? what’s wrong with the internet?” There’s nothing wrong with the internet, per se, other than that it’s purple with red polka dots and it’s hard not to stare at.
“America was settled by Puritans,” Kyle reminds me over Skype. Our ancestors poured in exodus over thousands of miles of poorly charted waters, facing the ravages of disease and starvation and carving a new homeland from inhospitable wilderness, burying their children along the way. That is how badly they wanted to stay clothed in front of strangers.
I took the metro down to Staromestska and spent my first free morning discovering that depending on which part of Old Town Prague you’re looking at, you’re either on the set of Cinderella, or in World of Warcraft’s Stormwind City. It was all I could do not to stand in front of shopkeepers offering them rat pelts until they gave me a quest.
Let’s take inventory, shall we?
The Fantasy Village Checklist:
Princess in a puffy white dress twirling in a circle for no reason, check:
Wrinkly nemesis, check:
Tavern where a rogue and a paladin have probably just had a hilarious misunderstanding but it won’t matter because they’ll soon be thrown together by the wily and invisible hand of fate, check:
Gold and jewels:
What are probably grim portents written in an arcane tongue:
Come the fuck on, really?:
Haven’t stumbled across the armory yet but I PROMISE YOU THERE IS ONE. And tough luck for all you Prague-bound jock-a-trons that swore never to dip a toe in the Dungeons and Dragoverse. You’ll be standing on the bottom of a hill with a castle on it. At that point you’re basically LARPing by association.
As you can maybe kinda tell, despite having been in town for 48 hours and also alive for 30 years, I haven’t Wikipedia’d any actual history about Prague yet. Everything I know about Czech I learned from Marta of soon-to-be-married fame: the country had some rather morbid kings in the Middle Ages and it threw off the rickety yoke of Soviet rule in 1989 in a non-violent revolution. But every street corner near the King Charles Bridge is so fragrant with Medieval context that it’s easy to forget that half a millennium passed between the Plague and the Russians:
There’s more, but I don’t wanna blow my load all at once. I’m gonna be here a month, and there are only so many portcullises one blog can take.