The Ireland Trip: Remembering the First Time Flying

So, it has been a whole year since two broke (and broken) friends wanted to visit Dublin on budget. The life has shifted for me upside down since that, twice, actually, and now I can finally live my happy life. I realized this morning that despite the wonderful trip with one of my best friends to this charming country filled with magic, I never wrote a thing about how it actually felt to be in Dublin, to walk above the Cliffs of Moher and to actually taste a cider in one of the most famous pubs in the world with Irish musicians playing in the background (and foreground, damn, they were pretty loud!^^). 

And when is the better time to dive in than in the moments we only dare to dream about being able to travel again, freely? 

So, let’s jump in, shall we?

The trip with my friend Janča was special to me in advance for several reasons. First of all, I never flew on board of a plane. Second, I never went anywhere abroad just with my friends. And third, just a few months before the trip I regained my freedom after years after I had quit one long, energy- and soul-consuming relationship, and in Dublin I was supposed to taste the real freedom for the first time. Also, Janča is pretty badass so there were no doubts that this vacation is gonna be epic.

Everyone was asking me if I am scared of flying. Maybe that was the only logical explanation to them for a 27-years-old girl who never flew anywhere. The answer is no. I am not scared of flying although the procedures you have to endure on the airport felt always too complicated to me. So, I guess I was always slightly scared because of the bureaucracy and I knew that flying for the first time would be much more comfortable with someone who knows what to do and not with someone who never flew too and who would have to be forced to go with me in the first place (ehm, ehm, you remember that relationship I mentioned above, right?^^).

I was so lucky that this wish could come true thanks to Janča. Not only she is an experienced traveler and seeing new locations is her true passion, she also used to work at the airport back then, so she knew and understood everything perfectly. And not only that, she was willing to explain everything to me, the traveling noob by her side.

Thanks to my friend, I didn’t have to worry about much, the controls were smooth, and she always knew who is going to want to see what. It felt crazy to me, but she was obviously on her own playground. That is why I was able to enjoy the flying part itself, of course, sitting next to a window so I could stare outside on the clouds beneath us for the whole time of the flight.

The experience of flying felt unbelievable. I remember I wrote on my Instagram: “The take-off feels like falling in love. This shimmering in your stomach that can be addictive. And all those objects you see as the plane gets above the clouds – other planes, clouds, cities, rivers and wait – is that a sea? Where did the impossible sun go? You are almost touching the edge of the universe here.” See? Incredible.

When we started to land down and I saw the lights of the city in the dark, I felt extremely lucky for the whole journey I had to take to get myself into this moment (still unaware of my personal journey ahead, but ignorance is a bliss, ain’t it?). I remember also feeling totally disoriented as I didn’t even know from which direction we came. 

It was a funny experience.

Perfect Spots in Prague: Vrtbovská zahrada (The Vrtba Garden)

When you visit Prague for the first time and you usually have only limited time, the schedule is somehow very easy to figure out. There is the Charles’ Bridge and astronomical clock to see, trdlovník or svíčková to taste and beer or Becherovka to get drunk with. No problem with that, it just works like that when it comes to fast traveling.

But! For those moments when you have more free time to spare, when you are slow traveling, when you move to the city in order to live and work here, or when you simply get stuck here as an expat in Prague due to the infamous coronavirus, you could (and should) discover there is so much more to see. And that these places are way better than the usual touristy places.

Perfect Spots in Prague: Vrtbovská zahrada (The Vrtba Garden)

This might come to you as a surprise, but I learned about this treasure hidden right in the heart of the city from my American best friend whom I was so lucky to meet through an exchange buddy program during my studies. She had a professor at Charles’ who probably knew Prague perfectly and recommended her this Vrtba garden, which I of course never heard of before, right next to Malostranské náměstí. She asked me if I’d like to join her and the journey began.

The first part of the adventure with Vrtbovská zahrada is actually the effort you have to make to find it. It’s hidden almost perfectly, and no big ugly sign will scream on you, so it might to take you several walks along the busy Karmelitská street before you actually notice the entrance. Inconspicuous doorway will take you right into the block of recognizable baroque buildings of Prague’s center. In the main hall, you will pay an admission fee, which varies between 80 to 100 crowns, depending on whether you are adult, senior, junior and so on, you know the drill. 

And then, you can finally enter.

I was so surprised to see such noble beauty can sprout in the middle of a city I used to think I know. Although I prefer the untamed beauty of wild nature, this was (and still is) worth seeing. The garden stretches more in height then width and this simply adds more uniqueness and a dreamlike touch to the actual experience of discovering the place itself. You rise, level by level, up up up, until you see the city from an angle you have never seen it before from. And it’s breathtaking.

