On May 22, we all met at O’Hare Airport for the first of many flights together. We boarded our Finnair flight (an airline I would highly recommend) and first flew to Helsinki, Finland. After a short layover, we got on something of an airplane and continued on to Stockholm. Once we found our bearings, we checked into the Skanstulls Hostel. Being that my only knowledge of a hostel was what was portrayed in a movie of the same name, I was a little apprehensive. However, my concerns were put to rest when I walked into the quaint hostel and we were assigned our room.
Room 8 took me back to the week I lived in a college dorm, as we were in a tight space with bunk beds. At that point, I could’ve been in a box and wouldn’t have cared because sleep was the only thing on my mind. We woke up the next morning to head back to the airport and go to Prague. This also happened to be my 23rd birthday, and I never would’ve envisioned spending my golden birthday (or any birthday) in the Czech Republic. Also, having no knowledge of Prague other than its existence, I had no clue of what to expect.
Once we got to the heart of the city, I was immediately entranced by the beautiful old buildings and cobblestone roads. We stayed in a (cozy, I guess) little flat near the water and spent our days wandering the streets of Prague while taking in the sights and enjoying a drink or two (or twelve…or however many is necessary to befriend the staff of an Irish Pub.) The first touristy thing we did was take a walk over the Cambridge Bridge, which was even more gorgeous at night than it was during the day. The bridge offered historic statues and a great view of the city. At the end of the bridge, we walked a bit in order to find the John Lennon Wall, which is exactly what it sounds like. Photos, paintings, and lyrics of the former Beatle lined the wall and drew a great crowd.
We then found our soon-to-be favorite place, the aforementioned Irish Pub, JJ Murphy’s. We had a few drinks and a nice conversation with the bartender before venturing on. This brings us to my absolute favorite part of Prague: the hill that overlooks the entire city (equip with a rooftop bar that offered $1 beers.) We visited this location twice, while throwing in a few more trips to Murphy’s. I was surprised at how good the food was, as well as how cheap everything was.
Another highlight was stumbling upon a 25-year old antique shop that was filled with trinkets as old as time. What was more astounding, was that the owner, Milosh, had a story about any item that you picked up. Overall, the best thing about Prague was the scenery (and the cool people.) If you’re considering a trip to Europe, definitely consider this spot. However, what I was surprised to learn (in every single city) is that they charge for water at restaurants. All the times I took free water for granted were now stacked against me. I would highly recommend bringing a reusable water bottle should you ever do a trip like this.