One of the big advantages of the move to Austria has been the possibility of more travel in Europe. We are really right in the middle of everything and have a long list of places we’d like to see while we are here.
We ended up with some time off at Xmas and decided to take our first trip. After a lot thought, and the realization that no place in Europe will be warm at this time of year, we decided on a capital city – one we hadn’t been to before, one that we could get to easily or cheaply, and one where we could speak some English and get a break from all the German “practice.”
Prague fit the bill, but is a 9 hour train ride from here (not sure we’ll do that again, but it was lower stress than driving in snow and cheaper than flying). We spent a few days exploring the city in short bursts, taking time indoors to warm up. I know it’s been said before, but it’s a pretty city and very pleasant even in this freezing weather. We visited most of the “big” sights like the Castle and the Charles Bridge, and also got to taste some specialties at the Christmas markets in Old Town. I think we’ll plan to go back in the Spring or Fall to spend a little more time outdoors in some of the big gardens and parks, or just people watching.
It was a little weird to be a tourist here. We arrived in a new city and weren’t jetlagged, but what really struck me was leaving to go “home.” It was actually sort of comforting to hear the the train announcements in German again after crossing the border and being able to understand about 50% of them (in Czech we understood absolutely nothing, so it was quite an improvement).
Being a tourist again was also a change from our RTW travel. It was refreshing to stay in a big hotel right down town and eat out at the top restaurants without having to worry about being over budget for the day. Eric’s new paychecks (in Euros!) are already starting to come in handy.
We thought the Tyn church spires looked ominous at night: