My image of Prague was instantly shattered as I crossed Charles Bridge and entered into the main city center, the broken pieces becoming a reality far more beautiful and rich than my expectations could have formed.

I was enamored by the ledges, balconies and doors on the lightly colored buildings, each one carved and molded with such detail, each so different from the next. Standing on the streets of Prague made me feel like a small girl looking up in admiration at a lineup of beautiful women adorned in pastel gowns. Their undeniable presence is beautiful and graceful, yet unapologetically strong.

I got used to the foot massage given by the cobblestone roads as I wound through town but could not help but imagine how many soles had marched over the very same roads and for what purpose.

Boots of soldiers leading communist parades, all too often. Sneakers worn by young protesters, yes. A variety of shoes when freedom arrived, absolutely. I was reminded of the reason my eagerness for travel was first ignited at age 12.

No city is the same. Prague’s buildings are beautiful like those in France, Greece and Israel, but in an entirely different way. Their window-sills have hosted onlookers of political events, their roofs protected them from the summer sun, the walls have heard the cries for justice and the shouts of victory. The buildings of Prague stand tall with their citizens, resilient and faithful.