Cathedrals, castles, and more cathedrals

Accomplishment of the day: navigating successfully between two countries and not getting lost, while battling a severe chest cold and lugging my life in a backpack. I would call that a win. (Well, not the chest cold, maybe). I’m sitting comfortably in my hostel in Vienna, completely exhausted because of my shortage of white blood cells.

I spent my third and final day in Prague entirely by myself. Does it sound lonely? Maybe, but in fact it was wonderful. I think I was probably too cranky from my cold to play nice with others, and this way I got to see exactly what I wanted to. So far, the only thing that I kind of dislike about flying solo is eating alone in restaurants. For some reason, I always feel like the waiters are judging me, and I never know if it’s rude to be constantly people-watching. Other than that, it’s been amazing just having my own space and doing things on my own time.

I think I saw a grand total of three and a half cathedrals, a basilica and a castle yesterday. (Half a cathedral because I missed the opening time for Our Lady Before Tyn and had to content myself with staring through the doors).

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This one was my favourite – Saint Nicholas, I believe. I happened upon it entirely by chance, but it is one of the most beautiful cathedrals I have ever seen (and trust me, I have seen a lot of cathedrals for someone who isn’t religious).

It was raining in the morning, but luckily for me that meant that Charles Bridge was way more tourist-free and I didn’t have to elbow my way through masses of people.

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Charles Bridge was cool because it had all of these statues along the side of it. They were super intense, as always.

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I also climbed the Astronomical Clock Tower and got a beautiful view of the city. It was breathtaking. (Literally, I kept on getting elbowed by other people and getting the wind knocked out of me).

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Overall, I really liked Prague. It was full of history and it was definitely a very beautiful city. One of my favourite things was the architecture – everything was just wonderfully preserved and you could see three different eras in one street. What more could you ask for?

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Waking up in Prague

Well, I’m here! DobrĂ½ den, Prague!

I’ve been in Prague for two days now. I arrived on Thursday night, completely exhausted from my travels, and basically fell straight into bed. I’m staying in a cute little hostel called the Hostel Downtown, which is located in the middle of everything – so far I’ve been walking everywhere and it’s been great. (Well, not so great maybe…I’ll explain in a moment).

First impressions of Prague: this is a city that is bursting at the seams with history, which makes me a happy happy camper. Yesterday I did two tours, one of the city and one of Prague Castle:

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The tour of the city was free, which was great (especially I’m watching this trip drain my bank account away). I got to visit a lot of the major sights of the city, including the Astronomical Clock Tower, Old Town Square, St James Cathedral, Our Lady Before Tyn Cathedral, the Jewish area, Wenceslas Square…in all honesty I actually forget everywhere we visited, but our tour guide was really helpful in telling us about the history of the city. I’ve probably already forgotten half of it but it was a really nice way to get oriented.

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I ate lunch at Old Town Square, where I had the best – and hugest – piece of ham I have ever had in my entire life. I ate like a third of it.

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The second tour I did was of Prague Castle. I was actually expecting more out of this castle – it looks huge when you see it from the city but when you get up closer you realize that a lot of it is actually just the grounds, which includes things like a monastery and buildings for the servants.

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Saint Vitus Cathedral was also really impressive. I love cathedrals – I look up and think about how the heck people managed to figure out how to build a building tall enough for a ten story building.

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I think I would’ve gotten lost without a tour guide, though, and just wandered around in circles. A lot of the streets looked the same. My favourite part was the view of the city!

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Today I went to Karlstejn castle, which is a 40-minute train ride outside of Prague. It’s a bit of a trek to get from the train station to the castle, which is perched on top of a hill, but along the way there’s all these cute little restaurants and stores and such to keep you amused. The castle itself was pretty cool – I did a tour where I got to see some of the chapels inside. The chapel where they held the Crown Jewels was pretty impressive. Lots of pictures of old dudes on the walls, looking very dignified and staring down their noses at you.

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Sightseeing has been fun, but I’m really exhausted today. I think jet lag is catching up with me, and all day I was yawning and trying to keep my eyes open. On top of that, I woke up this morning with a cold. Possibly the best timing ever. I’m going to take some medicine tonight and pass out and pray to the god who takes care of rocking-your-travel-plans that it goes away. The other thing that’s been cramping my style a bit is my foot. I was extremely clever and slipped when getting out of the shower on Friday morning, resulting in a foot with a huge bruise on it that protests loudly when I walk. I’ve given it a stern talking-to about this getting better business, but so far it’s ignoring me. I’m doing more walking tomorrow, but at least if it’s not better by then I have Monday to recover, as I’ll be sitting on a train to Vienna.

So far so good though – I’ve only been lost once, I’ve already seen two castles and eaten the best potato pancake of my life. Nom. Can’t wait to check out more cathedrals tomorrow and get my geek on. Goodnight!