Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in the world — it’s like you stepped inside a fairytale. The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and that shows the historic component of the city more than anything else. It's a city that still has trams running in the middle of cobbled pathways and small cafes lined up on the sidewalks welcoming you to try their ice creams and other baked goods. And the beer in Prague is one of the best that you'll taste in the world. Germany may have Octoberfest but it's Prague that boasts of the best beer in Europe. Here's a city where you don't even have to speak, just place a beer mat on your table and beer is served. Prague is a city as beautiful as Paris, with a history as rich as Rome.Cheapest Month To Fly: October 2017 from MumbaiMust See: Kafka Museum, Prague Castle, Jewish Museum, St. George's Basilica and Kampa Park.Must Eat: Potato Pancakes, Pork Knuckle, Steak Tartare and Eggs; Svickova na Smetane (beef in gravy) and Kolaches.Must Do: Walk along the Charles Bridge; See the hour pass by in the Prague Astronomical Clock; See a show at the Prague National Theatre; Climb the steps to see the Prague Castle and enjoy the city view from there; Try a local beer; Dance in front of the Dancing House; Get a photo in front of the Lennon Wall.Approximate Cost for a day: Attractions – Rs. 400; Food – Rs. 1100; Inter-city travel via public transport – Rs. 250; Accommodation – Average cost for 1 night – Rs. 2000 on double occupancy.
Day 5In no mood to leave Budapest, we hopped on to the 6 hour long train to Prague witnessing some of the most picturesque landscapes, straight out of my painting book.Sun-kissed in Budapest, wearing summery shorts.Cut to reaching Prague in the evening. It's almost like it was going to snow. We were in for the coldest two days of our lives.Honestly, most of our time in Prague was spent figuring out the maze like roads, all leading to Old Town Square. The rest of the time was spent shivering, and walking on the Charles Bridge, with musicians playing the best of street music.What not to miss in Prague - Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, Frida Kahlo's Museum and the infamous Pub Crawl.Trust me, it will be the best night of your night that you will never remember.
5. For us the heart touching encounter with the Church of our Lady Victorious, which is the seat of 'Infant Jesus' was the brief meeting with the Reverend Archbishop Father Dominik Duka who was personally meeting all the people, irrespective of the religious affiliations, present at the Church for the Holy Thursday prayer.When he came to meet us, he was more than amused to know we are from India. He told us that he spent two years in Kerala and excitedly recited the few Malayalam words that he had picked up. He told us that he loved India for being a melting pot of various religions, castes, creeds and beliefs. While we were in disagreement on India's reputation as the melting pot of various beliefs, the Reverend Father quickly retorted, 'Even the people who crucified Christ didn't love Him less, they just didn't love themselves much. Once we start respecting and loving ourselves truly, we will not be disillusioned by the blindfold of wrong. So don't doubt the Power of India and it's soul. It will outshine the rest. God bless you'.When we exited the Church, we were three ladies with the brightest eyes and the widest smiles.
4. Prague is symbolised with the Lennon Wall and Lennon Wall symbolises with 'Free World'. Wherever we went, there was atleast one good Samaritan with a Free Hug Board. I was one of the takers of the Free Hug. It was just hug and a smile. The warmth of that Good Samaritan is still with me. I asked him, 'Why are you doing this?'. He smiled and said, 'If not this, then what? Just with a hug, you will remember me. I am a celebrity just by doing what needs to be done'.
3. Prague or Praha, our next destination was the epicenter of a number of civil liberty movements both in the first and the second world War. A nation with its own currency (which is just 3 times of INR ; victory dance) was expected to be quite a contrast from the Elite Vienna.But then....We were at the tube station at Prague waiting for the elevator because with the luggage that we had, it was quite a task to take the escalator and impossible to take the stairs. It's then that an elderly woman, who also was taking for the elevator, smiled at us. She asked 'Africa'. We were shocked, and quickly replied, 'No India'. Sibling and I looked at each other, 'Ghar jaake dahi lagayenge to get rid of this tan. Fucking hell'. She started communicating with us in Czech. Our first encounter with language barrier. She didn't know English, we didn't know Czech.But she was hell beant to talk. She told us in broken English that she is from Bulgaria and works as a cleaning lady at the Prague Airport. She asked us 'Where To?'. We showed the map and spotted the location. She tried to make us understand and we said 'Okay' in a matter of fact manner because we knew very well knew the route. But I guess it was our confident 'okay' which made her feel that we didn't understand. At the platform she herself went to people around to see if someone spoke English and could guide us on the route. The lady had a walking stick but that didn't deter her from going to people around, seeking help. She got us a translator who enthusiastically told us the route. We were amazed at the local hospitality. When the tube came she got on the tube with us and spotted at the digital navigation to tell us the station we have to get down. Throughout the journey she spoke about India, Indian food, especially Indian Movies, 'Anand' being her favourite.When our station came she bid us goodbye and waved the warmest flying kiss ever.
