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Posted on Nov 30, 2018 by Chung-hong Chan


Last week I was in Prague, again. I was there for vacation basically. Accurately speaking, I was there to take a rest.

This end of the year is my wife and I first year anniversary in Germany. More importantly, this December is our 10th year wedding anniversary. Because we foresaw our December will be quite busy, so we decided to move our celebration a bit earlier.

The mid-November timing was perfect because it was after the ICA deadline and my two other assignments as an organizer. In addition, I have finished a grant proposal before I left. I needed some rest.

In Prague, the majority of our time was in our hostel. We are not young anymore and 21:00 is now very late for us. We were not in our best condition and Prague was cold. Very cold. Every day during our stay in Prague, we visited only one or two destinations per day. Of course, we have gone for lunch and dinner. Prague is way cheaper than Mannheim in terms of dining. However, I think I have a maximum capacity for Czech food as an Asian. The food there was great but too savory and oily. Goulash and duck dishes were tasty. But I can never understand Czech Knödel. Sometimes I think their food would taste better if they serve with bread or even rice. Surprisingly, the Mediterranean food I have was cheap and magnificent. I tasted the best Arròs negre ever.

My wife has bought some der kleine Maulwurf and Mucha Souvenir. Call me shallow, but I think the two put Czech on the cultural map. Last time during the ICA, I have visited the historical sites of the Czech Republic. So I have only bought a book about communism this time.

Prague, compared with Mannheim, definitely has the metropolitan vibes in there. Somehow I felt that vibes quite familiar because the “city-never-sleep” nature of Prague is very similar to Hong Kong. Maybe I have been attenuated by the German way of living and I had a feeling of uneasiness when I saw opening shops and restaurants in Prague late at night. I thought of the livelihoods of the workers. Similar to Hong Kong, I saw no emotion on the workers’ faces.

I had a sense of uneasiness also when I put the plastic in a waste bin without separation. But similar to Hong Kong and Germany, people in Prague are also car crazy. Luckily, the public transport in Prague is way cheaper than Mannheim. I feel that Mannheim should make the tram almost free to nudge people not to use their cars for short trips. The better air and lesser cars on the street will pay for the price. The tram is currently under-utilized anyway.

I think the biggest lesson from this trip was, we don’t need to plan every single detail before the trip and just let us flow. My wife likes to organize things, or maybe sometimes over-organize. I, on the contrary, embrace the Orson Welles’s philosophy of “a director is someone who presides over a series of accidents”. This was the first time for my wife to experience a trip without extensive planning. It can still be enjoyable. Sometimes, randomness is perfection.

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