The Vrtba Garden is, like most of Prague’s gardens, best to visit during the spring, summer and autumn time, since it stays closed from November to March. It’s unique position in the middle of the city center, ability to stay hidden, like a secret whispered in the wind, and relatively low admission fees make this a perfect spot, whether you want to run away from the world or just to see another nice corner of it.

Perfect Spots in Prague: Vítkov Hill

When you visit Prague for the first time and you usually have only limited time, the schedule is somehow very easy to figure out. There is the Charles’ Bridge and astronomical clock to see, trdlovník or svíčková to taste and beer or Becherovka to get drunk with. No problem with that, it just works like that when it comes to fast traveling.

But! For those moments when you have more free time to spare, when you are slow traveling or when you move to the city in order to live and work here, you will discover there is much more to see. And that these places are way better than classical crowded touristy spots.

Perfect Spots in Prague: Vítkov Hill

National Memorial on Vítkov Hill and the giant statue of Jan Žižka standing right in front of it are visible and recognizable from various different corners of Prague. I remember it was always one of the points of orientation while maneuvering throughout the city, even when I was a kid and later, in my teenage years. Especially, when we were coming home from faraway places, I knew, when I saw the statue and the hill, I was close.

It was many years after that, when I first started to see the place as a perfect venue for meeting my friends and family. As a place where you can just chill, hang out and forget about the buzzing life you left down there, under the hill. Because almost all roads lead to Vítkov, it is easily accessible from various different quarters: from Karlín via stairs starting on Invalidovna or via the tunnel coming right through the hill from near the Karlínské náměstí; from Žižkov by just walking or from the city center via the secret shortcut between train stations Masarykovo and Hlavní nádraží connected to a cycleway and, you guessed it, some other stairs.

You can tell a lot from this description – first of all, you get pretty sweaty while reaching the top of the hill, especially during the long hot summer days. It is fun to see how your physical fitness is slowly declining as you spend more and more hours in the office. But that is also a good reason not to skip this trip! But secondly, the view from the top is just spectacular. I cannot just have enough of it. Because the place is visible from many spots in Prague, you can see almost the entire Prague from up here as well. That is quite logical, right? And it is definitely worth all the effort.

There is a lovely park behind the monument with many benches to sit on and it is also a favorite place for many sportsmen and sportswomen – for jogging and training under the open sky. What I personally love the most is to sit on the low wall surrounding the monument, observe everyone and everything and the whole city along all of it and chat with any of the precious beings I know.

Vítkov is basically one of the last places in Prague that were able to defend its charms, place that is quiet, peaceful and adorable and what is more, you can see the city you love from up here in its whole beauty. So please, while visiting, try to hold on to it and enjoy it. Staying humble while facing the greatness such as this one is also a part of the experience.

Perfect Spots in Prague: Kasárna Karlín

When you visit Prague for the first time and you usually have only limited time, the schedule is somehow very easy to figure out. There is the Charles’ Bridge and astronomical clock to see, trdlovník or svíčková to taste and beer or Becherovka to get drunk with. No problem with that, it just works like that when it comes to fast traveling.

But! For those moments when you have more free time to spare, when you are slow traveling or when you move to the city in order to live and work here, you will discover there is much more to see. And that these places are way better than classical crowded touristy spots.

 

Perfect Spots in Prague: Kasárna Karlín

Kasárna Karlín is a place which I have been thinking about for a while now, but I got to the visiting of the spot just recently. As I was starting my new life, I went to grab a beer with my new colleagues from my new job. Kasárna Karlín are basically former barracks situated near Florenc metro station in Prague 8. The place has some wibbly wobbly bewitched history with attempted privatization in the recent years. All you need to know though, is that so far, the whole building has been temporarily rented to a group of artists who promised to transform this forgotten yet remarkable place into a venue for cultural events and spot for people to meet in an informal atmosphere. And this promise was fulfilled on a 1000%!

Not only there is a plenty of tiny bars and businesses where you can taste lots of different and unusual kinds of beer and drinks, they also have draught cider (which is still not very common in Czech Republic). But there is also a volleyball field and many interesting cultural events take place here as well, such as open-air cinema, slam poetry events, public debates, yoga fest and much more.

If you are here to taste the mood of Prague or if you are working the whole day and you want to chill within the picturesque scenery of a remarkable classicist building with interesting history and strong genius loci, Kasárna Karlín is one of the places you should definitely not skip.

Krkonoše Treetop Trail: Trip to an Extraordinary Lookout Tower

In a new video I posted today on YouTube, you can see one of our summer trips during our vacation in Krkonoše Mountains, Czech Republic. I have to say that the lady at the ticket office seemed to be quite strict when she didn’t allow us to take a small chihuahua in a bag with us and that made my stay there tiny bitter. And as you will learn in the video, I honestly expected little bit more than what we’ve got, basically because there were so many people talking about this new popular kind of lookout towers.