We landed in Prague on 21st March expecting a better climate than we encountered in Manchester. Although there were no British rains to deal with, the weather was pretty cold for Europe in March. On the bright side, the apartment we had booked on Airbnb turned out to be better than we expected. A lush yet inexpensive apartment five-ten minutes away from all the major landmarks in the city, at least those that we intended to cover.
Prague 3 days
Sir Toby's hostel is unarguably the pick of the lot. The rooms are rustic, clean and have a high ceiling. The bar is a great place to socialise with fellow travellers. Tea lovers will love this place for the on-the-house offering.
Hotel U dvou zlatých klíčů
19 | PRAGUE + ViennaLet’s be honest, Prague may very well be the prettiest of all European cities. In the Old Town, an enchanting maze of pedestrian alleys through historic baroque buildings unfolds on to the river and famous Charles Bridge. Across the way Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral stand proudly. Taking the train south, Vienna, in it’s proud Habsburg history, continues the beautiful scene. The sprawling pedestrian-only city center is filled with elegant plazas and classical music. Great year-round for history, culture, music and photography lovers. Consider a visit in December to experience Europe’s favorite Christmas markets.
PALAIS ART HOTEL, PRAGUEA residential building from the mid-1800s was transformed in a striking Belle Époque style in the later part of the century, which ushered in the new Renaissance in hospitality. The Palais Art Hotel, near the elite Wenceslas Square, has a historical ornamental stucco with magnificent wall paintings complimenting its Italian atmosphere; a place where you’d find the rich and elite of the city networking in the evenings. Book the historical Belle Epoque Suite (US$856 upwards per night), a masterpiece offering, with an original fresco by Ludek Marold on its ceiling and lavish furnishing. lepalaishotel.eu
From elegant architecture to aromatic cafes, from magnificent palaces to dramatic operas, the city of Vienna portrays royal connection in it's every aspect. 'Wien' as they call in German is a hometown to famous Mozart and Beethoven.Though my short stint with the city was not enough to explore the musically and artistically pleasing capital of Austria, I really wanted to make best of it to see as much as I could.In Vienna, I ditched the expensive hotel rooms and choose to stay at Airbnb home-stays. It was homely, cozy and really cheap. Located in the heart of the city here's a glance of my room.Read More
From elegant architecture to aromatic cafes, from magnificent palaces to dramatic operas, the city of Vienna portrays royal connection in it's every aspect. 'Wien' as they call in German is a hometown to famous Mozart and Beethoven.Though my short stint with the city was not enough to explore the musically and artistically pleasing capital of Austria, I really wanted to make best of it to see as much as I could.In Vienna, I ditched the expensive hotel rooms and choose to stay at Airbnb home-stays. It was homely, cozy and really cheap. Located in the heart of the city here's a glance of my room.
1. Touchdown Vienna and begins the committed platonic relationship with 'Tourist Information Desk'. Our first encounter, a redhead lady (just her hair were read, keep that urban dictionary aside, please) at the desk. While struggling to understand the streets and the sub streets and the sub sub streets, I guess the travel desk lady understood our bewilderment and said, 'It's 5.50 pm, if you can wait for anothet 10 minutes, I will drop you to your accommodation. It's opposite the street where I live'. And the first whiff of the beautiful Veinna air.But wait a minute. We didn't know that 'I will drop you' means 'I will walk you'. This city walks and walks with stride of an athlete. Not surprised by the 'thigh gap' being a commoner's commodity here. So the redhead not only helped us with carrying the luggage (3 women. Don't expect us to travel light) but helped us give an insider's overview of Vienna. We were amazed at the humility and camaraderie of this woman whose name also we didn't know. This was our introduction to the level of trust for a stranger that the Europe exhibits.2. Are you from India?- Yes!Ah! Na'A'maste!Our three days in Vienna echoed with the above. It was amusing to see how people knew about nationalities and the local pleasantries of various nations. It somehow boosts your confidence of 'being known' and automatically creates a sense of belongingness. When after 'Na'A' maste' with a few too many, I asked a gentleman that how does he have so much knowledge about different nations of the world, their demography and their local pleasantries, he said:'It's the fear of Unknown that makes us susceptible to people around. Once we read, understand others, we know that it's just the geography which aparts us. In today's time and age, it's a must to read about /to know about different cultures, practices and traditions of the various nations. It's not the treaties that maketh a better world, it's the heart'.
