Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral- Prague, Czech Republic

There was an excellent crispness to the air that morning, something due to both the winter season and something that was unique to Prague. The Airbnb apartment we were staying in was up high enough that when I woke up that morning I had a chance to pop open the bedroom window to peek out over the red-orange rooftops around us and just take a moment to let it sink in that we were really in Prague. Just a moment, and then I was closing the window so I wouldn’t catch a chill leaning out in just my sleep shirt and then it was a rush to get ready, prepare a quick breakfast  and call for an ride to take us to the Prague Castle complex.

Known as one of the largest ancient castles in the world, it makes sense that its also one of the most popular places in Prague to visit and as such we probably should have shown up earlier to  beat the crowds but honestly, though it was certainly the most crowded place we visited on the whole trip, it wasn’t too bad and we really enjoyed our time here. Though by this point in the trip I’d been to more than a few castles, palaces and grand estates, visiting this castle was definitely a highlight of the trip, both for its unique structure and the many many interesting buildings open to visit inside.

You could probably spend the whole day visiting inside the complex, especially with the Christmas market they set up inside the courtyard by the Golden Lane where you can grab a cup of hot cider to warm up your chilly hands (it was so so so very cold being high up on the hill, even dressed in warm layers).  We didn’t visit every single building and area but we did get the Circuit A ticket which allowed us access to most all areas so if you have the time, I would definetly recommend getting that one.

(Ticket info here )

St. Vitus Cathedral

St George’s Basilica

Old Royal Palace

Golden Lane

Rosenberg Palace

I think we probably the most time in St. Vitus Cathedral and St. George’s Basilica but thats to be expected given how my interests lean towards the gothic and divine. Everywhere else was really interesting to visit though and for the most part, much less crowded as I think the majority of people only really visit the cathedral and the Golden Lane. All in all we spent about 4 hours here before we finally decided it was probably time to exit and head on down to explore the rest of this side of the river before heading back into the old town.
~m

Old Town Square Christmas Market- Prague, Czech Republic

My time in Prague began with a 6 hour stay at the airport while I waited for Brian’s flight to get in but as there’s not anything very interesting about that (apart from a VERY large and tasty cup of coffee from Costa ) I’ll start with our visit to the old town Christmas market instead. Neither one of us had been to one before so this was a new experience for both of us and it was the perfect start to our 3 day stay in the city.

To say it was a magical experience would almost be an understatement and even now Brian still talks about visiting other Christmas markets in Europe since he enjoyed this one so much.

The Old Town Square Christmas market (Staroměstské náměstí) runs from late November to early January, open from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. with the food stands open 10 a.m. – midnight. There’s plenty of other Christmas markets around town but since we were staying at an Airbnb just a few blocks away from the old town we figured we would see this one first. Though there’s plenty to buy here, from delicate glass ornaments to puppets and embroidered lace we mainly focused on the food stalls while we took in the lovely experience of being surrounded by the gorgeous old town buildings and twinkling lights everywhere.

We grabbed cups of hot cider and mulled wine, tried a taste of almost everything the stalls had to offer and managed to snag one of the coveted standing tables posted around to pause for a moment and eat. Be prepared for random strangers to come by to share the table with you as there are many more stalls selling food than there are available places to enjoy said food, but everyone keeps it friendly so its just an added part of the experience. After we’d had our fill of snacks and treats (roasted chestnuts!) we wandered down the streets and headed towards the Vltava river. We stopped by Mánes Bridge first, looking out towards Prague Castle before heading to the famous Charles Bridge.

The beautiful stone gothic bridge has been on my list of most highly anticipated places to visit since I first began dreaming of visiting Europe and though it was certainly crowded, it was a highlight of the visit for us. We couldn’t stay too long as it started sprinkling rain and neither one of us had brought umbrellas but as we had an early start planned for the next day we didn’t mind heading back to our apartment, crossing back through the Christmas market one more time.

