Holy smokes friends, we made it to Europe! It took a 10 hour flight from San Francisco to Amsterdam, a 3 hour layover and then a 1.5 hour flight from Amsterdam to Prague to make it to the actual start of our journey. This was Monday into Tuesday’s. Most of Europe is 9 hours ahead of the United States and our bodies were so darn confused! We arrived at our hotel and we tried to make ourselves stay up until a normal bedtime (9:00pm) which is 12 noon in the US to make our bodies adjust quickly to the time change.
We are traveling with Ryan’s mom (Karen), Paul and Brooke (Ryan’s brother and future sister in law) and family friend Phyllis. We will be joined by many more friends when we actually get on our river cruise. We are traveling with Viking River cruise from Nuremberg, Germany to Budapest, Hungary. After the cruise portion ends, Ryan, Karen and I will be traveling to Rome and Paris as well (yay!).
Like I said, our first stop was Prague, Czech Republic and wow, I am just amazed at the beauty and history of this country. There are building built in 920 a.d next to buildings that were made in the 1990’s. They still have hundreds of old buildings that survived both World Wars(somehow!) and we found out that Prague was only bombed once and it was by mistake from US pilots. There are also so many statues all around the city and so many old churches, I couldn’t stop gazing in awe of these amazing places!
Our first day of sight seeing was a roaring success. Ryan and I set off alone in the morning (after having coffee of course!) and headed towards the Charles Bridge…a famous walking bridge in the city. I had read about the towers on either side of the bridge and that you can pay a small fee to climb to the top.. so we did. The views were worth the many steps!
We got a bird’s eye view of the river and surrounding city areas… it was gorgeous! We then set up a giant hill to find Prague Castle– a sight to behold! We couldn’t figure out how to buy tickets but we were invited to join a free city tour from a man named Scott. We learned a little about the castle and wandered around for a good while. We learned half the castle was built a long time ago and the other half was finished in the 1920’s. There is also an indoor jousting arena in the palace that surrounds the Prague Castle.. how cool is that?! Another interesting fact we learned from our super cool guide, Scott, was that several times throughout Czech history there was an event that happened… czech’s throwing people out of windows… they did this so often that they had to make up a word for it, and that word is defenestration. Here is the castle:
The second day we were in Prague, we decided to take another tour from Scott, but not before we caught a glimpse of the Astronomical Clock in the Old Town Square(which was under construction, but still worth it!).
With Scott, we wondered around the “new” parts of Prague (built anywhere from the 1400’s to the 1800’s). We saw an interesting building towards the end of our tour called the dancing house. It was finished in 1998 and the solid, stone part represents the unchanging communism and the glass part represents the rigid but flowing capitalism.
After the tour, we set our sights on finding a cafe that was a recommendation from a friend. It’s called Cafe Savoy and let me tell you, they had the best mocha I have ever tasted! Cafe Savoy had everything you would think of when you think about an old European cafe… strong marble table tops, extravagant building details, fashionable waiters and waitresses and food and coffee to die for!
We ended our time of wandering in Prague by indulging in the local cuisine.. TRDELNIK! Cinnamon sugar dough cooked with a hollow inside and filled with chocolate, caramel, or ice cream. Ryan and I enjoyed this treat immensely!
The very last thing we did in Prague was travel to a tiny village to experience the Czech history. We dined in what used to be a barn and were serenaded by old men playing old instruments. We watched people dance like they would “back in the day”. It was quite the experience and so ended our time in Prague.