After a 5 hour bus ride, we got to Prague and met Lauren at the bus station, who had just come from Rome! We had to get another Metro to a tram station that took us to our hostel- not too hard! Our hostel was in a great location- right near Charles Bridge which is pretty central. We got settled, went to dinner, then went out to meet our friends frm our program that were also in Prague for a fun night!
The next day (our only fully day in Prague) we spent touring around the city. We crossed Charles Bridge which is beautiful and headed to the Old Town Area. We stopped to eat at Friday's for some American food :) Since being in Europe, Prague was the first place we had to exchange money for a different currency! They use "korunas" there and the exchange rate is about 18 korunas for $1. It seemed like we were rich but actually it was still pretty expensive haha! In Old Town is Old Town Hall, which is this huge midieval looking building. There is also St. Nicholas Church which is small, but beautiful inside (I have been in more churches in these 3 months then I will have been my entire life haha). We climbed the clocktower which gave us a great view of the city, even though it was a pretty cloudy day. We joke about it, but we actually climb something in every city we go- it's pretty funny but there's always a clocktower, church, etc. to climb to the top of and we always do it to get a good view! Haha Also, on the clocktower is a huge sundial as well as a "clock" with 365 names on it- we learned that Czech tradition "requires" parents to name their children one of the names on the clock and then they get an unofficial birthday on their "name day." Pretty cool! Next, we walked around a market with lots of traditional Czech food and even got to try some warm wine- it tasted a little like warm apple cider with a kick. From there, we went to see the John Lennon wall which is a big graffitied wall that originally had a portrait of John Lennon painted on it. However, the original portrait has been painted over and now there's a ton of Beatles' lyrics and small paintings on it- it was pretty cool to see and we even got to sign our names! Right next to the wall, there is this small bridge with its railings filled with locks people have locked to it symbolizing their love- very cute!
After that, Lauren, Morgan and I went to find the Prague castle (called Prazsky Hrad in Czech) which overlooks the city. On the way, we stopped for cake and hot chocolate (yummy!) and then climbed the hill to the castle. It's more of an area rather then a specific castle- there's a huge, beautiful cathedral and tons of other cool buildings and palaces. Since it was getting late, we didn't go inside anywhere but just walking around was cool! The president of the Czech Republic still uses the castle! We even got to see the changing of the guards and took pictures next to the guards (who aren't allowed to smile haha!) We walked back to our hostel, then got ready for a fun night out- it was my friend Lexie's 21st birthday!
We had an early flight the next morning which brought us to Milan (cheaper fare). We were only there for a few hours and it was raining so we couldn't walk around very much. So, we just got lunch and waited at the Sforza Castle for our bus to bring us home. Since it was rainy, we just sat under cover but the castle was cool- very old and even a moat around the outside. After a long day of travel, we made it back to good ol' Paderno safely! I liked Prague a lot- it reminded me of Venice in the fairytale sense, the buildings are all so pretty and midieval, it looked like Cinderella would have taken place there! But one thing we all agreed on was that the people there were not very nice! Our waiters, taxi drivers, etc. were very cold and impatient- someone had said since Prague is very touristy, they hate tourists and it sure seemed like it!
All in all, it was a great week! SO different from our first travel week- Paris, Madrid & Barcelona- but I loved it! Really cool and interesting places that I wouldn't even imagine myself going to during my semester, but I'm so glad I did! :)