 

 

But I don’t want to be only negative for sure. There are plenty reasons why you might want to visit the place as we did. Firstly, the building and its structure is very unusual and in a playful mood you can find yourself enjoying just the way it all works together. The informational stops are definitely interesting and even though they are not thorough or packed with knowledge, they plant a seed of a doubt and start to question the way we usually think about forests and wood. There is also hidden world of soil and roots at the basement of the tower itself and even here you can find and learn many new interesting things.

 

The tower is open every day except on the 24thDecember, therefore you can visit the place at any time you will. Like I said at the beginning, the place isn’t very pet friendly, so you might want to leave you dogs at home. It could destroy the whole trip as one of you would have to wait outside with the dog. The easiest way to get to the tower, which is situated in Janské Lázně town, is by a car. You can also go by a bus but you will have to change to another bus at least once during the three hour way from Prague.

 

While being in Krkonoše, especially when you are not a ski lover or when you are visiting during the summer, the treetop trail is one of the most attractive places to visit, despite the high entrance prices. I believe that if you won’t follow the hype around it and if you will leave your pets at home, it can be a decent experience.

 

Have you already been there? Are you planning to go?

 

Let me know what your opinion is and have a great time!

 

Hidden Cities of Bohemia: Chrudim

0BB959F8-EAA1-4466-9398-8A0DEF1A21FBThose who travel to Czech Republic are usually mostly attracted by places like the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, the city of Český Krumlov or maybe the Karlštejn Castle. If you have more than just a few days to stay when visiting Czech Republic, there are many other places you should give a try. Today I want to talk about lovely city called Chrudim about an hour and a half away from Prague.

 

The city of Chrudim is located in the Eastern Bohemia, just a few kilometers away from the county town Pardubice. You can get there by a car using the highway which connects Prague and Hradec Králové, another county town of the region, or you can certainly take a train from the Prague’s Main Station which sounds much more adventurous and romantic. The city offers plenty of restaurants and also a shop with healthy food in case you’d forget your tofu spreads at home as I did when we visited the city.

 

The Heart of the City

Kostel Nanebevzetí Panny Marie, Resselovo náměstíYou can start your excursion of the city on the main square called Resselovo náměstí which was named after the inventor of a screw propeller and Austrian forester Josef Ressel, who was actually born in Chrudim in 1793. The main eye-catcher of the square is Chrudim’s Church of Assumption built in neo gothic style and you won’t probably miss a baroque plague column standing opposite the church, right in the middle of the square.

There is plenty to see if you are interested in architecture and history. But there is no need to worry even when you are not. Actually, there is much more to see if you are interested in a city nature, parks and cooperation between people and the nature in the city.

 

The Green Centre

Náhon, ChrudimIn fact, Chrudim is one of the cities which were able to use money from grants and subsidies to became more pleasant place to live in. Since 2001, Chrudim is involved in the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and thanks to that the city was able to rejuvenate its old water raceway.

The system is powered by water from Chrudimka river and was built probably during the 15thcentury. The system used to serve as an energy and water source for people living in the city. During the 20thcentury however many of the raceways were backfilled with dirt or changed into dead ends. The restoration started on the beginning of this millennium and since that the raceway and its surroundings has been transformed into lovely chilly place where you can take a rest, a walk or a run, not to mention your kids will love it here.

Rybí přechod, náhon, ChrudimThe walk along the revitalized water raceway will take you towards an unbelievably and unexpectedly romantic adventure and you might find yourself wondering whether you are still in the Czech Republic. It will take you alongside the medieval city walls which are now occupied by tiny charming gardens and you can see from below some of the other historic sights of the city.

 

Metamorphosis and More

One of the places where you can finish your trip through Chrudim is the Museum of Baroque Sculptures, which is located in the former church of saint Joseph. The church was built for the order of Capuchins but monks had to abandon the place in 1948. The building was restored by the city to serve as a place of meetings for local citizens, as the center of cultural life and also as a place where special venues can take place, for example weddings.

Chrudim, náhon, náměstí U VodárnyOur trip ended just right there but Chrudim can offer even more. Among all other places where you can do various sport activities the city’s recreational forests with a rope center to entertain young climbers and their parents as well was the one that caught my attention. And while being there you can also visit lookout tower called Bára, which was shortly after the opening destroyed by a tornado but the city managed to take care of it and now you can just relax there and enjoy the view over the region.

 

 

So, what do you think? Will you give Chrudim a try? Or have you already been there? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Take care and see you next time!