My adventure began at 4 AM when I went to meet my travelling companion and friend Lily in front of her dorm to take the first flight out of London. I was paranoid about oversleeping so I only slept for about two hours. When I got to Lily's dorm, she wasn't there. It was so early in the morning that people were just coming back from a night out. I frantically messaged her, then rushed off to take the bus to the airport, messaging her repetitively. I was so panicked that I even tried messaging her flat mates (whom I have never met) on Facebook in the off chance that they were at the flat/awake at 4:30 during exam term. I ended up just deciding to get on the flight to Prague, hoping she would make a later flight. When I arrived in Prague, I thankfully had a message that she would arrive in the afternoon.
I went to Prague in December, so I had already seen most of the tourist sites so I decided to wait to see what Lily wanted to see before revisiting any.
I went to more obscure sites like the adorable Gingerbread Museum.
Prague has a different vibe in the summertime. It was quite hot and more crowded this time of year. I missed the Christmas markets, but there were still a few stalls set up. Prague is such a fairy tale city!
After visiting the astronomical clock, the castle, and the cathedral, we stood along the castle's walls and watched the sun set and city lights come on.
Lily and I are both overly idealistic, slightly insane travellers. Instead of paying for both transportation and a hostel, we decided to take a night bus that left at 3:30 AM. After wandering around the city a bit, we went to the McDonald's right by the bus station, since it was the only place open. The tea that I ordered was surprisingly posh.
So, I got ready for bed and half-slept in the McDonald's until it closed and we got kicked out at 1 AM. We were greeted by pouring rain and made our way to the bus station. We sat on the benches outside because the indoor bit of the station was closed. Just as we were settling down, two Czech police came to kick us out. I tried explaining that we weren't homeless, we just had a bus in a couple of hours. They said, yes, that's fine but the station was closed from 1 AM - 3 AM. We had no where else to go, so they directed us to a 24 hour pub around the corner. We spent the next two hours sitting at a back table in a cigarette smoke filled pub where 90% of the clientele were elderly Czech men. It was definitely one of those moments when I questioned my sanity. Then, we got on the bus to Vienna and I slept for about three hours. We got ready for the day in the bathroom of a Starbucks, having fully completed a night of dodgy, questionable adventures.
After getting a combined five hours of sleep in two nights, what I remember most about Vienna was stumbling around in a sleep-deprived haze. The palaces, gardens, and opera house were lovely though.
And, guess what? There were more Roman ruins.
Then, we went to St. Stephen's Cathedral, which had some interesting white origami boxes hanging from the ceiling. Mass was going on and with the music and candles, I was half-convinced I would fall into a sleep-deprived trance. So we left and went to Naschmarkt, a lovely little traditional Austrian market which I didn't take photos of.
I spent the first weekend of December traveling on my second trip with the International Students' House. This trip was to Prague primarily to visit the Christmas markets! We left at 4:30 AM which was far too early, but we got a full afternoon of exploring on a lovely walking tour! The city was full of history, including the 600 year old Prague Astronomical Clock, which interestingly shows the moon and sun rotating around the earth.
Prague, as well as the other smaller cities we visited, is full of Christmas markets decorated with trees and lights. Some are larger than others, but all have much of the same ornaments, gifts, and holiday food.
Next we took a tour of the Budweiser company. I'm not a fan of beer, but it was interesting seeing the giant caldrons that they brew it in.
Our first night in Prague was St. Nicholas night. Some of the children dressed up like the saint, angels, and devils.
The next day we went to Hluboka castle, which was covered in fog and really magical-looking. We could only view part of the castle, but it was full of antlers, fireplaces, and decorations.
My favorite part of the trip was the visit to Czesky Krumlov, a little town near the Austrian border. We arrived just at sunset and the view from the castle of the little houses and stream was gorgeous. The picture doesn't do it justice!
It was like something out of a fairytale, the most idyllic Christmas town imaginable!
On our final day in Prague, we visited a monastery with a massive library, the castle, and a cathedral. All of which were gorgeous.
Overall, the trip was amazing and a great way to experience the traditional European Christmas!
Hi, I’m Crystal! Just like you, I love to travel. You’ll get all the best tips and insights from my experiences as a former ice-skating coach in Iceland and former study abroad student. Of the 24 countries I have visited, a type 1 diabetes diagnosis has been the strangest land yet. Type 1 has not slowed down my travels and you'll learn how to take type 1 with you on the road! You can connect with me further on Instagram @CrystalChilcott, or send me ideas of where I should travel next via email: email@example.comHappy Travels, Crystal
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