PRO TIPS : Austria is always cold, even in summer, so keep a jacket in handy. Also, tender exact change because you dont want to end up with a lot coins at the end of the tour. You can avail city passes for each of the place from the tourist centres. These passes cover your public transport fare and offer free admission to certain places. The card is available for 24,48 or 72 hours.VIENNA
VIENNAI started the day by visiting the Musuemquartier followed by the Naschmarkt for lunch and finally proceeded towards the famous Belvedere Palace. Palaces in Vienna shut by 5-6 in the evening so make sure, to visit them before that. The palace has its own charm with a beautiful pond and lush gardens. I pretty much had a relaxed day, however you can surely take a walk around the streets of Vienna for more exploration.
New Years Eve BratislavaNew Years Day a very hungover group of us set off on the train to Vienna, the Capital of Austria. It appeared to be a charming city steeped in history, but in our post party haze we just couldn’t do it justice. This has been added to the list for a re-visit at some point when we’re feeling a little bit fresher!The rest of the trip was spent back in Bratislava sampling traditional Slovak food such as hearty meaty soups and stews with dumplings.FebruaryFebruary was a quiet month on the travel front, except for a cheeky girls trip to London to see Eddie Izzard for a friends birthday. Other than that it was full steam ahead with the planning and preparations for our big adventure. We began to think about how we were going to get to Cambodia, and more importantly we brainstormed and made some decisions on how we were going to fund the trip and what we would do with our house. Brainstorming to Travel, and Live and Work AbroadAndy completed a 120 hours TEFL Certificate, to enable him to teach English abroad. His YouTube Channel ‘GOING NOMAD…aka pigs on bikes’ was also born (his first vlog was a review of his TEFL course), and I began to create this blog.March
My trip was coming to an end and I was headed to the last stop in my itinerary - Vienna. I took a shuttle again from CK to get to Vienna. The drive from CK to Vienna was even better than the earlier drive from Salzburg to CK. We were mostly driving through countryside roads, and I really can't describe how scenic the drive was. I don't have pictures either; but there are few things which are best left to experience.The first look of Vienna, a city, was quite underwhelming. Honestly, I saw very little of Vienna. I guess I was a bit tired physically and Vienna really paled in comparison to all the natural beauty I had seen in the past few days.The little I saw however is in the pictures below.
Vienna at Austria was the next destination country. The countries are so small and the roads are so good that by half a day one crosses countries in Europe. Austria is famous for Skiing in the winters. There are lots of Ski resorts. This is also a country where one can hire self-driven sports car such as BMW / Audi / Merc at a very good price and go on a road trips for weeks. After reading, I have added to my bucket list. At Vienna, a stroll across the wooden bridge decorated with rich colorful flowers is refreshing especially in the evenings. A photo stop at the Kings' Palace which has an all Gold balcony is a center of attraction.
It was a trip to Austria in November 2016 for four days. She took a train from Frankfurt on November 24, 2016 at 4.40 a.m., changed at Salzburg towards Vienna. As she was riding on the train from Salzburg to Vienna, she was loving the rhythm. She was loving the freedom of being between two different places. She could see the wide and open plains from the window and for that moment, she knew where she was going only to be lost in a different land. She then understood why it feels good to be lost in the right direction.Day 1 was spent exploring the streets of Vienna, different world heritage sites like the Historic Centre of Vienna and Palace & Gardens of Schonbrunn and beautifully decorated Christmas Markets. Vienna is a beautiful city but what really made her happy was watching the Penguins in the World's first zoo at the Palace and Gardens of Schonbrunn. As they took baby steps and dived into the water, she smiled bright with her twinkling eyes just like the kid who loved watching Pingu on POGO channel. That moment she realized that it is the little things in life that makes one actually happy.After a day well spent collecting beautiful memories, she went back to her hostel Ruthensteiner. Now none of her previous trips excluded crazy pub crawls or wild drunken parties but this time, to her surprise, staying at the hostel and playing some Korean drinking games was so much fun. No matter how hard she tried to understand Tap Clap Talgi Talgi, she was terrible. And as per the tradition, she had to beg for the shot with both hands!
