My first impressions of Prague weren't too positive. The airport was nice. More modern than I expected. The drive into the city reminded me of its Russian past. Depressing concrete apartment buildings that felt dingy and looked dirty. The colour of the concrete and stone facades have a tone of dirty dirt/grey that could make you feel depressed if you looked at it long enough.
I immediately thought, wow, this is going to be a long week. Once we got close to the Prague Castle vicinity, the buildings were markedly nicer, with architectural significance, like what you see on travel advertisements. Once I got to my apartment, I felt better. The last time I felt this way was in Stockholm. Beautiful city but just didn't resonate with me. And now Prague, even less so. Enough that I am willing to give Stockholm another go.
It is definitely a con being in a new place for the entire length of time when you are not particularly moved by the location. I honestly didn't expect this. Every picture I've seen of Prague looked so beautiful. And after having such a great conversation with my seatmate last summer, I was convinced this was going to be a super city to spend time in.
Each day I tried to dig a little deeper and look for the gems but the thought that kept coming back was "I want to go home". I even went as far as looking into flights home on the 3rd day. D was pretty concerned as I didn't sound like myself.
Even though there are varied architectural styles evident, most buildings outside of the core did not feel like they were well kept. A coat of paint can't hide a crumbling building. They often did not give me the sense of being really solid.
It is like buying trendy fashion that is made with lessor quality materials. At first glance it may resemble what you see in fashion magazines but look a second longer and you realize the shoddy workmanship. The energy of these buildings weren't too positive and it felt like a lot of people were suffering. I'm sensitive to these sorts of things.
I think if this was your first foray to Europe, you'd be delighted, especially if you were young, as young party people tend to have high energy and aren't too concerned about energy of places and buildings.
Didn't end up leaving early. Things did get much better.