Friday, October 30, 2015

Light writing 6 - Praha at its best.

Despite of having so many friends doing medicine in Praha (my husband prefer to call it Praha just like how he prefers to call Munich as Munchen. Original, katanya), I chose to go there after 5 years living in Europe. I don't know why. So I told my husband Prague and Switzerland would be the highlight of our trip last summer.  We basically went there from Berlin by train. Surprisingly the train ticket was quiet expensive, at least for us. My husband who were in charge of the transportation throughout our trip (by that I mean who was responsible to pay everything, heh) were informed that we can get cheaper tickets if we buy from the counter not online. Anddd it turned out the price was 60 euro each and if we wanted to secure a seat we have to pay another 20 euro per person. We tried to be adventurous that time and 'refused' to pay extra 20 euro. We ended up looking for unreserved seats on the train like refugees seeking for asylum. Not the best feeling, I told you. Insaf. My advice, just pay for the seat don't be cheapskates like us. I check the price online and to my surprise, the price is not that cheap either, I mean it is just cheaper buy 1-2 euro only. So, yeah. 

The train journey took for about 4 hours and 15 minutes from Berlin Hauptbahnhof to Praha Hlavni Nadrazi. Czech Republic use different currency, so as soon as we arrived at the station, we headed straight to money exchanger. My friend told me not to exchange the currency in Dublin because she said it is cheaper to do that at the train station in Prague. We just followed her advice and she was right. 

After that we went straight to our accommodation which we booked through Airbnb. It was quite cheap for its strategic location and facilities. Unfortunately, we forgot to take picture of the place. It is a big apartment with 3 large bedroom. The owner was so friendly and very helpful. I had a long conversation with him upon our arrival. He has been living his life to the fullest I must say. He traveled to so many countries and taught music to children while traveling. Whenever he goes travel, he will make sure to stay in that country for at least a month and really explores the country in and out. One thing I love about sharing accommodation with other travellers, we get to make new friends and listen to their experience. 

If you have only 1 and half days like us to spend in Prague, places that you must visits are : 

Old Town 

In the 12th century, Old Town was a market place for Prague. As you step into Old Town you can see many buildings with Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic style. You also can walk using what they call The Royal Route. It was the path that Bohemian King used during his coronation in 1458 through Old Town to his castle. You can't miss the route as it is marked with silver arrow. I, somehow lost the picture of the marks but if you come here you won't miss it. 

We are two morning people. We woke up to early even the shops were not opened yet.

 When you stand in the middle of the square here, don't forget to look around and appreciate the dramatic history of Prague. I love the old, ancient, dramatic historical atmosphere here.

Old town square

This is the 3rd world oldest astronomical clock in the world and I just learned that it is the oldest working astronomical clock now. My husband is a kind of person who can get really obsesses with clock or watches. He spends quite a lot of money on his watch and that really annoys me sometimes. Anyway, this astronomical clock really got him. He stood there and watched the clock like a psycho or what he told me he was mesmerising the technical part of the clock. Whatevah! Some people here believe that something bad will happen to the town if the clock is neglected by the people. 

These two nice ladies were making chimney bread or trdelnik. If you know me very well, I love to try local traditional food! Trdelnik is actually a very popular pastry in Prague, Hungary and Austria. You can eat it with nutella or peanut butter but I prefer it plain. It is very yummy to eat while it is still hot. Personally, I think chimney bread on the street in Budapest taste better or maybe it is just my palate. You should put this as food-to-eat if you are going travel in Europe.

Charles Bridge

After walking for about 20 minutes (in our case, we took more than 20 minutes since we stopped at so many shops) from Old Town you will eventually arrive at Charles Bridge. It crosses Vltava river and it used to be the only connection between the Old Town and Prague castle.

We were very luck because the weather was just nice. Not too hot or cold. It was perfect early summer day in Prague. I mean look at the sky, it was so blue!

The view you can see from  Charles Bridge and spot the castle!

Along the bridge you can see 30 statues and statuaries which I thought at first all of them have gothic style but there were actually baroque style statues. Interesting.

