Sciences Po winter break: day 2
I think Prague was honestly my favorite city that I visited during my week-long backpacking trip through Europe. And that’s saying something, seeing as there was some pretty stiff competition from cities like Venice and Budapest, which were also captivating in their own right.
I think perhaps part of the reason why I remember Prague so fondly (apart from its beautiful architecture and colorful rainbow buildings) is that it was the first night I got to sleep in a real bed after two nights of sleeping on buses. We did the whole night bus gig thing on purpose in order to save time and money, but it certainly took a toll, and by the time we hit Prague, we could really feel the fatigue setting in. I think I was holding up better than most of my friends, partially because I think I was able to sleep the most comfortably on the buses on account of being the smallest, and partially because I think I’m just a generally resilient person.
We arrived too early in the morning to check in to our AirBnB, so we started the day in the train station café for about an hour before calling what was possibly the cheapest Uber I’ve ever taken in my life to get to our apartment. From there, we freshened up, enjoyed the experience of laying in a real bed, and then headed out for another long day of walking.
The one thing I was absolutely certain I wanted to see in Prague was the famous John Lennon Wall. It was on our way to the Old Town Square plaza, which was the starting place of the walking tour we booked, so it ended up being one of the first things we saw.
I guess I was spoilt on the graffiti of the West Bank Border, which is huge and sprawling and stretches all along the checkpoint between Israel and Palestine, because I wasn’t hugely impressed by the John Lennon Wall. Apart from the portrait of John Lennon at the center, there weren’t really any other major works. I did think it was cool how contemporary and diverse the issues represented in the graffiti were though — in comparison to the West Bank Border graffiti, which really only covers the injustice in Palestine, the John Lennon Wall depicted political struggles all over the world. The most recent one I remembered seeing in February was the Free Hong Kong slogan. I wonder what has been added since I was there earlier this year.
Though the landscape of Toledo, Spain perhaps gives it some competition, I think Prague’s Old Town Square and Charles Bridge that leads to it was perhaps my favorite sight of the whole trip. I wish I had photos that did it justice, but I was honestly so in awe of it that I forgot to take pictures. What I’ve included here are actually some of my friend, Ebba’s, photos.
In Old Town Square, we saw the Prague Astronomical Clock, famous for being on the list of the top 3 most disappointing tourist sites in the world. Comment down below what you think the other two on the list might be. I’ll give you a hint — I’ve seen them and have even posted about them on this blog before!
While I generally hate tours for the way that a big group of people speaking different languages following a conspicuous leader carrying an umbrella or a flag immediately gives you away as a tourist, I will say, I appreciate actually getting to learn about the various buildings I see when I travel. I think if you can stomach the mild discomfort you feel when a local glares at your group for standing around and clogging traffic, it’s worth it. I’ve done them in Jerusalem and Bordeaux. If you’re a solo traveler (which in this case, I was not) they’re particularly valuable as a way to meet people and make friends.
Our last stop after our walking tour concluded was to cross the bridge and hike our way up to St. Vitus Cathedral. Because a trip to a European city wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a church, right?
Honestly, even more spectacular than the church itself was the view from the top of the hill where the church is located. And that’s quite a statement for me to make, as the St. Vitus Cathedral is perhaps the most spectacular church I’ve ever seen, at least from the outside — and that includes the Notre Dame (though perhaps it’s unfair to judge that one, as I saw it from behind a construction fence), the Sacré Coeur, St. Peter’s in Rome, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
That evening, we tried to go out to an ice bar, where the entire room is supposed to made of ice, but the ice room ended up being closed. We instead headed to a different cocktail bar, which was motorcycle themed, though that wasn’t really any of our styles. I enjoyed my martini though.
Finally, after a long day, we headed home and slept possibly as well as I ever have in my entire life in a foreign country in a bed that’s not my own.
That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life during my semester abroad in the Paris, France. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest,Instagram, Facebook, Bloglovin, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at email@example.com!
Coat: A vintage shop in Budapest (thrifted)