The Czech Republic For Those Into History

Steeples of St. Vitus Cathedral and Prague Castle from Charles Bridge in Prague

Steeples of St. Vitus Cathedral and Prague Castle from Charles Bridge in Prague

Slap bang in the middle of Central Europe, if there we had to describe the Czech Republic in just one word it would have to be ‘cocktail’. No no no. This has nothing to do with its fame and notoriety among stag parties or thirsty backpackers but rather its history. You see, the Czech Republic is a cocktail made up of its Bohemian past, Moravian splendor and Slavic charm. It is a city that celebrates the historic diversity that blends all things Gothic and Baroque and that is what makes it an absolute must see nation for anyone that has even the slightest interest in what came before us.

St Vitus Cathedral

There is only one place to start your cultural exploration and that is the St Vitus Cathedral, so get book your cheap flights to Prague, pack your camera with plenty of films and then head to this magnificent structure that has been built over a 600-year span. Hidden within its thick walls you will find a mosaic of The Last Judgement and the tombs of people you have heard legends about, like Charles IV and St Wenceslas, among many more.

Veletrzni Palac

If you are caught in the tough decision over which Prague museum you absolutely must explore, you’d do well to find a better contender than this National Gallery. The collection is just a mind-boggling array of art that stretches back as far as the 1800s, including pieces from little-known artists like Van Gogh and Picasso and Klimt. What’s more, there are four floors for you to wander about with your mouth as wide as it has ever been.

Charles Bridge

If you were to stop a local on the streets (hopefully one that speaks English) and asked them what their most savored simple pleasure is in life, they will tell you it is the eight o’clock stroll across the Charles Bridge. It is just the most stunning place in the city; fresh snow at your feet, a sea of pastel-coloured buildings stretching as far as the eye can see and architecture of every kind. The reason they say eight o’clock, however, is because the circus comes to town at nine and by circus we mean tourists.

Prague Castle

When you are a kid and you imagine what a fairy-tale castle to be like, chances are it was something akin to this. It is magnificent. The ranks of tall spires and enchanted towers and palaces that could melt your heart a thousand times over. But it isn’t just something nice to look at from the outside, for within the walls lay galleries and museums and buildings of old. This place is celebrated by the locals as being one of the greatest treasures in all of Central Europe and for good reason too.

Old Town Hall

If it is old that you are after then you need to carve out time to see the Old Town Hall, which was founded in 1338. It is a patchwork of medieval buildings that have been sewn together over a series of centuries, each adding their own eclectic charm. In terms of the centerpiece, that title definitely goes to the Gothic tower that looks over it all with a salute, not least because of its Astronomical Clock.

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My 10 favorite travel quotes

We’ve travelled quite a bit in the past few years, especially last year after we moved to Belgium from U.S.A. Leaving comfort of your own home and heading towards a strange land do take some guts and an open mind. It’s sad but true that though we went to many cities and countries, quality of some of those trips weren’t as perfect as I’ve expected them to be. I would rather travel less and have higher quality of vacation. When I say “quality”, I don’t mean flying in First Class or staying in a 5-star hotel or eating in the fanciest restaurants. My vision of any great trip is to make good memories with my family. I may not remember all the details of all the places we went to during our visits but I always remember how I felt with my loved ones when I am in a new place. Pleasant feelings of being in a certain place are tied together with the people I am traveling with…for me that makes a perfect vacation.

 

I gathered some quotes on traveling that really speak my mind. Hope they inspire everyone to go out there and take the big challenge of going to a place where you don’t know the people, culture, language, food, and religion.

1) “Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese

2) “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

3) ″A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.” – Moslih Eddin Saadi

4) “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber

5) “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener

6) “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Mark Twain

7) “Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

8) “Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”— Gustave Flaubert

9) “Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” — Lawrence Block

And finally, my MOST favorite one which many travelers forget when going to a new place

10) “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman

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