My life is a commute. Each week I teach twenty-some-odd classes at businesses across the city. After living in Prague for 17 months my commute has become a chore. I usually feel like a hard-nosed local, reading prodigiously on the tram and leaving the scenery to the tourists. However, after a conversation with my friend Stacy I realized that compared to the bleak, repetitive and subterranean F-Train commute I left behind, even my rather drab winter travels through Prague are interesting and often beautiful.
On Monday morning I catch the yellow Metro from Českomoravská to Anděl, a buzzing hub of modern commerce, for my first two classes.
The views from the 7th floor conference rooms of ING are some of my favorites though my photography fails to show the splendor of the city stretching out along the contours of the river valley. From these rooms you can see the castle Vyšehrad in the distance, ancient battlements cutting through the forested back of Petřiny, and the spires of dozen churches rising above the city.
From Anděl I usually swing past my school and plan a couple lessons before my next class which is right in the heart of the city at Václavské náměstí.
The crowds of tourists are typical and I’m not ashamed to often join them in grabbing a quick lunch of Bavorsky Klobasa from the street vendors here.
I have class with a future tennis champion at the Český Lawn – Tennis Klub on an island in the Vlatava.
There is also a rather nice view of the castle in the distance on the other side of the bridge.
And of course, one of the locks.
Tuesday mornings I grab tram #19 through Žižkov past my old flat and the massive Olšany Cemetery where Kafka is buried.
Wednesday morning I teach at a law firm tucked into a courtyard off a high end shopping center adjacent to Václavské náměstí. Getting there from the metro means walking through the famous Powder Gate. Later in the day I take the tram down the river to a beautiful suburb on a hill overlooking the city.
It’s fun to find new paths between nearby classes which utilize the small streets and alleys that Prague is famous for. I try to skirt the main tourist zones as much as possible.
But I often catch glimpses of the famous sights, like the Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square, as I run to-and-fro.
One of my favorite things about Prague is it’s many passageways – both secret and public – through, under and around the cramp buildings of the old city. They are sometimes heavily advertised and filled with businesses while at other times you feel like you’re trespassing through someones back yard. My rule of thumb for Old Town is that quickest way between two points involves at least one trip through a pasaż.
On Thursdays I have to cross the infamous “suicide bridge” out near Vyšehrad. The bridge allows commuters to walk, drive or ride over the neighborhood of Nusle. It’s a massive construction which takes ten minutes to cross. It’s hell in the rain and snow.
The best is on Friday when I finish the day at a restaurant near Charles Bridge.
It offers some tremendous views of the Castle and Charles Bridge.
This week instead of elbowing tourists out of the way to stay on schedule I was doing it to take photographs of the scenery. Next week I’ll have to try extra hard to ignore the scenery so I can feel like a local again.