For a full list of my travel adventures, click here.
It’s almost funny, how much I’ve been traveling recently — after all, to visit three countries in three weeks doesn’t sound like a lot, especially in Europe where countries are as close as the individual states are in the US, but to go away for six days, come back for four, away for another six, back for five, and gone for two… it’s a bit more draining than just hopping from one to another. This weekend, my roommate and I used a groupon from early in the year and spent the weekend in Prague, among Baroque buildings, statues and snowflakes.
It was (obviously) a fast trip, as we flew out late Friday night and got home late tonight. About 48 hours was a good amount of time to spend in Prague, as far as we could tell. Together we had conquered the major sights of Rome in a day, and planned to take a more leisurely pace in Prague, open to exploration, unknown wonder and a whole lot of Instagram. Nonetheless, we managed to see all the major sights in just one day, Saturday. We didn’t wake up early, caught a late breakfast at our hotel, took a tram to the city, and made our way around on foot. We saw the National Museum, and the Old Town Square. We climbed to the top of the Astronomical Clock tower, and eyed the remaining sights. We bought sweet pastries and warm drinks, and wandered through the remaining German Christmas markets and street vendors. We crossed the Charles Bridge and admired the statues, the banks of the Vltava River, and the Prague Castle perched on the far side of the river. We climbed to the castle, admiring the St. Vitus Cathedral both inside and out—as a personal geeking note, I think it’s a better representation of High Gothic architecture than even Notre Dame in Paris, making it a highlight for me. We tucked into Starbucks a few times to use wifi and warm up. We even watched a bunch of movies in our hotel, because thankfully they had HBO.
We also ate, quite a lot. Czech food is heavy, but from my first bite of goulash, I was in love. Being Croatian, I never realized how the food might be similar, but I was immediately transported back to my grandma’s house, eating gravy on mashed potatoes and pigs-in-the-blanket. I also had “Mexican” goulash, which added spice and tortilla chips… I do love me some fusion food.
The city felt like a fusion in general. There were many beautiful, classic architectural pieces, deeply religious iconography around the city, but the scars of Communism are still present in memorials and visual displays in the city. It was an interesting experience, to feel the influence of the past still so heavily while acknowledging how far the country has come.
On Sunday, we wandered around, hoping for more adventure, but found ourselves quite satisfied with the work we’d achieved the previous day. We ended up going to the mall near our hotel and shopping before watching a movie (Les Misérables). It was a relaxing day, as holidays should be even when you’re in a foreign country and sight-seeing. Unfortunately, I’d had dreams about doing homework throughout the weekend, so we passed the last of our time in the hotel lobby, considering the homework to do on the plane.
Prague was truly beautiful. When I visited Edinburgh in November, a man on the train told me that Edinburgh was counted among the top three most beautiful cities in Europe, along with Prague and Vienna. Now, I haven’t been to Vienna (and astonishingly, I know, have no current plans to), but Prague and Edinburgh were both beautiful in unique ways from what I’ve seen in other cities. I certainly appreciate what makes Prague beautiful—like London, it has the magical ability to lull you into complacency with each building’s Baroque facade, before showing another beautiful church tucked around a corner. But, I did like Edinburgh more, despite that magic. Prague was lovely to see, another place to check off the list!