Moving to Prague 3: Prague as a Metaphor

In the third entry in her relocation journal, American student Chelsea Hicks begins to peel back the city's many layers

An ex-boyfriend once told me that I was like an onion. He said this not in the sense that I smelt bad or made him cry -- although on occasion I may have.

Instead, what he meant was that I have many layers.

Calling me multifaceted would have sounded nicer, sure, but I embraced being compared to a bulb he found intriguing and have often described myself as such since. Particularly when I smell.

Anyhow, the point of this introduction is that I have begun to attach this metaphor to the city of Prague, except, for the sake of maintaining its mystique, I'm leaning on the "multifaceted diamond" metaphor.

It just sounds prettier.

During the few months I have spent in Prague, I have come to recognize the varying sections, sheets, and bits and pieces that come together to form this magical place.

On any given weekend, hordes of travelers and tourists flock to the city's promoted gems -- Prague Castle, Old Town, the Astrological Clock, Charles Bridge -- for the clichéd facet that has been attracting people to this destination for years.

This isn't to say that these sights aren't worthwhile -- believe me they are -- but guidebook aside, Prague has much more than this to share. The cliché is simply the outer shell.

From day to night, something about this place shifts suddenly and everything that was once familiar becomes uncharted territory.

Parts that were by day drab somehow grow illuminated beneath the moonlight and thus an entire new city is revealed.

This is where Prague gets its sparkle.

Layer upon layer, I've been dissecting this city, carefully uncovering its character and sometimes unexpected aspects.

Take its rejuvenated music scene for example; even this is drizzled with an odd Czech flair given the uniquely designed venues (some with cars hanging from the walls), the untraditionally still and eagerly listening audience and the surprisingly inexpensive drink.

The city also boasts an intellectual spirit and thirst for knowledge -- something I expected to be more obvious but which seems to take more time and digging to become wildly apparent.

Prague, despite all that is on display, still keeps its secrets.

There are the more evident details characterizing Prague that everyone seems to be privy to -- think rich architecture, history, coffee and beer -- but then there are also tiny surprises here and there: new wave cinema, frightfully delicious apple strudel, modern architectural pieces (David Černý everything) and a tea culture that might be stronger than even Prague's best cup o' joe.

No matter what you're looking for -- dive bars, raging clubs, expat hangouts, tourist zones or locations that thrive off locals -- Prague has it, most likely en masse.

Over time, I have explored the different edges of this city, from Žižkov to Hradčany to Jižní Město, and have found that even with my constant exploring Prague always, always, has something new or something hidden waiting for me to find.

Although part of me wishes I could say that I've conquered Prague and seen all that there is to be seen, I must admit that I thoroughly enjoy picking apart this onion of a city.

I mean diamond!

Examining every facet of this diamond of a city.

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