A word from the wise: When visiting Prague, plan your arrival for the summer or spring. Between the months of April and August—September, even—the city glitters. Prague Castle haloed in light? Otherworldly. The setting sun ricochets off the surface of the Vltava River. The youth sip Pilsners in T-shirts and shorts, wriggling their toes in fresh grass.
Prague unfurls itself onto you like a book, one you keep tucked under your arm or roll up like a straw and slip into your coat pocket. It has chapters, a segmented history that can be felt streetside where an Art Deco hotel butts up against the staid exterior of a Soviet-era apartment block. The hum of fiction’s greatest pulses though the sidewalks. When I first arrived here for a semester abroad, I read Kundera like my life depended on it, followed with Kafka as a necessary dessert.