Czech it out

Our first long travel break snuck up on us, and now it’s already come and gone!  It was challenging to figure out where to spend six free days, but we ended up choosing Prague, Czech Republic and Vienna, Austria.  We had a great number—-ten of us, most of whom have traveled together and have gotten into the swing of things, so this trip was a breeze and so much fun.

Prague
I knew absolutely nothing about Prague before I went there.  Nada.  I wasn’t even positive which country it was in until a few days before we left.  But the group assured me it was one of the destination spots–that study abroaders from years past had emphasized that we had to go there.  So, a little skeptical, I jumped on board a bus and a plane and let myself be swept away to this mysterious yet supposedly awesome (and cheap!) city in eastern Europe.  And it didn’t take me long to realize I had made the right decision.

The first day, we mainly spent our time exploring the city and learning our way around. Prague is an amazing city and is so interesting and unique.  The architecture is completely different from anything I’ve ever seen before, and the atmosphere is just fun.  There are so many different and random things to do, that it’s easy to make everyone in a group happy.  We ended up eating dinner on a rooftop one night–which was wonderful in itself–and as we were eating, a fireworks show began outside.  Once again, we felt like we were in a movie!

Fireworks at our rooftop dinner!

Some other things we did included sightseeing, walking around some empty palace grounds on a hill overlooking the city at night (phenomenal), going back and visiting the grounds and cathedral during the day, shopping, visiting a chocolate museum, going to the Prague Zoo, and EATING.  Gosh, the food was good.  And there was so much of it!  The portion sizes were huge, and the prices were cheap.  **Sidenote: we felt stinkin rich because their currency is a lot different than ours.  1000 crowns for them equalled about $50 for us, so we were carrying around 1000czk bills in our wallets….it felt pretty awesome.**

But the most amazing thing we did in Prague was eat at TGI Fridays.  Just kidding.  Well, we did eat at TGIF, and it was SO good (we were in desperate need of an American food fix), but that was not the most amazing thing we did.  Before that, we went to an opera on its premiere night in Prague.  An opera in Prague!  What?!  And we got tickets for a steal.  It was absolutely incredible.  I was expecting to be bored and confused the entire time, but it was actually very interesting and so so beautiful.  The opera house itself was spectacular and made the whole experience that much better.  It was truly wonderful and something I’ll never forget.

The opera house in Prague

Vienna
Our travel from Prague to Vienna consisted of taking a five hour bus ride from one city to the other.  It sounds completely brutal, but to all our surprises, it was so great.  The bus had its own flight-attendant (bus-attendant..?) who served us free hot chocolate and coffee and made announcements over the mike…it felt just like a plane ride.  The seats were super comfy, and there were so few people on our bus that I was able to move to an open row and lie down to sleep for about an hour and a half.  It was the first time I’ve slept on any mode of transportation all semester.  And it was glorious.  I also got to watch Inception (in English) on my personal TV screen on the back of the seat in front of me.  Needless to say, it was a pretty good bus ride.

Vienna!

When we got to Vienna, we found our hostel and set out to explore the city….and get some food of course.  We ended up visiting a church and then walking around for a while before eating again.  Food seems to be the central focus on a lot of our trips, but it is a great great thing.

In Vienna, we also went to the music museum (so cool!) and saw a concert, which was a little bit of a letdown from what we expected it to be, but it was still really fun.  KaSarah, Nicole, and I got to go to a FOUR STORY Forever 21 too—-we were in heaven.  And I was on cloud 9 when I went in a little souvenir shop and found the perfect music box (I love music boxes and had been wanting one from Vienna) that plays “Edelweiss”– named after Austria’s national flower, sung in The Sound of Music, and the same tune as a Siggie song (shout out)=perfect.

Cathedral in Vienna

All in all, this trip was great.  Our travel group was so much fun, and I learned that going into a place with no expectations can sometimes be more enjoyable than having a huge list of things to do and places to see.  I was able to be laid-back and just take in everything as it came.  And I ended up having a wonderful time.

Next stop, Italy!!

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