How to Reach: We took flight from Mumbai to Vienna with one stop over at Abu Dhabi (2.30 hrs) and from there we had arranged for a pick up from the airport.
Place to Stay: We stayed at Queens Apartment, located in Schönbrunner Straße . They have private furnished apartments with fully equipped kitchen and it is walking distance from the metro station. Safe and very neat & clean area to stay.
Places to Visit for Xmas Markets: Christmas Markets are a must see in vienna Rathausplatz,Stephenplatz,Schewenplataz,Danube River Side, Bermuda Triangle, Opera House, Museumplein, Schönbrunn Palace. Both trams number 1 and 2 loop Vienna's Inner
Stadt on the city's 'Ringstrasse', a collection of 8 streets and one quay. You can jump on anywhere on the ring in any direction.The round trip takes approximately 45 minutes and passes many of Vienna's most impressive buildings including the Rathaus (city hall), the Burgtheater (National Theater) and Parliament which is the seat of two federal assemblies.
Cheap Eats: Must try flavoured Mulled Wine or Gluhwein. It is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas and Halloween. Frankfurter Würstel (vienna sausages) available in chicken, beef or pork. You can also try Bamboo Noodles or Wok Noodles and yes dont forget to drink bier when in Europe. Bermuda Triangle is the street where you will find places with different cuisines to eat and drink.
Retail Therapy: Mariahilfer Straße. Almost all major department stores can be found here selling clothes, leather goods, furniture and accessories, books and stationery. The Kärntner Strasse shopping streetand Landstraßer Hauptstraße in Vienna’s 3rd District share the capital’s second largest shopping streets.Located in Vienna’s 10th district, near the Südtiroler Platz, is the Favoritenstraße pedestrian area. Kolhmarkt located at Fifth Avenue here you will find all the luxury brand not be within the boundaries of a budget traveller.
Dresden was once called the “Florence on the Elbe” being one of Europe’s architectural and artistic highlights. However, much of it was bombed during WWII and much of the city was not much more than a rubble heap. On February 13, 1945, 800 British aircraft showered the city with 2,600 tons of bombs. The Americans followed the next morning with 300 Flying Fortress bombers. It is estimated that 25,000 people were killed, while 13 square miles of the historic city center were destroyed. With temperatures rising to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, the burning city was visible to pilots from 100 miles away. Dresden was a central hub for the Nazi’s and the city remained loyal to them, hence its destruction. Being Saturday evening, there was not much open other than restaurants and bars, but it was lovely seeing the city at this time of day. The streets were crowded with tourists and residents strolling and chatting in various languages. What struck us the most was that it was COLD. We both had liners under our coats, but we could have used gloves and scarves too. The outdoor restaurants all had their heatalators on to keep the hungry crowds warm enough to sit through a meal.
The first time I went to Bratislava, I didn’t have high expectations. After four days spent in this city - I had to admit - I was so pleasantly surprised that I couldn’t believe it! Bratislava is a gorgeous city, small and quiet but, at the same time, colorful and full of surprises. It has a very nice Old Town and a lot of historical places to visit, but also everything you need for your social activities. Well, you will see with your own eyes! :) Anyway, during your first visit to Bratislava there are 5 things to do that, in my opinion, will let your stay be more interesting.A visit to the Blue Church This teeny-tiny church is one of the most impressive things you will see in Bratislava. Officially named St. Elizabeth Church, like from a fairy tale it is completely blue: the facade, the mosaics, the majolicas, the interior, even the roof is tiled with blue-glazed ceramics. The church is an art nouveau building, built in the early 20th century, and it’s situated in a very nice area, in the eastern part of the Old Town of Bratislava. You absolutely have to visit the Blue Church, and don’t forget your camera: you will need it! :)Read More
The first time I went to Bratislava, I didn’t have high expectations. After four days spent in this city - I had to admit - I was so pleasantly surprised that I couldn’t believe it! Bratislava is a gorgeous city, small and quiet but, at the same time, colorful and full of surprises. It has a very nice Old Town and a lot of historical places to visit, but also everything you need for your social activities. Well, you will see with your own eyes! :) Anyway, during your first visit to Bratislava there are 5 things to do that, in my opinion, will let your stay be more interesting.A visit to the Blue Church This teeny-tiny church is one of the most impressive things you will see in Bratislava. Officially named St. Elizabeth Church, like from a fairy tale it is completely blue: the facade, the mosaics, the majolicas, the interior, even the roof is tiled with blue-glazed ceramics. The church is an art nouveau building, built in the early 20th century, and it’s situated in a very nice area, in the eastern part of the Old Town of Bratislava. You absolutely have to visit the Blue Church, and don’t forget your camera: you will need it! :)
