From Prague With Love: Keepin’ it Simple

Hollywood fantasies inspire American romance, but what is the ultimate date night for Czechs?

By Claire Kraft

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Prague is often referred to as one of the most romantic cities in the world.

If there was any one person who could be said to be the icon of Americans’ idea of romance, it might be Nicholas Sparks, author of “The Notebook,” “The Last Song” and several other sentimental novels

Here is a sappy insight from “The Notebook” written in 1996: “The best love is the kind

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Walking on Charles Bridge at dawn. Photo courtesy Acasa Media.

that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.

This Hollywood image of romance goes along with the image of Americans abroad as naïve, especially when it comes to love.

Americans are known for their tendency to claim walks on the beach, bouquets of flowers and expensive candle-lit dinners as their personal definitions of romance.

So one might wager that in a country like the Czech Republic, a mecca of cynicism after centuries of invasion and exploitation by foreign powers, the idea of idealized romance might seem rather absurd.  Surprisingly, there are still lots of hopeful hearts out there in the Czech lands, albeit without the urge to splurge!

In order to find out how the young people of Prague see romance, we asked them as they roamed the streets and clubs in search of love and fulfillment:

— “I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a date! That seems pointless. Why should I bankrupt myself to impress a girl.” – Michal Ludvik, age 23, student at Czech Technical University

— “Czechs don’t reallydo the dinner date thing, eating is not really considered a socializing time. So, I do not think it matters who pays, as long as it’s a good time and ends in the right way.” – Jana Dvorsky, age 20, student at Charles University

— “Well we may not have beaches, but we have the river, and how could any ocean beat the view of Prague.” – Martin Smola, age 23, student at Czech Technical University

— “I don’t like the idea that a girl needs to be swept off her feet. That seems like a waste of time to me, I don’t need the date to be a surprise or anything, I just want to have a good time with the person I’m with, whether that’s watching a movie or going for a walk through the city.” – Tereza Jonas, age 20, student at Academy of Fine Arts

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Some Prague residents find the most romantic activity is to just enjoy the city and take in the views.

 

— “My favorite date I’ve ever been on was in winter time actually when there were not a lot of tourists in Prague. We first walked across the Charles Bridge, watched the sunset, and ate dinner at a restaurant by the river. Then we walked across the bridge again and just talked for hours. It sounds very simple, but it was amazing.”- Veronika Blazek, age 22, student at Charles University

— “I like to go on hikes with someone I like, or take her to a place that means something to me. For me a date is about getting to know the person more than anything else.” – Petr Karmazin, age 27, student at the University of Economics

— “The most romantic date I’ve been on was when we walked around Prague and went to all the really touristy places, like the clock tower, and the Lennon wall and walked across the bridge. It was a really fun afternoon and it was nice just to have that much time with her while looking at the city.” – Evan Milota, age 21, student at Czech Technical University

— “Prague is more romantic than Paris. All you need to do is walk in it, there’s no need for anything else.” – Tereza Bartik, age 23, student at Charles University

— “I think the Czech idea of romance is naturally very different from America’s. We do not think the same and we do not have very similar cultures… I do not have a best date story; they all seem very similar to me. But maybe this is because I am single now and so avoid thinking of these things.”– Tomas Nevidal, age 25, student at Academy of Fine Arts

— “Czech romance is simpler than America’s, I think. We just want to enjoy ourselves, we don’t need all these rules and ideas telling us how to do it.” – Michaela Rank, age 24, student at Charles University

Without the American drama the Czech youth display a simple idea of romance absent from Hollywood.

Claire Kraft is in the Steinhardt School of Cultural Education, and Human Development class of 2018. Her hometown is San Juan Capistrano, California.

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Categories: Culture, Europe, Spring 2016 Issue Number 2

Author:The Prague Wandering

The Prague Wandering is an NYU based study abroad webzine- the only one of its kind. It focuses on issues in contemporary Czech culture and the city of Prague, exploring beyond the study abroad bubble.

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