in july of 2005, finishing up a semester of school outside of london, i was planning a backpacking trip through western europe in the way only a 19-year-old can. that is, in the same way that little kids have no fear of falling while bombing a black diamond ski slope. my itinerary was pretty damn loose — all i knew was i was meeting a boyfriend on a certain day at heathrow and that i was flying home some two months later from frankfurt. and i didn’t even own a cell phone.
in retrospect, i’m amazed my parents allowed it, though, since nothing too terrible befell me, i’m so glad they did. i really credit those couple of months going to school in england and meandering through seven or eight different countries with three pairs of socks with the development of huge amounts of my self-confidence, an impeccable sense of direction*, a worldview enlarged far beyond the scope of two towns on the shores of lake ontario (the only places i’d ever lived). plus, goat’s cheese. plus, one of my closest friends, whom i never would have met otherwise.
back to the very loose itinerary of eurotrip 2005. sitting in the quad of my school in england, classmates were talking about their weekends — in london, in paris, in prague. once you’re across the atlantic, planes and trains are cheap and plentiful, and we took full advantage. i was “saving” a lot of cities and countries for when my then-boyfriend arrived, so i spent most weekends exploring london or seaside towns like brighton, but i was taking notes on the best beaches, the best clubs, the best galleries.
a group of about twelve girls raved about prague, and i added it to the list of places i wanted to visit that summer. but the list was getting really long and i had to take the boyfriend’s wish list into consideration. i didn’t get to prague that summer — something about our eurorail pass not being eligible to travel that far east and a little bit of reluctance to change our (dwindling) euros into koruna. we went to salzburg instead. (where i dragged him onto a four-hour-long sound of music bus tour.)
i’ve travelled across the pond a few times since, and almost made it to prague in 2011, but at the last minute decided brussels was a much better place to explore as a 25-year-old female flying solo.
so, 2013 and we found ourselves with 150,000 aeroplan miles burning a hole in our pockets. we booked two flights to prague. well, since aeroplan gives you nothing but shit flight options, two flights to london, then frankfurt, then prague.
sticking to my classic approach to trip planning — plan nothing — i was huddled over a map of prague with my next door neighbour 30 minutes before the limo arrived to take us to the airport. she grew up there and i’d been meaning to ask her for tips all summer…but it’s been a pretty busy one.
hiking in petrín park and climbing to the top of the observatory tower was at the top of her list and we’re glad she recommended it. we were rewarded with a beautiful rose garden, some spectacular views, and a nearby monastery that had an amazing library and homemade beer.
i noticed beautiful doors all over prague (of course!) and later learned that “prague” means door — maybe. the internet has revealed nothing to back up this claim made by a king bro named andrew who gave us a bike tour while we were there. regardless, just the most ornate doors you could imagine everywhere, much to my delight.
i found this giant wooden sign in lentá park, leftover from a circus or carnival that had rolled through earlier in the month. pierre would not entertain my lugging it around central europe to bring home and hang over our bed, alas. so i very sadly left it there. but it would’ve looked awesome, right?
this trend would continue throughout the two weeks we were away; we did go to the most giant flea market (flohmarkt) ever in berlin, after all. more photos once my bag is fully unpacked!