11:25 am on Friday October 8th
Melanie and I headed out of our classes and went home to throw the last few things in our bags before heading on our week long journey. Neither of us had ever tried this kind of travel before, something that I was nervous but excited about.
Just a week prior, Melanie and I had finalized our Eurail tickets, planning which trains we would be taking and how we would be able to make them all. A little background, the Eurail is a train system that connects almost all the trains in Europe and allows them to intertwine and overlap. As Europe has the Schengen agreement, it is a lot easier to travel throughout Europe, because many times you do not need to go through customs, you are just able to enter another country in Europe from the country you are leaving. I had always heard about the Eurail, mostly from my parents and aunt and uncle who were European backpackers when they were my age. My mom, her sister, my dad and my uncle all traveled together for a few weeks over the course of two summers via eurail. So for years, I have been listening to their stories and hearing all about their travels through Europe, waiting until the day it was MY turn.
And here it was.
Melanie and I left for Copenhagen Central Station at 12:15, with plenty of time to make our 12:50 train on route to Hamburg. While the destination we were going towards was Germany, the two of us had decided to only spend about 4 hours in the city in an attempt to make it even further that night. The two of us arrived in Hamburg around 6:30pm, a perfect time to grab a bite to eat before our next train. Walking around the city, we both enjoyed all the architecture and the waterfront. Since it was already getting late by the time we arrived, it seemed that the city was more quiet than we expected, and there were definitely places that we both wished we had seen in the city but that just means we will have to go back at some point.
After adventuring for a few hours, and after I convinced Melanie to take an insane amount of pictures (something that would continue throughout the trip), we hopped onto our next train and were then on our way to Prague! The train systems were very easy and, although both Melanie and I didn’t get a ton of sleep, we were able to relax and listen to some music on the trip. The train from Hamburg to Prague was somewhere around 10 hours, but along the way there were some definite bumps. From one of the train lines being closed and having to transfer to a bus, to being asked to return to the trains in a random station in the middle of the Czech Republic, the transportation was a little bumpy, but fun nonetheless. That being said, when we arrived in Prague on Saturday morning we knew that it had all been worth it!
“This place is literally straight out of a fairytale”-Melanie Fann
So Prague is beautiful, that is something I’m sure you knew before even reading this post. But what could Melanie and I have done for the over 12 hours that we were in Prague, you ask? Quite a lot!
Located in Prague’s Old Town Square, the astronomical clock is one of the most interesting sights in the city! The clock has three major components, the first being the astronomical dial. The astronomical dial is what shows the positioning of the sun and the moon in the sky, and represents different astrological elements. The second feature is the various Catholic statues and figures on the sides of the clock who, on the hour move and depict a scene. The third element is a calendar dial that represents the months. This BEAUTIFUL clock is something that you could spend hours looking at, and come back to time and again, never getting bored. Melanie and I actually came back to watch the clock a few times throughout the day, and had not gotten bored each time we stopped to look at it!
The Prague Castle
Melanie and I walked quite a lot while in Prague, and made our way up ALL the steps to the Prague Castle. The way up, we were definitely questioning if the view and entire complex would even be worth it, and I am so happy to say it was! The view when you get to the entrance of the castle is jaw dropping, and makes you forget all about the stairs you had to climb to get there. After taking in the view for a bit, Melanie and I went up to the castle to see a few of the exhibits they offered. The first place we went was the Saint Vitus Cathedral, one of the most recommended places to visit in Prague, and for good reason.
The cathedral was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. With all the stained glass, its monumental size, and the beautiful sculptures throughout, there was never a dull moment while inside. At the time we entered the cathedral, the light was streaming in through lots of the stained glass, making for an unforgettable moment.
After walking around the Cathedral and then the outside of the castle, Melanie and I decided to climb the cathedral tower. With our backpacking backpacks and all, we climbed all 216 stairs and made our way to the top, getting an even better view than before: something we thought impossible. The tower was definitely a tight climb, and having our backpacks with us was tough, but we made it all the way up and down without either of us tumbling down the stairs, something we joked about after we were on solid ground again.
The Charles Bridge
We walked over the Charles Bridge on the way back to the Old Town Square from the Prague Castle and the bridge did not disappoint. My mom had actually given us the recommendation to try and walk over the bridge, and boy were Melanie and I happy we did. The bridge is filled with gargoyles and statues galore, along with many musicians and street performers. With so much happening, it is almost difficult to even catch a glimpse at the view. The bridge has a large entrance into the old city on one end, the image that will likely come up if you look up “Charles Bridge Prague”; a ginormous stone structure that you can see from many points throughout the city.
Of course that isn’t all Melanie and I did with our 12 hours in Prague, but those are the things that truly stuck out. In between, we picked up some food, ice cream of course, gingerbread (which I didn’t realize was so popular in Prague!), walked along the waterside and enjoyed the beautiful sunset, wandered the streets of Prague, and even sat in a beautiful garden for a while. While it was difficult to pack everything we wanted to do into 12 hours, Melanie and I were glad to be in Prague for a majority of the day, and to enjoy the evening heading to our next destination! Follow up with my next blog post to see where we headed after our day in beautiful Prague!