I presently occupy a temporary space and I intend to make good of it. It is a café I walk past everyday on my route to school. It sits on Wenceslas Square, the main thoroughfare of the city. The café belongs to a coffee chain, of the likes I have given my utmost to avoid, given that I am living in one of Europe’s coffee capitals. An advertisement outside eggs passerby’s to enter and taste the best coffee “under a 14th century roof” in the upper floor. One afternoon, looking to kill time before my next appointment, I finally gave the place a shot.
Where I have set up my workspace, is perhaps best described as the best seat in the house. Gazing up at the roof detailing of flowery motifs, I cannot deny they steal the show, but looking ahead, it is the view that seals the deal. The café occupies the last house in a row of buildings, and thus possesses the only unobstructed view of Wenceslas Square. Sitting at the table positioned dead center, the square played out before me like an endless scene. City trams periodically enter stage right and left, while street performers battle for limelight, and throngs of extras crisscross in all 360 of directions. The afternoon sun stage light illuminates a set design of greening spring trees. Sipping on a perfectly warm latte, I grapple to take all of it in and cherish my time in the present.
For this view, go to Costa Coffee on Wenceslas Square. Otherwise, visit Letka Café for the ambience or Café Lounge for the service. Enjoy a $7 dinner accompanied by live piano tunes at Narodni Kavarna and grab the $5 lunch special at the Mexican Las Adelitas just around the corner from school. Treasure and spend time in the historical buildings of NYU Prague, right on old town square- a location not even local students get to study in. Watch a film at the stately Kino Lucerna or tackle issues of our day through art at DOX Museum. Travel, but also look forward to living in the city; try to stay more than visit. Look around, Prague is architecturally one of the most diverse and varied cities in Europe blessed with structures left untouched by time and war. Walk past the Gothic Charles Bridge, Cubist House of the Black Madonna and the 20th century Dancing House. Walk everywhere.
For all the beauty of Prague, I have come to realize that location is secondary. You can find cafés to spend time in, buildings to see and places to love wherever you are. What I find to be most pressing is the freedom and autonomy of my youth. It is unlikely that such a period as devoid of commitment, and abundant in time will ever present itself again. I must invest in my independence wisely for such an opportunity cannot be taken for granted. I presently occupy a temporary space and I intend to make good of it.