12 Things I Learned In Prague

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Prague has been on my ‘to-see’ list since I first set foot in Europe. In my mind, the city would be as romantically Eastern European as it gets; crisp beer, quaint side streets, and crimson colored roofs as far as the eye can see– and I wasn’t wrong. This past January, I was lucky enough to finally reach the capital of the Czech Republic with my best friend, a large suitcase, and the same stuffed shark (see last post…) that we’d just brought to Berlin in tow. Though many will tell you that January traveling isn’t ideal, I couldn’t disagree more. Light snow and crisp, chilly air add a dazzlingly beautiful effect to the already too-gorgeous backdrop, and the city’s many Christmas markets are still bustling with cheer. As with any travel, there are many life lessons to be learned; here are 12 that I discovered in Prague.

  1. Staying in the ‘Old Town’ sounds appealing due to its proximity to shops, restaurants, and bars– though if you plan on getting any sleep whatsoever, it’s probably best to stay a few streets over from the main area.

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    Smažený sýr

  2. Fried cheese, otherwise known as Smažený sýr, most definitely belongs on the table at every meal, no matter what time of day it is. IMG_7306IMG_7311
  3. Christmas markets never get old. Soak them in. Stop at every single one. Buy the overpriced ornament. Gawk at the farm animals. Doesn’t get more festive than that.

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    Christmas Market Friend

  4. Beer tastes better in Prague. Period.

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    ‘Samples’

  5. Entry to the Beer Museum includes four free beer samples, much larger than your average ‘sample’ size. Allot more than 25 minutes prior to closing for optimal enjoyment of your freebies– or be prepared to leave pretty tipsy.
  6. The best things in life usually lie on the other side of the river. Venture over.IMG_7395
  7. Money exchange stands advertising ‘No Commission’ absolutely charge commission. I know– rookie mistake. (I’m still pissed about this.)
  8. Explore the side streets. Get lost. Don’t stick to schedule. You never know what you might discover.

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    Explore the side streets

  9. It doesn’t matter if it’s January– you need the local trdelník dessert with ice cream. There’s officially nothing better in the world than warm, cinnamon-sugar coated dough, rolled into a cone and stuffed with soft serve ice cream. Nothing.
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    Trdelník is a must

     

  10. Any place advertising craft beer and cake together is a place that you want to be at. You might even meet a few furry dog buddies inside.IMG_7465
  11. Shaking a January chill in a café over cappuccinos and a game of chess with your best friend is the best way to warm up– both physically and emotionally. It will almost make up for the shame of missing two perfect checkmate opportunities and losing to her. Almost.

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    Our favorite spot

  12. Try all of the places you can; bars, restaurants, clubs– but don’t be afraid to go back to your favorite find for your last meal. For fried cheese, of course.

12 Things I Learned In Braunschweig, Germany

Braunschweig (Brunswick), Germany has never particularly been one of my ‘see before I die’ destinations. However, when one of your best friends is getting ready to marry her German boyfriend, you never know where the wedding will take you. As a jaded New Yorker, I honestly had pretty low expectations for this seemingly small Germany city. However, the six days I spent here were some of the best of 2017– and truthfully, the dreamiest way to step into the New Year. I was surrounded by my best friends, pleasant new acquaintances, and a magical Christmas-drenched backdrop, so that could have helped in my insanely positive outlook.

Anyways, here are 12 things I learned from my time in Braunschweig, Germany.

  1. Flying to meet your friends and roadtripping to the final destination will definitely take longer than a direct flight, but will absolutely be worth it; and if traveling with your best friends, factor in 2.5 hours longer than what Google Maps tells you for a realistic ETA. (This will account for bathroom breaks, cigarette stops, coffee runs, and all around random debauchery.)

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    A most unusual road trip companion. However, stuffed sharks make for great pillows.

  2. Have Euro coins readily available at rest stops. In Germany, one pays to pee.
  3. Those Air BnB photos? Probably a little nicer than the actual apartment. Though it might make you feel a little less bad about breaking the Nespresso machine (which of course, you’ll never admit to.)
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    At least the view was nice.

     

  4. PACK A CORKSCREW AT ALL TIMES. Alternative solution: Shove sharp objects into the cork and push it down into the bottle. (I personally don’t advocate for this, but desperate times [and even more desperate friends] call for desperate measures. Also, you must then consume the entire bottle… and it might taste a little… off.)
  5. If you’re in your mid-20s but can pass for 18-25, always ask for a Student ticket at the museum. Generally, they won’t ask for proof– and you’ll save a few Euros.IMG_7097
  6. Buy the damn souvenirs at the Christmas market, even though they seem like a waste of money at the time. Not doing so will result in extreme, painful regret. (Yes, I am currently working through this.)
  7. The words for Entrance & Exit (‘Einfahrt’ and ‘Ausfahrt’) will still be funny, even if you are past the age of 12 and claim to be a respectable adult.IMG_7101
  8. As if I didn’t already feel this way, I can officially confirm that City Hall (Rathaus) weddings are 100% the way to go.
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    The Bobeths

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  9. You never know who you’ll meet at a wedding. I’ll just leave it at that.IMG_7150 
  10. The best way to step into a New Year is sharing a hearty meal amongst old friends and new acquaintances, followed by running through an empty field, counting down the seconds until the clock strikes 12, surrounded by incessant fireworks. Yes, this really happened.

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    The three German food groups: meat, cheese, and potatoes.

  11. On that note, fireworks are legal in Germany; however, when setting them off, one should probably avoid pointing them at a nearby stable. A few horses may or may not have been traumatized, and angry farmers aren’t exactly fun to deal with when under the influence of alcohol.
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    Enter said field armed and ready; two bottles are always better than one.

     

  12. Be present. Act ridiculous. Take that late night train back to the city six hours before your flight to see the girl you met 48 hours ago for a short 90 minutes. Kiss her at midnight. Live in the moment. You won’t regret it.

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    Braunschweig, Germany.