Tag Archives: Prague

It’s a European Thing

A trip around Europe is a backpacker right of passage, especially if you’re an Aussie. Staying in hostels, bumping into the same people on same route and exploring the other side of the world.

Most enter through the gateway of Amsterdam, a city whose liberal attitude may appear shocking to most, intriguing to some and even normal to others.

I remember the flatness of Holland and the smallness of Belgium where you could pass through it and be in 3 countries in one day. There is the beauty of the canals of Bruges and the discovery of Italy, where every city is different.

There is the history of Rome and Pompeii, the craziness of Venice and the little gems you find along the way, like Verona. And then there are more ruins in Athens.

It’s the Asian culture of Istanbul that leaves you wanting more and the bleakness of Eastern Europe on the cusp of Russia. Closely followed by the opulence of Vienna.

Then there is the gothic wonderland of Prague, before finishing off with party time in Berlin.

My first trip to Europe still lives brightly in my memory, even though it was taken a lifetime ago. Each country had a different culture, language and even a different currency.

No matter how many times I go to Europe, there always seems to be more to see.

I have never been to Scandinavia, Liechtenstein or Poland. I missed Ghent in Belgium and countless other places in Italy.

Like Cinque Terre, Siena and the Amalfi coast. I never got to properly taste wine in Tuscany, see the fountains at Tivoli or go to the island of Sicily.

I missed out on visiting an island in Greece, I’m sure Eastern Europe is quite different now to what it was then; and the Cesky Kromlov seems to be the place to go now instead of Prague.

I know there is more to Germany than just Berlin, like Dresden, seeing Sleeping Beauty’s castle and shopping at a Christmas market.

I can’t wait for my next magical European experience even if it is not in the near future, because a continent this diverse is definitely worth waiting for.

Related posts: It’s an English Thing, It’s a Spanish Thing, It’s a water thing, It’s a French Thing, Europe, 2006, Europe, 2003, England, 2002, Berlin, 1997, Part 2: To the East

Czech Republic, 1997

On our first day in Prague, Sarah and I walked to the Vltava River dotted with islands and onto the Charles Bridge lined with statues. We headed to Stare Mesto and found the Church of Our Lady in front of Týn overlooking the old town square.

The square was in a festive mood with a Christmas tree, manger of animals and free gluhwein. We saw the astronomical clock strike the hour as little men came out of the clock windows. I loved the gothic feel of the city and couldn’t wait to explore more.

Back at the hostel which doubled as a tavern we tried the illegal 75% proof local speciality absinthe, which is also meant to have opium in it. I had one shot and had to stumble up the stairs to my loft bedroom to pass out.

We caught the one hour train to Kutna Hora the next day to visit the Kostnice Sedlec church which has the bones of 40,000 people inside. There are skull and cross bones everywhere and a chandelier made with every bone in the body. It really spun me out!

We crossed the Charles Bridge to Mala Strana with its green, gold and white buildings. We saw the imposing St Nicholas church and walked up to Prague Castle. A band was playing in the windows of the buildings surrounding Hradcanske Square and the palace guards were very friendly- so we stayed to watch the changing of guard.

Heading further into the castle, we saw the church of St George and St Vitus Cathedral and found the short houses on the golden lane where alchemists tried to turn lead into gold.

We headed down the hill to see the John Lennon wall- most of which was falling off.

On our last day in Prague, we went to Vysehrad Fortress. Of the fortress’s three entry gates, Leopold Gate was the nicest. We saw the cute little St Martin Rotunda and went to a lookout point with a view of Prague Castle. We found a tiny stage theatre and the Church of St Peter and Paul which dominates the fortress.

My favourite part of the fortress was Libuse’s Bath which is virtually hanging off the cliff over the Vltava River. I walked into Libuse’s Bath and thought that I could easily fall into river from here.

We headed back to the old town square in Prague and enjoyed the Christmas stalls before we boarded our train to Germany.

Related posts: Austria, 1997Hungary, 1997Romania, 1997Bulgaria, 1997Turkey, 1997Greece, 1997Italy, 1997, Part 2: Bella ItaliaItaly, 1997, Part 1: From Rome to FlorenceSpain, 1997, Part 2: Beyond Barcelona,  Spain, 1997, Part 1: Barcelona,  France, 1997, Part 2: The South of France, France, 1997, Part 1: ParisBelgium, 1997Holland, 1997England, 1997I first started travellingBy special requestHome is where you make itI first started writing