Okay so I finished off Part 1 with Jaclyn and I being absolutely exhausted from spending the entire hours between 8am-6pm on foot through the streets of Rome. We crashed and burned in our beds that night and were in no mood to hit the town like I failed attempt the night before (I hadn't mentioned it as there was, well, nothing to mention).
The morning of the 29th of January we got up slowly but surely, had our breakfasts of cake and orange juice and made our way to the bus station to catch a bus to the airport for a flight to Vienna, Austria that afternoon. This was the point where we said to ourselves...why did we have to do 6 cities in 10 days? We were sore, tired and I was getting very sick of having to figure out how to get from point A to B what felt like every hour. My favourite part of exploring a place is leaving the map behind, getting lost and figuring out where you are once you think you've seen enough. This, unfortunately due to the demands of the trip, couldn't happen.
We arrived in Vienna in the early
afternoon and managed to find our way to the road in which our hostel was on but not the actual hostel. With some friendly adviced from a stranger (who approached us may I add) we were sent on our way to Wombat Hostel at the Naschmarkt. This is one I'd also recommend. The rooms were small but the shower was the best I'd had probably since moving to London. I am so sick of those showers with the hand held nosel. How is that a help to anyone?! It makes the water pressure terrible and it is a guarantee to fall down. Rant over. We didn't have many daylight hours left, another downside to travelling in winter, so we headed straight for the 'City Circle Tram'. We hopped on what we thought was it...2hours, several tram changes and even more panicky 'where are we?'s later we ended up back where we'd started. Okay so it wasn't the tram made for the tourists but it still went in a circle, all be it a very large one, and we saw more of Vienna than most others would have the chance to. By this point we were cold, hungry and in need
of strong drink. We made our way back to the hostel, changed clothes and out we went again to what they call the 'Bermuda Triangle'. It has a fitting name as we walked around and around the same 3 streets trying to find it, only to realise we were standing right in it. It was meant to be filled with bars and pubs. To be fair the bars and pubs were there but the people were missing. After an amazing dinner of dumplings and pork we had a few drinks then decided to make our way back to the hostel and call it a night.
The next morning we were up nice and early to take in what we had missed on our city circle tram. We climbed up Stephensdom to catch a panoramic glimpse of Vienna. Unfortunately the fencing we were enclosed in stopped me from taking another panoramic shot of the city. After that we went to Albertina museum to see a few Picasso and Monat pieces. Following that it was time to catch our train to Prague. I would definitely love to visit Vienna in the summer one year and take in all the sights, not
just those you can see on the tram.
The train trip to Prague was heaven. We had an entire compartment to ourselves and were able to catch up on some well needed sleep. A very quick 5 hours later we arrived and made our way to our hostel. We were sick of lugging around our bags so we decided to catch a cab. Despite reading that you need to be careful of being ripped off we still managed to pay way too much for a trip around the corner. The good thing about Prague is that too much is still a reasonable amount. Everything was so cheap, not something I have experienced travelling throughout Europe at all. We ate in the Old Town square both nights we were there and paid no more than $20 each for two Czech beers and a 2 course meal. This city was by far my favourite. The people were lovely, hospitable and had a strong knowledge of English so communication wasn't as hard as it had been in Italy.
The best way to see Prague is on foot. Everything is so close and accessible, including the castle. Neither Jaclyn nor I knew
much about Czech history so we decided to take a tour. We did a walking tour with a very small group at only a cost of $25 each which included a tour guide for 6 hours, dinner and a quick cruise up the river. The city is steeped in history and was incredibly interesting. Did you know last year the Czech Rebulic had their first election in which the Prime Minister was decided by a direct public vote? The photos here show the Prague castle from the river. It doesn't really look much like a castle, more like a small city. You are free to wander around through its walls but tickets for a closer look inside the cathedrals much be purchased. The tour finished at the castle and we made our way back to our hostel to get ready for a Pub crawl we were going on.
The next day we were feeling very sorry for ourselves and did almost nothing until it was time to catch our flight to Amsterdam. We arrived quite late and by the time we had managed to drag our cases up 4 flights of the most narrow stairs you could imagine we
crashed out again early. How sad we felt being just 19 and 22 on a Friday night without the energy to go out! The next day we took a 'Hop on-Hop off' tour of Amsterdam. If you purchase a ticket you can hop on and hop off any of the boats travelling along the canals. It was a great way to see the city. I didn't get too many photos as it was very cold and we spent most of the afternoon in the Anne Frank House. The annex in which Anne, her family and a few others lived is open to the public at an admission cost of only 7Euros. I thought that was very very cheap for a museum. The furniture has all been removed, minus the bookcase. The photos Anne put up of movie stars and singers are still on the wall today. Her diary and many of her extra pages are on display for everyone to see. It doesn't matter if you haven't read her diary as there are plenty of information plaques and videos along the way. Following that we stopped in for refueling at a pancake house and then well what happens in Amsterdam
stays in Amsterdam! Sorry folks.
So that is the trip. Jaclyn headed off to Paris for a few days and I went back to work. Next trip in the planning is Easter, although choosing a place will prove difficult!
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