From Madrid, our large group split up into different directions, some people heading to Barcelona, others Amsterdam, and some choosing to remain in Madrid. My roommate and I hopped back onto a plane and set off for Prague in the Czech Republic.
If you’ve been curious, all of our travels we have been eschewing the typical hostel stays for some good deals on Airbnb, an online apartment/room rental you should definitely check out while traveling, especially in groups. In Prague, we stayed at a complex housing several other weekend travelers. For many, Prague is a manageable three-day visit during which most important and popular sights can be visited.
Our first day out on the town, we grabbed cappuccinos and pastries for breakfast. I’ve heard that the Czech Republic is known for its bread, and, let me tell you, it was fantastic. From there, we walked a short distance to Old Town Square, where on the hour a large clock chimes and wooden saints appear at its windows. The square is crowded, full of food vendors, relaxing locals, and street performers. While we waited for a friend, we watched an artist create massive soap bubbles and listened to a duo cover many popular, yet surprisingly old, American songs.
Then, our friend, who was studying in Prague, gave us the grand tour. We crossed the bridge, which was full of more vendors, many selling Bohemian glass jewelry, and tourists, many buying said jewelry. The river was gorgeous, with lamps beginning to cast a faint glow over the dark waters. I will say this – Prague is definitely a beautiful city at night. The old gothic architecture is lit for nightwalkers, transforming city into an image from a fairytale.
From there, we visited the Lennon Wall, a wall historically known as a place for young Czechs to voice their feelings about the Communist regime of Gustav Husak in 1988. It has been decorated with John Lennon-inspired graffiti since the 1980s, and it is continuously changing to this day. Most of the messages are about youth, love, and peace.
The next day, my roommate and I visited Prague Castle. It is the largest ancient castle in the world, and includes churches, gardens, and royal residences (Hradcany, Prague 1). You can take the funicular up, but my roommate and I just took the walk, enjoying the nighttime view. Afterwards, we bought some Hot Wine and Sweet Bread, classic treats, from a street vendor and strolled around Old Town Square. These, and the street artist putting on a fire show, kept us nice and warm in the cold air.
During our last day, we packed up our bags and stored them in lockers at the Prague Main Railway Station. We bought a return trip ticket to Kutna Hora, a small town fifty minutes away from Prague by train. There, we checked out the Sedlec Ossuary, a small chapel estimated to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people! Inside, the bones of its residents have been arranged to form garlands, chandeliers, crests, and pyramids within the chapel. According to legend, a nearly blind monk arranged the bones as such and upon completion, regained his sight. While it was creepy, the signs in the chapel reminded us that the skeletons were not a symbol of death, but rather of “the equality of people before the throne of God.”
And now, back to Roma!