Before I flew to Europe in the dead of winter, I was kind of regretting my decision to book a flight somewhere just as cold as Canada – why didn’t I decide to go to Nicaragua or Cuba or even Mexico?
It could have been because I wanted to see a winter wonderland, or because I enjoy travelling places when they are less packed with tourists, or because flights were cheap, but if we are being totally honest it is because I was meeting a boy in Europe.
Regardless, I DID more or less pick the cities we were going to, and I WAS excited about seeing them with fewer tourists, and they ARE better in winter wonderland mode. So, whatever. Let’s pretend it had nothing to do with the boy. We spent a magical and very budget-friendly 9 days travelling around three countries in Eastern Europe – here’s what we did in our first stop, Prague!
Prague is one of my grandest misadventures. One of my first solo trips, at 18, saw absolutely EVERYTHING go wrong (see this post), but suffice it to say I have never been so ill. I still looked back at Prague with fond memories, but it also kind of felt like a fever dream, so I’ve been wanting to go back for 3 years. I finally made it!
Revisiting any city is always slightly jarring: some things are exactly as you remember them, some are totally different. I remembered the river in Prague being much wider, and the hills much taller, but the buildings were just as beautiful.
Last time my main activity in Prague was to climb every tower in sight (great idea while ill?), but this time we did a lot more wandering. From a first-day meander from the Old Town Square to the Jewish Quarter to the Charles Bridge to the Castle, we packed everything in without spending a dime. With the sunniest weather of our trip, I was complaining that I should have packed my lighter winter jacket – in the other cities I would be very glad I hadn’t!
The next day, it was day trip time. We wanted to see the Bone Church in Kutna Hora. I had visions of a massive cathedral, 100% constructed from bones, and the reality was a bit of a letdown – I probably should have googled it first. Anyway, it was super easy to do independently: we just walked to the main train station and took an hour train ride to Kutna Hora, walked to the Bone Church and then headed into town for lunch.
We went to a fairly touristy place recommended by our hostel, but it was really yummy. I sometimes struggle in Eastern Europe to eat vegetarian while also trying the local cuisine – this place had a whole section for me to choose from! Yay. I got “Dill Sauce with Hard-Boiled Egg and Vegetable Dumplings” and yuuuum.
Now, for maybe the best part of Prague – the dog bar. We asked for some nightlife suggestions in our hostel and headed out to a place described as the “Dog Bar”. It’s actually called Vzorkovna, but dog bar is easier to pronounce. Anyway, it’s an underground and very maze-like nightclub with so much to see and so many different sections.
THERE IS ALSO A DOG THAT LIVES THERE. At one point Alex went to the bathroom and left me sitting, and my anxious little self was freaking out about sitting alone in a bar. And the dog came over to me and snuggled me!!!! I wish that happened everywhere. I don’t have a picture of the dog, nor do I know his name, but nevertheless we are now best friends.
The last thing I want to say about Prague is how good our hostel was. Hostel One Prague is in a different area than I’d usually choose to stay in, about a 15 min walk from the Old Town Square, but it felt much more local. Our double room was amazing, practically a suite, with a semi-functioning kitchen, a separate bedroom area, a balcony and a private bathroom. The hostel’s kitchen is also fully stocked and so lively. The staff are from all over and really actually care about their jobs, unlike a lot of hostels. They even cook free dinner every night!! The bar in the basement of the hostel seems really cool as well, we just popped down quickly for one drink.
Basically, stay here. It’s great. And go to Prague, maybe in the winter. It’s also great.