As I am staying in Prague, Czech Republic. I feel it is only fitting that I do a blog about Prague and what is happening at ground zero on the streets. I have gone far and wide around the city. Observing the every day happenings of citizens here and what I have noticed is a deep sentiment for the ‘foreigner’ that has very much a lot to do with the anti-immigration stance of her president. But also because of the huge number of tourists that have turn parts of the city into a tacky plastic version of her former self.
Sure, the Charles Bridge is an amazing architectural example of engineering at its finest. The sad thing is. The throngs of people that have desecrated this to nothing more than a tourist trap. The get quick rich scheme of selling trinkets and wares only adds to the disappointment I felt towards this site. My opinion. Go there very early in the morning. Before people have the opportunity to line its beautiful historic features.
Prague Castle is just another example in a long list of tourist exploitation that has lead to the growing sentiment towards foreigners that visit the city each year. From an economic stand point: the high volume of tourist numbers to the city has made Prague one of the wealthiest cities in Europe. For this wealth to continue there has to be the kind of numbers frequenting her. I understand that tourists travel to a city to admire the unique sites that perhaps they do not get the opportunity to see, besides watching it on a television screen. I have said this in previous postings. The real power of a country is in the people on the streets. How many more years will the citizens of Prague put up with foreign invaders ling their streets and stealing the uniqueness of their grand city?
The impact of too much tourism has left a lot of residents (my observations at ground level), yelling abuse, honking their car horns and showing a clear lack of compassion. But to fair to the citizens of this awesome city. Who can blame them. Put yourself in their shoes. If your city is constantly hounded by an influx of people that take no interest in your cultural values. Why should you have to put up with ignorant people like this. Sentiment towards Americans and Brits are particularly high. But this is a no brainer really. Both are as ignorant as each other, with no clear respect for cultural values at all I know, I live in the UK).
Because of this growing resentment at street level, the hot topic in the political sphere at the moment here is immigration. The recent Aquarius refugee rescue that saw European cities close their ports, it was the Czech Prime minister Andrej Babiš that stood up and outright refused to share any of the burden that these illegal migrants cause. Because of this he has angered European bureaucrats in Brussels but pleased the citizens of his ‘own’ country. The president of the Czech Republic Minoš Zeman has also cosied up to Russia and China. Another decision that has angered fat cats in Brussels. The Czech Republic should be allowed to stand up for their rights to make their own choices. She did against the oppression of Communist rule. Now it is just different era of political upheaval. The Czech people are very resilient, as shown in the historical events that have moulded and shaped their great nation.
I feel it is a good thing that these high tourist destinations are standing up and saying “NO MORE”. For too long now the ‘Open Societies’ policies of just letting anyone go anywhere in Europe has got to come to an end. Once great cities are being reduced to no more than skeletons of their former glory. Is greed of monetary value higher than the cultural values that have shaped a country for thousands of years? Is it right for western corporations to exploit the scenic backdrops of idyllic sites? I went for a walk to one of the highest-point I would reach that day. A beautiful view of the city. But what was nestled into that scenic view? No other than a bloody Starbucks. Cashing in on the touristic sucker. I had walked all that way, only to have a western corporate logo shoved in my face per se.
So, concluding my blog post for the day. I really do hope that the resentment on the streets here actually culminates into a framework that other European cities can take note of. Before the western corporate machines bulldozes its way through every scrap of historic value these vibrant historical cities have to offer. If you live in one of these cities that re affected by such growing tourist numbers. I would really like to hear from you. To get a grasp of the heightening situation throughout Europe. Lets all hope that the Czech politicians have the tenacity of Trump and the ‘get things done’ attitude of Putin.