Mala Strana

After crossing the bridge , we arrived at Mala Strana or in English, Little Quarter or Lesser Town of Prague. People said it is more Bohemian compared to the old town side. We walked up the hill with many beautiful building on our right and left.
I had a romantic walk with my husband while eating ice cream. We talked and laughed so hard until we got a few people stared at us. We looked like we were drunk couple.  LOL
We kept doing that anyway until we arrived the Prague Castle. It is considered as one of the most largest castle complex in the world.

Since the castle complex at the top of the hill, as soon as we arrived there, we could see this view.

This was inside the St. Vitus cathedral.

St. Vitus cathedral from the outside.

After that, we walked down to where we came from using different route. After we had lunch at a halal kebab shop we went back to our room to have some rest before going out again the see the modern part of Prague and also to meet my high school friend, Raja who is studying medicine there.

Dancing House.

This building resembles 2 dancers. Get it? 
 Here, I show you. 
The style of this building is called deconstructivist due to its very unique style. 

Then, I told Raja to bring us to Louvre Cafe which was often visited by Albert Einstein. This cafe is a 100 year old cafe with elegant  Parisian  style. The selection of coffee and desserts are quite nice and cheaper compared to what we have in Dublin.

My husband and Prague National Museum.

Then, Raja brought us to another halal restaurant where we tapau lamb briyani for our dinner. We went back to our room and sleep like nobodyfriggingbusiness  and checked out the next morning to take train to musical city, Vienna! I would love to go back to Czech Republic to explore their beautiful untouched countryside ! We'll go back there soon and maybe with our little one. heh.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Light writing 5 - Berlin (for the second time).

Currently, I'm in the process of doing major throwback in my Instagram account since my poor phone is begging me to delete some of the photos (the silly mistake I made ; transferring photos from my camera to phone). I started my 'throwback' with Prague and someone pointed out (yes, I'm talking about you, Fad) that I should start with Germany since I went to Berlin first before Prague. Who cares? Oh wait Fad cares. hahaha! I had been to Germany before and since I love it so much I wanted to go there again with my husband.
So my Europe trip with my halal boyfriend this time started in Berlin. We flew from Dublin to Berlin Schoenefeld airport with Ryannair (cheapest option, of course) very early in the morning. Then, we took a train to Berlin Hauptbahnhof which is the main train station in Berlin. There are coaches that take you straight from airport to Berlin city but it is much expensive and no, you cannot walk from the airport to Berlin city (in case you are a cheapskate). It took about 20 minutes to hauptbanhof from airport.

We only have one day and a half in Berlin. So, after we found our accommodation, we went straight to the places that my husband already listed out in his mind (?). I'm not gonna write again about the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Tor here. There are all must visit places in Berlin. I'm very happy to write why I love Germany and I dont mind to go there for the thirds or fourth time. First, they have a very strong history, you can't deny that. If you love world war history, you are obligated to come to Germany and take the walking tour. Sometimes, you can even get it for free (not really free it is actually included in your B&B fees). Secondly, it is very easy to commute. If you are not illiterate, you are gonna be just fine to find your way by just using the map. I know in almost all the european countries it is easy to travel but in Germany it is super duper easy especially in Berlin and Munich. My husband was so amazed with their transportation system while I were amazed by Germany guys which bring us to the point number three ; handsome guys are everywhere! Joking but seriously!  Germany people are also very nice, friendly ( not as friendly as Irish) and most importantly very civilised! They also don't mind if you speak in English unlike some people in France ( still could not get over my Paris syndrome). Oh halal food is everywhere too. If you come to Berlin, please try Mustafa Gemuese Kebab. Long que but worth the wait. I went there with my friends but not with my husband since we were rushing. Don't be surprise to find many people waiting their kebab to be served in front of the truck. It was one of the best doner kebab I ever tried. I don't know what else but I just love this country.

If you have a chance to go to Germany but can only spend 2 days and you dont like history as much as I do, I recommend you to go to Munich first.  I could not think any other reasons why you should go to Germany since it is almost 2 am now. My brain is automatically shut off at 2 am.
Anyway, here are some pictures when we were in Berlin for a short time before we went to Prague:

Berlin Wall memorial

Brandenburg Torr

Check Point Charlie

Of course, my cafe hunting! So many great cafe too.