Bratislava is simple old world charm. I can't stress how friendly and helpful the people are. They are simply waiting for you to ask them directions! While entering the city, the Brastislava Hrad (castle) is an imposing sight and the Old Town is enchanting. When backpacking in Europe alone, chuck other cities to definitely stop by Bratislava as it will welcome you with open arms.Getting around in BratislavaWalking around the Old Town is your best option. A good walk will get you all around the historic centre, main square and by lanes that are open for exploration. To get around the city, buses are the best bet. Tickets are available at magazine shops or most bus stops have a ticketing machine. Again, don't forget to punch in your ticket. While Slovakia uses the euro, it's much cheaper than other neighbouring countries.Accommodation in BratislavaThere are tons of good hostels near the Old Town and the Castle. A personal recommendation would be to stay in the hostels to get a feel of the pulse of the city. Other than that, Airbnbs and hotels are the usual options. Just remember that there are plenty of walks uphill and downhill so it will be easier on you if you're a bit fit.What to eat in BratislavaWhile most dishes have meat, carbs like potatoes, bread and noodles are staples. Dairy products are also very popular. When backpacking in Europe alone and you find yourself in the Slovakian capital, try the Bryndzové Halušky or potato dumplings that are similar to gnocchi served with sheep’s milk cheese. The goulash is also very popular which is a Hungarian specialty.
To start with it is nothing like Eurotrip - the movie showed it. It has a very beautiful old town area with a lot of history. It has been a city of prime importance in past. The castle gives the view of two countries!
The next day, 1st Jan, 2107, was perfect for lazing around. CK didn't seem to wake up at all from the late night binge. I went out however and got some pictures of the pristine beauty that CK is.Read More
One can get to Cesky Krumlov by taking a train from Salzburg to Ceske Budejovice and then a bus from there, but I preferred to take a shuttle. There are a number of them - CK Shuttle, Green Shuttle etc.Half an hour into the ride and I knew I had made the right decision. We were driving through scenic landscapes, and it kept getting better as we approached Cesky Krumlov.Cesky Krumlov is small, and getting around is quite easy. Wherever you are staying, you are never too far from the main square. And the main square was where all the action was - great food and wine and music. Perfect way to ring in the new year!
2 | Budapest + CESKY KRUMLOV + PragueBudapest has quickly become a favorite destination with travelers worldwide with it’s tangible culture and beautiful architecture. Take a night cruise along the Danube for amazing views of the city bathed in uplighting and be sure to visit the famous Szechenyi baths. Move on to the small UNESCO town of Cesky Krumlov, in the Czech Republic, then move on to the uber-romantic city of Prague. Walking the Charles Bridge at sunset is a memory you’ll cherish forever. Also be sure to feast on a few sugary hot donuts, called trdelniks, sold on the street.
Cesky Krumolov( UNESCO World Heritage site ) a small bohemian town embodies all the above and more, at affordable rates. It is a short 3 hour bus ride from Prague. The drive itself is intriguing, by nightfall, small villages and town emerge along the way cloaked in mist, things that we have mostly witnessed in movies. From afar they almost appear like a hamlet disguised as the town of Sleepy Hollow. There are a number of hotels and guest houses to select from, given our faith in Trip advisor; we did select a cute and cozy place to stay.
The small town of Český Krumlov dating back to the 13th Century in Southern Bohemia, Czech Republic has to be my favorite. Its towering castle perched atop the hill, overlooking the painted Renaissance and Baroque architecture clustered around the Vltava River, is its crowning glory. The castle is the second largest in the country, comprising of forty buildings and palaces built around five castle courts and a castle park, spanning an area of seven hectares. Český Krumlov’s second gem is the Church of St. Vitus (15th Century) with frescoes from the same period. A climb up the castle’s round tower for just the right picture, a candle at the church, lazing in the old town square awash with golden sunshine, and a steak by the river – it was not just another day for me.