Altogether, a pretty perfect December night in Prague.

~m

Here We Go! (Sintra, Lisbon, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, London )- EuroTrip 2018/2019

Castle of the Moors, Sintra Portugal

It started simply enough, with the idea of visiting my friend Julia again in Germany and maybe also going to Prague finally, as it’s one of the European cities i’ve always dreamed of visiting but I hadn’t been to yet. Of course, it’s me, and if you read the title of this post you can see it didn’t turn out quite like that.

After coming back from our 5 day trip to Seattle/Vancouver last July a flight alert came through for a pretty cheap flight to London and after a quick discussion with the bf, we snapped up some tickets. Now, I get a few more vacation days a year than he does so we decided, hey how about I go ahead without him for a week or so and then we meet up in Prague? I’d traveled by myself in Europe before and while it hadn’t been exactly smooth sailing, I’d rather travel than not travel so, why not.

(Btw, just a heads up but this isn’t the whole post for this trip, if you’re not a regular follower of this blog then you may not be familiar with my other “Here We Go” posts so lemme link them here for you:

Here We Go- EuroTrip 2017
Here We Go- EuroTrip 2018 )

The Initiation inverted tower at Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra Portugal

Queluz National Palace, Queluz Portugal

Interior of the Palace of Mafra, Mafra Portugal

Inside part of the National Azulejo Museum, Lisbon Portugal

I’d seen a number of blogposts and instagram photos of the beautiful palaces and castles of Sintra and this combined with how affordable Lisbon seemed inspired me to choose it as my first destination. I left on Thanksgiving and though that was slightly depressing, being up in the air traveling by myself on a day usually spent with loved ones, it did give me two extra days I didn’t have to use PTO and considering my stomach gets severely messed up on long flights, i’d rather not be regurgitating turkey for the next few days all over Portugal.

Though i’ll write about it more in depth later on, I do want to say that in Sintra I met so many amazingly kind and interesting people who made my stay there seem all the more magical. And once my 3 days there were up, I moved to a central hotel in Lisbon for the rest of the stay and was just incredibly enchanted by how amazing this city is and just how much history is saturated in every city block, how every viewpoint is just breathtaking. If I had to pick a country that I just know I have to come back to, while Italy used to be the #1 spot, I think Portugal has taken it now (which is so unfortunate because I’ve spent the last year and 1/2 studying Italian and known exactly 3 words in Portuguese)

Praça do Comércio, Lisbon Portugal

View over the Alfama Neighborhood in Lisbon Portugal

Old town in Prague Czech Republic

Eating a trdelník in Prague Czech Republic

After the many, many (many) adventures I had in Portugal, I ended up missing my flight to Munich where I was meant to meet up with my aforementioned friend Julia because sometimes I have the best luck in the world and sometimes life just kicks you in the teeth a little bit. But, I did eventually make it to Prague though, and while the adventure I had in the airport there is something else to write about, at least in the end I met up with the bf, both of us very ecstatically happy to see each other after 10 days apart and ready to begin our travels together from Prague to Budapest to Vienna and finally London.

St Vitus Cathedral, Prague Czech Republic

View over Prague from the Prague Castle

How to survive the long train ride from Prague to Budapest

Interior of the Szechenyi bathhouse in Budapest, Hungary

Inside a ruin pub in Budapest, Hungary

Bazylika św. Stefana and a Christmas market in Budapest, Hungary

Exterior of Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria

The mumok museum in the Museumsquartier Vienna, Austria

St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna

Buckingham Palace London, England

Super touristy but super worth it view from the London Eye

Arriving back in the US, at Newark

Allll the souvenirs

I have very literally over a thousand photos, both that I took with my camera and on my iPhone (these here are all from my phone cause i’m a lazy little blogger sometimes, don’t judge) so it’s…probably going to take me a bit to go through everything and put together comprehensive posts but, i’ll be getting on that here in the next week or so.

Till then- not drowning in my coffee cups yet,
~m