July 12, 2023: I drifted to sleep last night with visions running Prague in the cool morning, before the arrival of the heat and tourist crowds. I’d have the Charles Bridge and its views of St. Vitus Cathedral all to myself. Bliss!
Sadly, the early start I’d envisioned did not happen; jet lag got the best of us. I finally made it out the door at 11:47am, sharp. It was 90F, and tourists clogged the bridge like cholesterol in the arteries. Dodging and weaving, I stutter-stepped my way through.
My path took me over and then along the Vltava River. My first destination is the Lennon (not Lennin) Wall. The Czechs under communism saw John Lennon as a rebel and peacenik, a symbol of freedom. When he was assassinated in 1980, a few hardy souls graffitied this wall with his messages, to the chagrin of the state police. Each time the wall was painted over, people showed their defiance by repeatedly re-marking the wall. After the fall of communism in the 1989 Velvet Revolution, the wall remains as a reminder.
Leaving Lenon, I ran through the Kampa neighborhood and then made loops through the three channel islands. Children filled neighborhood playgrounds on each, while holiday makers enjoyed the shade and river views.
Along the way back, I found a jazz bar to return to in the evening and snapped photos of the pastel Art Nouveau architecture from the early 1900s. Turning, I spied Frank Gehry’s “Dancing House” from the 1990s, oddly at home amidst it’s century-older cousins.
I huffed through the heat, my pace a direct inverse of the temperature. But it was still fantastic; I love every day I get to run in a new city. When I grew up, I could have never imagined running for “fun”, let alone doing so behind “The Iron Curtain.”
Running Prague added a “new” city to The Run Collection. This makes 27 new cities for 2023; my goal is 52. Here’s hoping the legs hold up!