Prague was my favourite of all. This beautiful city has charm in abundance. It is utterly delightful and pretty, but at the same time, there is a gothic, eerie vibe going on. Like puppets, masks, gypsies, medieval stuff. I can’t explain it. There are so many buildings which are steeped in history and well preserved. The streets are very narrow and wind off randomly so it’s very easy to get lost- not a bad thing here. And we did, quite dramatically. (Took the wrong tram back, got chucked off at the end of the line, 2 hours later ended up back in the centre and so instead of calling it a night and jumping in a taxi, we did the honourable thing and drank ourselves into oblivion at James Dean’s. We missed our 9am train to Vienna the next day. I regret nothing.)
The astronomical clock that you’e probably heard of is absolutely not a anti-climax. Granted, those who work in the restaurants nearby must get awful annoyed at the hourly crowd and subsequent round of applause. I don’t care, it was wonderful.
Prague tip one: Book a free walking tour- the history of this city cannot be ignored. So fascinating.
Prague tip two: No one will ask you for your ticket on trams. Make of that what you will.
Prague tip three: Beer is cheaper than coke. Prioritse.
Prague tip four: Be sure to visit the castle, because the view alone is worth it.
ALSO Sir Toby’s Hostel was by far the prettiest accommodation we had. All the furniture in the rooms were antiques made by in the Czech Republic. The building is old and has a large, grand staircase with heavy wooden doors leading off. Just beautiful. And a resident cat. Downstairs, you can make breakfast yourself. Equipment is provided to make eggs and bacon and pancakes etc- it’s definitely worth trying.
Despite being relatively close to Prague, Vienna is a completely different city. Prague’s gritty, gothic, mysterious beauty is replaced by grand, clean, wide open boulevards. Prague is the indie rock band and Vienna is orchestra, essentially. I have visited Austria twice before, both times in the west of the country near the Swiss border. I was therefore quite surprised how flat the landscape around Vienna is, but then, it is all he way across the country from Dornbirn. (STUNNING place by the way)
For us, Vienna was a last minute decision. We were due to go to Budapest, but the journeys from Prague>Budapest>Venice>Split were going to be take up too much time what little we had to explore Europe. And so, given its proximity, Vienna seemed sensible.
It has all the cleanliness and efficiency you would expect from its German influences, but a romantic, classical exuberance harking back from Roman times. As once the powerhouse of the Austria-Hungarian empire, Vienna is so impressive and there are spectacular examples of architecture everywhere you turn. The parks we strolled through were immaculate, most shops that we visited were adorned with chandeliers and marble as if it were the norm.
My only regret was not planing our visit properly. Had we done so, we would have had a little more to do. It’s a great city for taking long walks, just absorbing anything, but we were ready to move on by the end of it. That said, we did see a Strauss and Mozart concert by the Vienna Residence Orchestra at the Palais Auersperg. I would highly recommend it, if it’s your cup of tea. It wasn’t too expensive, the only issue we had was finding something to wear that wasn’t crushed/dirty/plain offensive.
So, have you visted Prague or Vienna? What did you think? Let me know- I would love to hear your expeiences