Our time in Vienna came to end on Sunday. Onward to the Czech Republic we had to go. We departed early in the morning, checking and double-checking our rooms for any possessions as we had no idea when we would return to the beautiful city again.
The path to our next adventure consisted of a lot of naps, green-painted countrysides and a stop in Lednice of South Moravia. Sleepily stumbling out of our bus, we all were baffled at the idea of a cultural experience right then. But as our eyes adjusted to the sun shining down on us, and we followed the guide into another breath-taking courtyard. The Zámek Lednice castle towered high above us, its yellow stone contrasting with the bright blue of the sky.
The courtyard was decorated with flowers of all colors, fountains of cooling, misting water, and a greenhouse one could only dream of. Wandering through the yard was something of a dream, magical and unbelievable. Areas of the courtyard were group of poppies, daffodils, roses and succulents in intricate designs.
We toured the castle itself, and found the insides to be in amazing shape. The place itself had housed soldiers during the second world war. The stone floors of the foyer were damaged due to men riding through on their houses. The castle was so stunning, it blew my mind to think horses had galloped through such a room. All of the wood had come from trees in Vienna, and the designs carved in and from the wood were unfathomably detailed. From the staircases to the stairs to the doors themselves. The wood was hardly ever simply, plain wood, but rather pieces of art. In another room, a chandelier hung from the ceiling. It was a masterpiece and remarkable. A chandelier of three different tiers that could be seen from three different floors, it hung 15 meters length.
Following the incredible tour, we separated for lunch and planned to meet back at the bus within a few hours. MY roommate and I wandered to a local restaurant nearby. Switching countries is fun, but we had yet to understand their currency and what “expensive” was, language also proved to be another hurdle. Nonetheless, after a few Google translates and currency conversion calculations, we found ourselves enjoying large bowls of tagliolini with pesto sauce for me and tomato sauce for her as we sat overseeing the beautiful grounds.
A few more naps and a couple more hours later, we arrived in Prague of the Czech Republic. We quickly settled in then went to walk to one of the popular, local grocery stores. Walking out the doors of our hotel gave me a fresher breathe of air. The buildings held so many years and memories within them, the original architect was very clearly maintained and stunning. As we walked, the sun shone down on us, a warm greeting from our new temporary home. Prague is known for its beers, and although I am not the biggest fan of beer, I do enjoy a good cider. And while in Prague, that is what I consumed. We left the grocery store, both with a drink in hand, and we found that it was so common—almost expected to be on an afternoon walk with a drink in hand. A kind man stopped and helped me pop the top of my cider, and we felt like locals on a casual Sunday afternoon.
AsVienna was full of tourist, Prague was too. The mood was younger though, very hip compared to Vienna. That evening, we found out hip and cool it was. A group of us slipped into a Turkish restaurant for a quick and delicious meal before walking to meet more of the class. Someone mentioned meeting up by the river, and I couldn't think of anything better to do on our first night. As we trekked through the alleys and streets of Prague, my eyes were overwhelmed with the building again. Churches older than I could imagine stood tall, cobble-stoned roads made tripping slightly easier, but also beautiful in juxtaposition to the rest of the view.
We came to a ledge that overlooked the river, the boats below and the sun as it set over the city. Coming to Europe, I knew I would be in for the best views, but this, this was unimaginable. Coincidentally as we stared in awe over the Vlatar river, our friends came walking below along the river’s edge. We excitedly ran down the stairs to meet them. As we approached, I realized every boat on the rivers edge was a bar, restaurant or club. I’m a mature young adult, but I can say the fact that realizing no matter what we did we would be on a boat was an amazing realization. We started at the Kayak Boat, equipped with a bar on the main deck as well as a beach volleyball court, and a DJ on the top deck. We each grabbed a drink and made our way over to the volleyball court. After staying there for a drink, we found a boat literally named for Captain Morgan, the rum. We climbed aboard and down to the lower deck where an insane dance floor was. One man was on the mix tables while another chimed in with an electric violin. The music ranged from American to Czech music remixed in ways I would have never thought to mix music. And with that, we danced the night away on boat in the Vlatar River to kickstart our first night in Prague.