We all know London is an expensive city, from the ridiculous rent to travel, living in this city means a lot of twenty – somethings like myself are constantly broke, but hey I guess it’s worth it if your living in one of the best cities in the world. Now even though London can be expensive there are a number of things to do in the city that doesn’t break the bank. Continue reading “What to do in London for under a tenner?!”
There comes a day in every dame travellers’ life where she has to go on a solo adventure. Travelling to Berlin on my own was my first solo trip, and let me tell you it was both exciting and nerve racking! When I first moved to London I had told myself that I wanted to go on at least 1 solo trip before eventually going back to Canada. It only took me a year a half but I finally made the jump!
So many young solo women travellers gave me the courage to make that leap and travel on my own. With all things that come with a little risk, I was asked a million questions from my family and friends regarding the choice I made to travel to Berlin on my own; my answer was simple, I wanted to experience being completely on my own and indepdendant. It was also really frustrating that in 2016 women traveling on their own is basically frowned upon because it goes against the norm or it isn’t safe. I want to be a part of the generation of solo women travelers that break that fear, and encourage more women to get up and travel on their own. We should be encouraging girls from a young age to travel and explore the world aruond them and not to live in fear. My first solo trip reforced this idea that we should encourage all women to get out there and explore. The world is a beautiful place, and maybe if more of us explored it there would be less ignorance, therefore less fighting. Women might be surprised at what they find, and many of them will realize that even though the world may seem like a scary place we need to rise above that and keep fighting through that fear!
This solo trip helped me grow as a person and it also made me realize that I am more independant than I thought, which is a good thing. I realized that being on your own,with your own thoughts, can sometimes be a good thing; being on my own whether or at a cafe or exploring the city actually gave me clarity and peace of mind, and no, that doesn’t mean I was a complete loner for my trip!
Now don’t get me wrong I love traveling with a buddy but when you go on a solo trip you need to figure out everything for yourself, and even though that might be scary it’s actually great! Being in a foreign country forces you to get out of your comfort zone, and you know what they say, great things happen when you have the courage to leave your comfort zone. Travelling to Berlin on my own forced me to get out of my bubble, and make new friends and talk to people that I probably wouldn’t have spoken to if I was travelling with a buddy. Even though I love traveling with friends some times you lose sight of the interesting characters around you because you just want to hang out with your friends. Being in Berlin by myself forced me to talk to the people around me, whether it was on a walking tour or at a bar, and let me tell you I learned something interesting about all the people I had the opportunity to talk to!
One thing I know forsure is that we ALL need to get out there and explore, not only does that allow us to learn about other people and cultures, but we also learn quite a but about ourseleves. We all have a gypsy soul inside us, all we need to do is let it go.
Prague is such an interesting city that is rich in history and culture! What I thought was the most interesting was how much much of a role Prague played in Europes’ history. I can’t say that Prague is a hidden gem in Europe anymore because it’s always crawling with tourists, but it’s definitely one of the most underrated cities with regards to history and culture. The Czech people are extremely proud of their culture and it’s a real shame that a lot of people don’t know that. Even many of these are tourist attractions I’m going to tell you what was great about them and what you should avoid!
My first stop while I was in Prague was visiting the astrological clock because it is beautiful, and more importantly the story behind the clock is quite interesting! Put it this way it involved a man going blind, men being thrown out of windows, and a man falling in the astrological clock! With regards to the astrological clock I would not visit the clock while the ‘show ‘ is on. All you will get is a large crowd of tourists and a headache because of all the people waiting for the time to change on the clock. AVOID AVOID
My next stop was Prague castle, do yourself a favour visit the castle especially if your looking for great lookouts of the city! What I liked most was that the castle was free and St. Vithus cathedral was breathtaking. Even though the inside of the cathedral was super busy, because of all the tourists, I was still in complete awe; the high celings and the beautiful stain glass windows took my breath away. I really am a sucker when it comes to stain glass windows; even after visiting numerous churches and cathedrals these were some of my favorite! With regards to the castle don’t visit if you’re expecting to see a grand castle, like Windsor castle, the castle is not really a castle at all, but more like a compound with different buildings. Beware that there are no english signs and not many people actually working on the grounds, which led to a lot of confusion on my part. Most people visit the castle because of St. Vitus cathedral and the amazing lookouts of the city, so if you’re looking for great banquets halls, galleries and so on, don’t waste your
time visiting the castle.
One of my favourite spots on this trip was visiting the Strahov Monastery. The Monastery is about 5 minute walk from Prague castle and it definitely worth the visit. The grounds are beautiful and it is peacefully up at the Monastery. While your up there you get to leave the hustle bustle of the castle filled with tourists and school children, and you get to enjoy a peaceful walk of the grounds. What many people don’t know is that the monks at the Monastery still brew there own beer and there a couple of cafes at the top of the Monastery that serves this amazing Czech beer; eating at these cafes also allows a beautiful view of the city. Now you cannot go to the Monastery without visiting the library, you don’t have to be a book nerd like myself to visit; the library actually took my breath away – the rows of books, hard wood floors and beautiful murals on the ceilings, it was heaven. However, I was disappointed for two reasons: 1. We needed to pay 50 crowns to take any photos of the library, 2. We weren’t allowed to walk into the library and explore.
Everyone needs to walk around the Jewish quarter. The history of the Czech Jews was sad but also very interesting, and it has the oldest synagogue in Central Europe that is still being used today. While exploring the Jewish quarter everyone should take a moment to visit the exhibition at the Pinka synagogue. The exhibition is two parts, the first part is a gallery with all the names of the Czech Jews who died at the hands of the Nazis. All of the names of the victims are printed on the wall, that’s about 70,000 names. The exhibition is so simple yet so moving because you are standing in a room reading the names of all these innocent people, who were individuals with families and friends, careers, hobbies and more. I stood in that room for about half and hour and I really got to think about life and how people treat one another, and that religion and culture might divide us but at the end of the day we are all people. The second part of the exhibition was a collection of drawings that was saved by Fridel Dicker-Brandeis, who was a teacher in the Tezein ghetto. She taught the children how to draw and how to express themselves through art since the lives of the children wee extremely difficult. Unfortunately Fridel did not survive Aushwitz but her husband did and he later donated all the drawings. The exhibition was one of the saddest I’ve ever seen, because the drawings were so innocent, and walking though this exhibition you get to see a glimpse of how these children felt living in ghetto and the fear of deportation, but you also saw how many of them were still just kids with hopes and dreams for the future. The exhibition was so touching and eye opening because you get to see the innocence of children no matter what might be happening around them. I would highly recommend everyone to go visit this exhibition, it’s only 300 crowns and you have access to all the Jewish museums and the Old Jewish cemetery.
I would strongly suggest that everyone takes a few days to visit Prague. It’s one of those cities where you only need to be there a few days and you will fall in love right away. I was never bored while I was in Prague, there was always something to see of do!
More photos of my adventures of Prague are on Instagram! Don’t be shy take a look – the wanderinggypsyy