Sunday, February 17, 2008

I'm Bored... Let's Travel!

Since I'm not creating anything very interesting except messes I can't clean up very quickly (being 1.5-handed right now) I thought I'd blog about some of my travels. I suppose I'm aware that I travel a lot, but when I ran into an old friend recently who kept going on about all the traveling I do (she gets my Christmas cards) I realized that I really do visit more countries than the average person. So perhaps you'd care to read about it? I'm gonna pick a city at a time and incorporate entries here. If you're like me - you don't want to read a 9 page long novel about all the 17 countries I've visited in one sitting...

So what's my favorite city been so far? I think Prague, Czech Republic - specifically at Christmastime. The experience would not have been the same any other time of year. I traveled throughout Europe in December of 2005. When talking about this specific trip I always remark that, given a choice, I would not have been traveling during the Christmas season. But since I had to be in Amsterdam for work... I made Prague my 4th stop. The best part of this time of year is the Christmas Markets in just about every city center. They're like our Farmer's Markets only they occur every night during the season and are not selling much fresh produce. Mostly small gifts and trinkets, hot food and warm drinks.

The night I arrived in Prague, I took this picture (stitched together poorly which is why St. Nicholas Church is sort of all over the place in the background there) and wrote the following in my travel journal:

I slowly walked the 15-20 minute walk to the city center in a bit of light snow. WHAT A SITE! My first vision of Prague’s Old Town Square was of the Old Town Hall tower and the Tyn Church spires in addition to many other beautiful, large buildings surrounding a center square filled with little booths selling toys and hot food and pastries and hot drinks. White lights and Christmas trees were mixed in, on and between every booth. Christmas music was playing on a sound system and snow was lightly falling on the entire scene. It was just beautiful. THIS is what I’d been waiting the entire trip to see!

Of all the cities I've been to in Europe, Prague was the most untouched. What I mean is, not damaged by wars or industrialization. I imagine that it looks very much the same as it did 300 years ago (with the exception of businesses like the Sephora and H&M in Wencenslas Square...). It's quaint and very charming with practically ALL the original architecture, yet still feels very modern. Plus - there was more English spoken here than in Germany! The tourists have unfortunately, discovered Prague's unbelievable charm too. I don't think I'd ever visit in the summer and even Christmastime was busier than I expected.

Here are some of my favorite pictures which all happen to be taken from the top of the Old Town Hall tower:

The Christmas Market in the Old Town Square

St. Nicholas Church on the front right but can see Prague Castle across
the river and up the hill in the back left

The Church of Our Lady Before Tyn (Tyn Church) and some of the town square shops

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