I am currently in America (long story and I will do a couple of posts about my trip soon) which has put me a bit behind with this series of posts. I am however determined to finish recounting my winter adventure.
And so on a plane to Prague. I was meeting a couple of younger friends here who love in London (and they suggested we spend a weekend in Prague) but they weren’t arriving until later on the day so I was on the plane by myself to a city that I basically knew nothing about, apart from the fact that it is very beautiful, very old and has fantastic Christmas markets.
I usually do a lot of research before going somewhere, learn a bit of the language and generally try to find as much out as possible. For some reason, I didn’t do this with Prague. Maybe it’s because my friends were going to be there as well. Most unlike me to be so disorganised.
Pretty nerve-wracking getting off the plane, going through immigration and finding my way through the narrow cobbled streets to our quaint but very stylish apartment hotel. But I managed, again feeling proud of my independence. It’s amazing what you can do when you have to look after yourself! I got to spend the afternoon just walking around, googling landmarks and starting to get the feeling of this incredibly historic city and its famous bridges. Apparently Prague is often used to stand in for other European cities in movies as it has a bit of everything – including canals that look like they have been stolen from Venice. It also miraculously escaped being bombed in World War 2 so all of the ancient buildings are still intact.
My two friends checked in later that day. It was really nice to be back spending time with people I care about and who care about me. Even an introvert needs human contact and I was definitely ready to hang round with people I could just relax with.
A weekend isn’t really enough to even scratch the surface of this wonderful city but we did our best.
I booked an afternoon river cruise to catch the sunset and see the bridges and buildings that line the river. It was a very bizarre trip as pretty much everyone just stayed below deck drinking in the restaurant and bar area (where you could barely see anything). Admittedly it was very very cold on the upper deck, but that was the place to be.
Later that night we discovered a couple of very cool absinthe bars – absinthe is very big in Prague! I was too nervous to drink it in the traditional way, so sampled it in the relative safety of a cocktail.
No worry about food in Prague – well-cooked hearty meals that you would expect in such a cold climate. Every meal was a delicious variation on meat, potatoes, dumplings and cabbage. And very inexpensive which was nice after UK prices.
The Christmas market in the main town square was just perfect – lights, stalls, food, carols and a crazy tall Christmas tree that would erupt in a symphonic choral extravaganza on the hour. So much fun! I definitely have some deep genetic pull to the Northern winter and related Christmas festivities. I don’t think I have ever felt so Christmassy as I did on this trip.
Managed to randomly buy a ticket to a chamber music concert in the old Lichtenstein Palace. Oh my goodness. Just sublime and one of those spontaneous moments that make travel so special.
We visited the fairytale castle which contains a magnificent cathedral within its grounds was well worth the very long walk up. It was a stark contrast to the stained glass windows that were in damaged at Yorkminster. Here every window had been restored to its full glory – and glorious they are.
And it snowed for us – on the day we left. Ended up snowing so hard they had to de-ice the plane before we took off. Back to London to hang out with my boy and his girlfriend for a few days before we all headed back to New Zealand for a summer Christmas
Some photos of the whirlwind weekend. Ironically I didn’t have a lot of time to pick up my camera!