When you ask a GTL student, “where are you going for Fall break?” approximately nine times out of ten, the answer will be Italy. Italy is just far enough from Metz where it’s hard to do in a weekend trip, but just close enough where you can visit many cities in a week.
At this point, you might know that I love the Amazing Race, and my brother played a big part in that. He studied abroad in Prague a few years ago and absolutely loved it. His approach to study abroad was to immerse himself in Prague culture and only travel to a few select places. Funny enough, over the course of one week, I’m tackling all the places he traveled to over the course of his semester abroad.
After a long night of train hopping, we finally made it to Prague! The highlight of day 1 was watching the sunset from the Charles Bridge.
Day 2, our first full day was filled with the Prague Castle Circuit. Here, a student ticket can get you into most of the buildings in this area including an armory on Golden Lane, some churches, and a palace. We walked around the premises for most of the morning, taking in the history-rich architecture and the sprawling views of the city of Prague. We had a relaxing lunch at the castle with a panoramic view of the city.
On our third and final day in Prague, one of my friends and I decided to grab brunch and walk around while the rest of our group slept in. We found a café in the city, Café Elektric (Ovocný trh 6, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia) and we walked through a film set! After some investigating, including talking with our waitress at the café, we found out that they were filming a historical drama called Chevalier.
After brunch, we walked through the city, popping into stores (including a book palace!) and enjoying the atmosphere. We found the Franz Kafka statue that rotates to form, deform, and reform Kafka’s head. We met up with the other part of our group for the Jerusalem Synagogue, one of the most extravagant synagogues I have ever seen!
Later in the evening, we decided to rent a paddle boat on the Vltava River as the sun set. Surprisingly, we were able to pay in USD, which was ideal because none of us had any Czech currency, and they didn’t take card. We spent an hour paddling around the Vltava, taking pictures and playing music. It was a picture-perfect way to end our time in Prague.
While we were in Prague, Europe turned the clocks back an hour. We were also much farther east than Metz… so the sun set was now at 4:15pm! We arrived in Krakow just after sunset. We ate at a traditional Polish restaurant, Szalone Widelce (Szpitalna 40, 31-024 Kraków, Poland), and had a family style dinner. Without a reservation, we were relegated to the basement/children’s room/cave.
On our walk back from the Old Town Square the night before, we passed by Cytat (Quote) Café (Miodowa 23, 31-055 Kraków, Poland), and we just had to come for breakfast. This was, without a doubt, the most *me* coffee shop. If I owned a coffee shop, it would be modeled after this one. The Cytat Café had books lining every single wall, and the café itself was definitely social and computer friendly. Each drink came with a little quote (mine read: “I knew I was on the right path when I started feeling peace in situations where I would normally feel tension.” -Yung Pueblo).
Next stop: the Wawel Castle. Free entry in November, the Wawel Castle is home to various exhibitions including archeological displays and Turkish tents. In one of the areas, we walked through an indoor excavation site, walking over ancient ruins, which made this the coolest museum I’ve ever walked through. After wandering the castle grounds, we split up into smaller groups to explore a rainy day in Krakow. I walked around the Old Town Square in the daylight hours, passing by bakeries, souvenir shops, and the large central market hall. We stopped by a perogies place for lunch, and I will definitely miss Polish food!
Our day in Krakow may have been the most leisurely of all our days of travel this week, and quickly became one of my favorite places. Although, I do think I have a new favorite place after each place I visit. Fall break is only half over, 2 cities/countries down, 2 to go!
To be continued…