Europe Arts Tour: Days 4 to 6
I. Love. Prague.
I can’t even put into words how much I love it, because wow. It’s stunning. Plus, the Czech Krona is weaker than the South African Rand (I had no idea that was even possible, but anyway) so everything there is pretty cheap, considering it’s a European country.
|View of Prague from Petrin Gardens|
My adventures in Prague officially started on Saturday morning, even though we arrived in the city on Friday evening after an extremely long two-hour flight from Paris. Dinner was Mac Donald’s from the shopping centre across the street from our hotel (it was the only thing open – I’m not usually the type of person who travels halfway across the world just to eat the same things we have at home, but a girl has got to eat, ya feel me?). So anyway, on Saturday morning I wandered downstairs sleepily into the breakfast area, and found myself in Bouwer family heaven.
A note: our family takes breakfast VERY seriously. We don’t care if we don’t eat for the rest of the day, so long as there’s a decent breakfast wherever we are. And our hotel in Prague wins the prize for best breakfasts – hands down. There was everything you could ever possibly want in a breakfast, ranging from cereals to chocolate croissants to bacon to fruit salad to homemade granola. They had SIXTEEN different types of tea to choose from. If we had stayed in Prague any longer, and not have had to endure the extreme amount of walking that we did, you probably would’ve had to roll me home.
|The Astronomical Clock|
Speaking of walking, there was a LOT of it. We took the tram into the old part of Prague, where all the real tourist attractions are – as opposed to Forever 21 and H&M in the shopping centre right by our hotel, where I’m pretty sure about 90% of our tour group would have preferred to spend the day. But despite the fact that my feet were about to fall off once we had finished the touring part of the day, Prague was enchanting, with its little cobblestone streets and century-old buildings all over the place. The Astronomical Clock and Prague Castle were definitely highlights, and we spent about an hour watching the clock just to, you know, double check that it did really work after hundreds of years and that the tour guide hadn’t been lying to us (you never know these days).
That night was spent running through the torrential rain to the Prague Opera House. The evening’s performance of ‘Swan Lake’ was somewhat dulled by the fact that we were all sitting shivering in our seats due to our soaked – and probably ruined – dresses and expensive shoes. We got several glares at our (apparently horrifying) disheveled appearances that we had spent so long on in the sanctuary of our hotel (obviously before we had known that we had to walk three or so kilometers in the rain to the Opera House). Oh well, it was an experience, even though we didn’t get to act like princesses for the night. (We must’ve resembled Cinderella BEFORE all the spell casting, rather than after she was transformed by the fairy godmother…)
The next day was probably one of my favourites over the course of the whole trip. We began with a meander through the beautiful Petrin Gardens, chatting and laughing and probably disturbing the entire city – thirty teenage girls make a LOT of noise when they aren’t gossiping. Once we’d made it down the hill on which the gardens were situated, we went on a short boat cruise and then visited yet another stunning Art Museum. Of course, what with our feet still aching from the previous day, the last fifteen minutes of the visit were spent sitting on the floor in the foyer, much to the dismay of the receptionist, and hacking into the next-door hotel’s free Wi-Fi. (Over the course of the trip, we became EXTREMELY good at hacking Wi-Fi codes.)
|Morning stroll through Petrin Gardens|
After a late lunch, we started the five-hour bus trip to Austria, where we had plenty of time to catch up on sleep, or just stare out the windows at the beautiful countryside.
Next stop: Vienna, Austria.