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  • Approved for CNN

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    Posted March 31, 2014 by
    lampcov
    Location
    prague, Czech Republic
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Travel photo of the day

    Prague: Old Town After Dark

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     lampcov told me, 'What struck me most about the moment was the brief solitude. In a location constantly bustling with tourists earlier in the day, followed by the shopkeepers and street performers packing up and heading home for the night I found a moment of tranquil beauty. What the city once was before Westernization and tourism took over. It was Old Prague, if only for a fleeting moment'

    This iReport has been featured as the travel photo of the day.
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    Earlier this month I had the opportunity to visit a city that has always been on my list of "must see" destinations. While living in the United Kingdom in the late 90's I was always being told things like, "If you only get one place on the continent, make it Prague.", or "If you think <insert city> was beautiful, just go Czech out Prague.

    Sadly, in my 3 years as an ex-pat American in the UK I never made it to Prague. I came close a few times, but just couldn't manage to get there.

    Fast forward 3 career changes, 2 relocations, a marriage, 2 children and 15 years.

    On what was supposed to be a business trip to London, Paris, and Budapest (another amazing city) a last minute destination change came across my desk. I was needed in Prague, and "sadly" as it was, I'd need to spend the weekend as my meeting required meeting with 2 people. One only available on Friday, the other only available on Monday.

    Armed with a small camera store in my backpack I was ready to see all that Prague had to offer. I set my alarm for early Saturday morning so I would be able to follow the sun through the picturesque city. Up at 8am sharp, jumped in the shower, a quick breakfast, and then...rain. Lots of rain. Rain the likes of which only Noah can recall. The day was not to be. Streets would remain unexplored, architecture would go unappreciated, and sights would go unseen. I was crushed. The day was spent hoping for better weather, and meticulously planning my backup plan. I was confident I could "Do Prague" in a day.

    Sunday morning came, and with it blue-grey skies, moderate temperatures for March, and the promise of a great adventure.

    I walked for hours. Down the cobblestone streets and alleyways. Into the Old Town Square. Past museums, churches, the famous Astronomical Clock, and down to the famous Stone Bridge, or as it's been known since 1870, "Charles Bridge".

    Everyone was right. The city is amazing. It's a mix of classic architecture rich with history, and more shops catering to tourists than I've seen at Downtown Disney. But somehow it's still captivating. In early March I figured it wouldn't be too busy. There wouldn't be too many tourists. I was wrong. People were everywhere, taking in everything I was. Enjoying it all. It was overwhelming. Trying to get a photo without someone jumping in was a challenge, but it kept things interesting.

    Day turned to evening and the city changed. The darkness brought with it a different feel, the dim light of signs and streetlights cast a yellow hue. As evening turned to night the crowds thinned.

    As I walked back to my hotel I passed a small one way street. A beautiful, parked, classic VW Beetle caught my eye just as it was passing from view. I immediately turned and looked up the empty street. It was what I had been looking for all day. I pulled out my camera, batteries fading, and people approaching. It was now or never.

    The result is what you see here. A beautiful classic car, in as beautiful and classic a city. It represents Prague to me, and image engrained in my mind. There are other images I captured, the same as many before me, but this image, it's mine. The car soon after drove away. The image gone for anyone else to experience. It will be mine to cherish, and to share with others to enjoy.

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